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SSG Bales, Life in Prison for Murdering 16 Afghan Civilians
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:11 am    Post subject: SSG Bales, Life in Prison for Murdering 16 Afghan Civilians Reply with quote

Thought I'd post it since someone recently "complained" about there not being a conviction (might have been in general and not this specific incident).

Staff Sgt. Bales Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering 16 Afghan Cilvilians (sic)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Life in jail sounds good. Now where's the commanding officer that approved him fit for duty? That's the guy who needs to go in front of the firing squad.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was there anything specific his commander should have seen? I haven't seen much coverage of it.


I'm not saying the guy should go unpunished, but it sounds like the military has a significant role. IMO, "Army doctors" shouldn't be useable in cases like this, given their vested interest in dismissing PTSD, not to mention the military's track record on the issue.
Quote:
a person who was a good soldier and a good person before his fourth deployment [...]

The defense chose not to pursue a mental health defense. The Army had a number of doctors ready to testify that would have countered any diagnosis that the defense presented about traumatic brain injuries or PTSD, so the defense chose just to let Bales speak for himself.

Certainly, the behavior that Bales described would suggest PTSD

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The guy had multiple head trauma wounds from enduring a variety of IED blasts.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
Life in jail sounds good. Now where's the commanding officer that approved him fit for duty? That's the guy who needs to go in front of the firing squad.

I'm sure he was fit for duty when he deployed -- as fit for duty as as anybody can be after three combat tours in eight years. Having an anger management problem and a propensity to abuse alcohol doesn't make you unfit for duty. I had suffered three concussions before I even entered active duty; head trauma has unpredictable consequences and if they are psychological you have to report them yourself or nobody knows.

If we put every single soldier through a rigorous pre-deployment psychological evaluation and every single one of them who had any material risk of snapping was classified non-deployable, we'd have nobody left. There's not a person alive who doesn't have a significant chance of snapping like that in a combat environment. And it's the guys with lots of combat experience who are the most valuable.

Also, his CO probably wouldn't even know there was an issue, unless the guy's fellow NCOs brought it to the attention of the chain of command. Did they?

Let's face it. What happened here was a guy who was an infantryman on steroids, who was stationed amidst a bunch of special operations troops doing who knows what, who had some anger management issues, and who was probably otherwise a good NCO, got fucking blitzed out of his mind on some kind of illicit hooch (who knows what they were really drinking or otherwise consuming) and went ballistic. That's the proximate cause, and there's a reason recreational use of mind-altering substances is forbidden, including alcohol in combat zones.

All soldiers get angry. All soldiers feel violent urges. Not all soldiers go out of their way to deliberately murder 16 innocent people, including women and children, entirely outside the scope of any combat operation. I think the punishment is fair; for all his valiant service prior to this, he deserves to live. Maybe they'll let him go at 20.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
Let's face it. What happened here was a guy who was an infantryman on steroids, who was stationed amidst a bunch of special operations troops doing who knows what, who had some anger management issues, and who was probably otherwise a good NCO, got fucking blitzed out of his mind on some kind of illicit hooch (who knows what they were really drinking or otherwise consuming) and went ballistic. That's the proximate cause, and there's a reason recreational use of mind-altering substances is forbidden, including alcohol in combat zones.
Is it known that is what he was doing? If so, then "too valuable to fail" is on the military for making that judgement call.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
Life in jail sounds good. Now where's the commanding officer that approved him fit for duty? That's the guy who needs to go in front of the firing squad.
From what I read there was no sign of PTSD, there were no problems at home (apart from selling a home for less than what they paid for it), there were no problems in the unit, nothing. He just went mental and went out killing... Twice...!

He had recently been given a psychological test for because he wanted to be a sniper - which he passed.

There just seems no rhyme or reason to this. It was like one minute he was normal and the next he was shooting and stabbing women and two year olds.

Thank goodness he admitted it because if he was executed it would have been a tragedy
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's odd, the initial reports I read stated that he had been deployed, suffered multiple instances of head trauma from IEDs, and was then redeployed.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
That's odd, the initial reports I read stated that he had been deployed, suffered multiple instances of head trauma from IEDs, and was then redeployed.
Quote:
Bales had no history of mental disorder, and had undergone an expansive mental health screening to become a sniper in 2008. In 2010 he suffered a concussion in a car accident, underwent traumatic brain injury treatment at Fort Lewis, and was deemed healthy. Investigators examining his medical history described his 10-year Army career as "unremarkable" and found no evidence of serious traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Bales#Trial
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wswartzendruber, aren't we arguing the opposite sides? Aren't I supposed to take the stance you're taking and vice-versa :lol:
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That does it. Fuck the press. Newtown was bad enough, and now this.

First: "The shooter had an assault weapon!"
Then: "Wait, the intruder had an assault weapon but didn't use it."
Finally: "Well, he left the thing in the trunk, actually."

Listening to the news is pointless.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
That does it. Fuck the press. Newtown was bad enough, and now this.

First: "The shooter had an assault weapon!"
Then: "Wait, the intruder had an assault weapon but didn't use it."
Finally: "Well, he left the thing in the trunk, actually."

Listening to the news is pointless.
Which time? He went back to the base between killings. He completely knew what he was doing because he had Afghan dress over his fatigues and took a pair of night-vision goggles out.

I want to know what turned him from normal person to horrific murderer and back to normal person. He must have been temporarily insane, there is no other reason
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
Let's face it. What happened here was a guy who was an infantryman on steroids, who was stationed amidst a bunch of special operations troops doing who knows what, who had some anger management issues, and who was probably otherwise a good NCO, got fucking blitzed out of his mind on some kind of illicit hooch (who knows what they were really drinking or otherwise consuming) and went ballistic. That's the proximate cause, and there's a reason recreational use of mind-altering substances is forbidden, including alcohol in combat zones.
Is it known that is what he was doing? If so, then "too valuable to fail" is on the military for making that judgement call.

It's known now that he got drunk with some fellow soldiers at the time. It is known now hat he had been using steroids while deployed. It is known now that he had personally had some concerns about feelings of anger he was experiencing after his third combat tour, but which he didn't do much to get help for. These things weren't known when the incident occurred, and they weren't known when he went through readiness processing to be deployed.

So I'm not able to comprehend what you're trying to say about some "judgement call". I think maybe you have eliminated the dimension of time from your model of this situation.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cokehabit wrote:
wswartzendruber wrote:
That does it. Fuck the press. Newtown was bad enough, and now this.

First: "The shooter had an assault weapon!"
Then: "Wait, the intruder had an assault weapon but didn't use it."
Finally: "Well, he left the thing in the trunk, actually."

Listening to the news is pointless.
Which time? He went back to the base between killings. He completely knew what he was doing because he had Afghan dress over his fatigues and took a pair of night-vision goggles out.

I want to know what turned him from normal person to horrific murderer and back to normal person. He must have been temporarily insane, there is no other reason

Dude, I don't even know anymore. One of us has read a bunch of bullshit, and seeing how old my information is, it's probably me.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cokehabit wrote:
wswartzendruber wrote:
That does it. Fuck the press. Newtown was bad enough, and now this.

First: "The shooter had an assault weapon!"
Then: "Wait, the intruder had an assault weapon but didn't use it."
Finally: "Well, he left the thing in the trunk, actually."

Listening to the news is pointless.
Which time? He went back to the base between killings. He completely knew what he was doing because he had Afghan dress over his fatigues and took a pair of night-vision goggles out.

I want to know what turned him from normal person to horrific murderer and back to normal person. He must have been temporarily insane, there is no other reason

Mind-altering substances and possibly PTSD, but mostly mind-altering substances. While that might considered temporary insanity, substance abuse isn't considered legally exonerating because it's a voluntary act.

I also think that if the U.S. Government didn't feel obligated to punish this man to provide the victims with justice, we'd be a little more honest with ourselves that PTSD (or something like it) played a far more pivotal role that we'd like to admit.

We've been riding our military hard. Some of these guys have been at war for 12 years now. Even if you only spend, say 40% of that time actually deployed to a combat zone, that's going to take a serious toll, both individually and organizationally.

This is why I said back in 2009 that Obama was making a mistake by not either "going big" with his Afghanistan surge (he only gave the Army half of what they asked for, and then fired McChrystal for bitching about it), or transitioning to a purely "hit and run" model of operations (like Joe Biden suggested). His politically-motivated sitting on the fence, try to keep everybody happy, talking out both sides of your head (we're surging but we're leaving), half-measure has, as I predicted, created a mini Vietnam, and NATO and the U.S. are losing a war as a result, and the men and women who serve in our military, and the Afghani civilians along with them, are personally paying the price.

Had he "gone big" and given the military what they asked for (or even more; I actually said they needed twice what they asked for but knew they couldn't get it) then we'd probably be out of there by now with less cost, fewer deaths, and a reduced impact on our long-term readiness.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
cokehabit wrote:
wswartzendruber wrote:
That does it. Fuck the press. Newtown was bad enough, and now this.

First: "The shooter had an assault weapon!"
Then: "Wait, the intruder had an assault weapon but didn't use it."
Finally: "Well, he left the thing in the trunk, actually."

Listening to the news is pointless.
Which time? He went back to the base between killings. He completely knew what he was doing because he had Afghan dress over his fatigues and took a pair of night-vision goggles out.

I want to know what turned him from normal person to horrific murderer and back to normal person. He must have been temporarily insane, there is no other reason

Mind-altering substances and possibly PTSD, but mostly mind-altering substances. While that might considered temporary insanity, substance abuse isn't considered legally exonerating because it's a voluntary act.

I also think that if the U.S. Government didn't feel obligated to punish this man to provide the victims with justice, we'd be a little more honest with ourselves that PTSD (or something like it) played a far more pivotal role that we'd like to admit.

We've been riding our military hard. Some of these guys have been at war for 12 years now. Even if you only spend, say 40% of that time actually deployed to a combat zone, that's going to take a serious toll, both individually and organizationally.

This is why I said back in 2009 that Obama was making a mistake by not either "going big" with his Afghanistan surge (he only gave the Army half of what they asked for, and then fired McChrystal for bitching about it), or transitioning to a purely "hit and run" model of operations (like Joe Biden suggested). His politically-motivated sitting on the fence, try to keep everybody happy, talking out both sides of your head (we're surging but we're leaving), half-measure has, as I predicted, created a mini Vietnam, and NATO and the U.S. are losing a war as a result, and the men and women who serve in our military, and the Afghani civilians along with them, are personally paying the price.

Had he "gone big" and given the military what they asked for (or even more; I actually said they needed twice what they asked for but knew they couldn't get it) then we'd probably be out of there by now with less cost, fewer deaths, and a reduced impact on our long-term readiness.
Quote:
Bales had no history of mental disorder, and had undergone an expansive mental health screening to become a sniper in 2008. In 2010 he suffered a concussion in a car accident, underwent traumatic brain injury treatment at Fort Lewis, and was deemed healthy. Investigators examining his medical history described his 10-year Army career as "unremarkable" and found no evidence of serious traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress
All in all it seems like he was an average person, had an average family, had behaved like an average soldier and doing an average job. Then this occurs. He wasn't insane, depressed, stressed or anything else. Which is, obviously, most troubling
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cokehabit wrote:
wswartzendruber wrote:
That's odd, the initial reports I read stated that he had been deployed, suffered multiple instances of head trauma from IEDs, and was then redeployed.
Quote:
Bales had no history of mental disorder, and had undergone an expansive mental health screening to become a sniper in 2008. In 2010 he suffered a concussion in a car accident, underwent traumatic brain injury treatment at Fort Lewis, and was deemed healthy. Investigators examining his medical history described his 10-year Army career as "unremarkable" and found no evidence of serious traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Bales#Trial
Are you aware that there is pressure / a culture to declare troops "fit for duty" so they can be sent back to their unit?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For all the shit I've said about the military, I have to admit they do a good job punishing soldiers who kill civilians too obviously.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cokehabit wrote:
Quote:
Bales had no history of mental disorder, and had undergone an expansive mental health screening to become a sniper in 2008. In 2010 he suffered a concussion in a car accident, underwent traumatic brain injury treatment at Fort Lewis, and was deemed healthy. Investigators examining his medical history described his 10-year Army career as "unremarkable" and found no evidence of serious traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress
All in all it seems like he was an average person, had an average family, had behaved like an average soldier and doing an average job. Then this occurs. He wasn't insane, depressed, stressed or anything else. Which is, obviously, most troubling

First of all, everybody is stressed and depressed, especially combat infantrymen in a war zone. It's normal.

He was more than stressed or depressed, though. He was having inappropriate and difficult to control feelings of anger. While this is really not that unusual or debilitating, in his case, the problem apparently escalated out of control later, while he was on his fourth tour, in Afghanistan. So, part of the problem here is that he didn't seek help.

Most of the symptoms of PTSD and other psychological problems that can manifest themselves as a result of combat stress are, as one would expect, psychological (i.e. internal). Unless they are severe, they may not be apparent to others by a person's behavior. The person may just seem "moody". He didn't have a debilitating behavioral problem (on that would lead you to classify him in your terms as "insane").

Unless the person seeks help, they won't get it. He probably felt he didn't need it. A combat infantryman doesn't want to admit such a problem, even to himself. He's doing what he's going because he believes in it, and he's one of the few who can do it. On a daily basis he has always had to be emotionally strong and shake off the kind of feelings that plague most people who have to go get shot at regularly, have bombs detonated under them as they're driving down the road, drag their buddies to safety with their legs blown off or see them die, and fight against people who are concealing themselves among a civilian population. He has always managed to do this, as have has his fellow soldiers; it's part of being in combat.

We can only speculate what went on in his head, but maybe that will give you some insight. He probably doesn't know he has a problem, or doesn't want to admit it to himself. He's going to "drive on" and do what needs to be done -- that's what soldiers do. Especially once you're deployed on a mission, nobody wants to let down their fellow soldiers and their unit and be a pussy, saying they can't hack it anymore.

Then it gets worse, and maybe his steroid use exacerbated the problem (it has been known to cause rage issues), and maybe he starts self-medicating with alcohol, to feel better. He's now working base defense, responsible for keeping the base safe from attack, which will come right through the local community. Maybe he starts to associate his generalized feelings of rage with these civilians he's keeping an eye on every day, outside the wall. Maybe he starts to be paranoid about them. Maybe he starts to hate them. Maybe he even starts to fantasize about killing the lot of them out there, always conspiring to kill his buddies and invade his base, planting bombs on the road under his vehicle, and concealing the terrorists while acting all innocent.

During this time, there may have been behavioral symptoms that others might have noticed. But they'd be likely not to be. Would you think it odd if somebody guarding a base were referring to the locals outside in a hostile or fearful manner? I don't think I would.

Maybe one of those nights, while already in this fragile state of mind, he has way too much drink. Maybe the contraban hooch brewed up by his buddies or bought off the locals has some wood alcohol or formaldehyde in it which makes things even worse. Maybe he's taking other substances to try and self-medicate, which react badly with the booze. At any rate, he finally goes off and decides to start killing these motherfuckers that he's hating, and he does it. When he comes down off the stuff and he's being questioned, he admits what he has done.

There is undoubtedly an important mental illness aspect to this, and I think it's almost certainly caused by his combat service. What muddies the water was the substance abuse, which also certainly contributed to it, and which is a voluntary and prohibited act and which makes him materially culpable.

I think a proper defense in a fair court would have been able to use the mental health aspect as mitigation to get a reduced sentence. However, in this case, we have politics at play also, with the Country and the military under pressure to deliver justice to a revenge-oriented victim community.

Hopefully after the locals are assuaged and the matter becomes mostly forgotten, he will receive some kind of a compassionate reduction of his sentence.

That's all quite speculative, but maybe it helps.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
cokehabit wrote:
wswartzendruber wrote:
That's odd, the initial reports I read stated that he had been deployed, suffered multiple instances of head trauma from IEDs, and was then redeployed.
Quote:
Bales had no history of mental disorder, and had undergone an expansive mental health screening to become a sniper in 2008. In 2010 he suffered a concussion in a car accident, underwent traumatic brain injury treatment at Fort Lewis, and was deemed healthy. Investigators examining his medical history described his 10-year Army career as "unremarkable" and found no evidence of serious traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Bales#Trial
Are you aware that there is pressure / a culture to declare troops "fit for duty" so they can be sent back to their unit?
no
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
...
I read the first line. Shorten it, it's too much
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cokehabit wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
...
I read the first line. Shorten it, it's too much

No. I wrote all that to answer your question, for your benefit. You read it, or I'll see that you never get another Twinkie in your life. You're a smart guy, you should be able to read that in about a minute.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
cokehabit wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
...
I read the first line. Shorten it, it's too much

No. I wrote all that to answer your question, for your benefit. You read it, or I'll see that you never get another Twinkie in your life. You're a smart guy, you should be able to read that in about a minute.
it was 4am and I'd just got up because I couldn't sleep. Plus, If I wanted to read that much I'd go to a newspaper site - or read something I was really interested in
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cokehabit wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
cokehabit wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
...
I read the first line. Shorten it, it's too much

No. I wrote all that to answer your question, for your benefit. You read it, or I'll see that you never get another Twinkie in your life. You're a smart guy, you should be able to read that in about a minute.
it was 4am and I'd just got up because I couldn't sleep. Plus, If I wanted to read that much I'd go to a newspaper site - or read something I was really interested in

Okay. If you're too lazy to spend one minute reading the answer to your own question, it's no skin off my back. Lots of people are intimidated by reading things longer a comic strip; it's usually due to associations formed in childhood, such as being hazed by a teacher or abused by a parent during grammar school years. I understand.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
cokehabit wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
cokehabit wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
...
I read the first line. Shorten it, it's too much

No. I wrote all that to answer your question, for your benefit. You read it, or I'll see that you never get another Twinkie in your life. You're a smart guy, you should be able to read that in about a minute.
it was 4am and I'd just got up because I couldn't sleep. Plus, If I wanted to read that much I'd go to a newspaper site - or read something I was really interested in

Okay. If you're too lazy to spend one minute reading the answer to your own question, it's no skin off my back. Lots of people are intimidated by reading things longer a comic strip; it's usually due to associations formed in childhood, such as being hazed by a teacher or abused by a parent during grammar school years. I understand.
or this is a forum :roll:
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