Sabtu, 19 Januari 2013

Sergeant Robert Bales: Made in the USA

For the unaware, Sergeant Robert Bales is accused of murdering 16 Afghan citizens in cold blood in March of 2012. The case against Bales is currently in the status of determining if there is enough evidence for a court-martial. Bales was trained at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington - he is far from the first to be accused of cold-blooded murder that was trained on that base, which should signal a problem to those in authority.

Bales is a soldier that could easily define my last post on this blog. His enlistment date is November 8, 2001. This was his fourth deployment to the Middle East, with the first three to Iraq. He is a poster child of the Bush administration and its statements that, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," and clearly viewed the victims as not with us at all.

We should be wondering how many murders Sergeant Robert Bales committed during his 3 deployments to Iraq. I can guarantee that his mindset did not just happen more than a decade after joining the US Armed Forces and on his fourth deployment to the Middle East. There were warning signs and obviously, if we view his lengthy awards list, those signs were ignored by many people.

We should also be wondering how many lesser versions of Bales are walking around in Iraq and Afghanistan today and have walked around over the last decade. Murder 16 innocent people in cold blood and it becomes major news, but kill one here and one there and, well, no one really notices except for the grieving relatives left behind.

His wife defends him and claims that there is no way he committed these cold-blooded murders. That is her job and to be expected; however, I am shocked that she is smiling while stating her defense and at the same time claiming that her, "heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones".

While Bales denies remembering anything that happened that night, his words to fellow soldiers reveals something entirely different. Kudos to those soldiers that came forward and testified to his true mindset and his actual statements. They are the real soldiers and Bales is something else. While he is only accused at this point, there is also DNA evidence and eyewitness testimony to his comings and goings on the night of the murderous rampage.

This reminds me of cases that Paul Bergrin defended in past, prior to the US DOJ pursuing him over false allegations. In one such case, Begrin brought-up the Rules of Engagement and I must wonder if that is a theory that we will hear from the Bales defense at a later date. The victims were innocent, but often such victims are referred to as collateral damage, or "collateral murder" in the case of the video allegedly released by Bradley Manning in which journalists were gunned-down in the streets.

As the preliminary hearing winds down today, his First Sergeant (Vernon Bigham) testified via video-link from Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. I do expect to see court-martial recommended in this case as the evidence demands it. As a person against the death penalty, I hope this is taken off the table and life imprisonment without any possibility of release is substituted. You see, I despise Bales and murderers like him, but do not wish death on anyone - a major difference between me and my detractors. I seek peace - not death and war.

Bales is currently being housed in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas at the same military prison as hero Brad Manning.


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