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Afghanistan, Iraq, and Looking the Other Way

override367override367 ALL minionsRegistered User regular
edited April 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
Split from the Libya thread
me wrote:
what the fuck, United States Army, what the fuck?

TLDR: Soldiers kill Afghans for sport, children, seniors, whatever, mutilate their bodies and keep parts as trophies. Officers ignore it, even when a soldier's dad phones that the soldier could be killed by the other guys for "Ratting"

Yikes!

Now this isn't an isolated incident by any means, you can find NSFW videos of soldiers "hunting" civilians on youtube if you do more than a cursory lookup, but what exactly am I talking about here?

In the other thread Loklar misinterpreted my intent (I believe) thusly
Truly tragic and disgusting stuff. Nonetheless, it is still shoddy journalism that starts off with a tragedy and turns the event into a screed against military action and the people in our armed forces. It uses misleading videos that have /nothing/ to do with the actions of the men described in the article, it displays an abundance of ignorance about the operation of our military, and mostly uses inflammatory language/misdirection to drum up anger about some sort of mutilation/sadistic culture in our military that simply does not exist.

ACIS plea bargained one of the 5 men (out of a brigade of 3,500) down to 24 years in jail... and thats the plea. There are over a million men in the Army alone, not counting the Corps, the Air Force, the Navy or the Coast Guard. To argue that a few sick individuals are representative of some sort of culture is absolutely moronic. Soldiers are being held accountable for this and they are in for a shitstorm of trouble. Publishing an article like this, in this fashion, will provide pure propaganda for the enemy. It is one thing to report on what it is happening. It is another for this 'journalist' to speculate on intent, use the events as a platform to paint the Stryker Brigade in whole as some sort of band of brigands and war criminals. I put a stop payment on my subscription to Rolling Stone and you should too.

I don't feel it necessary to put in a disclaimer here saying that it's not representative of the folks in the military at large, blah blah blah, since of course it isn't and that is a red herring and not really the point. I don't feel that I should have to point out that both of my brothers, my father, and my best friend are combat veterans, but I will anyway before someone accuses me of just being a military hater.

What is there to talk about then really if I'm not trying to insinuate that each and every soldier is a baby killer? Well I'm trying to impune the U.S. Army (and probably the Marine Corps) as an organization, and not just for looking the other way when there are psychos about.

The Army has a long history of turning its back on unpleasantness, sweeping it under the rug and pretending it doesn't exist. The problem isn't that the individuals in question weren't punished, the problem is how long this went on, the problem is that command staff and the general attitude is to look the other way. This happens for multiple reasons, in many cases it comes down to ass covering and not malevolence, but it certainly does happen, probably most severely when it comes to depression and suicides.

So how's the Army handling things? Am I being unfair, or do they do a bad job at dealing with psychological issues and fuckups in general by pretending they don't exist (everything from sociopaths to suicide)? There seems to a complete and total disconnect between the strategic objectives and mottos of the Army and the attitude perpetuated by the ground level command. I know every soldier is told how serious suicide is, and i also know that a soldier covered in the blood of some kid that goes to his CO has a good chance of being called a pussy for letting it bug him. I know the generals realize how important it is to not let soldiers (justifiably traumatized they may be) go on about how all the hajis should just be killed, but lower level officers and NCOs don't seem to. Why is this?

override367 on

Posts

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    The story is horrific, but that article is also trying incredibly hard to be as anti-US military as it can be.

    That said, this needs to be made louder and clearer because this sort of thing is straight up murder and there is no conceivable justification for it.

    It's more alarming to me in light of the recent scandal in Australia regarding what some soldiers posted on their Facebook pages.

    It's not super-egrerious, but you need to clamp down on that hard because it clearly leads to bad places.

    electricitylikesme on
  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Article aside, there is a huge problem with the chain of command not wanting to look bad, and either hiding problems or giving the most trivial of punishments out (meaning criminal case knocked down to you're cleaning kitchens and being passed over for promotion this year)

    I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the command structure being graded on the performance of their subordinates or not. I know that's what causes it in corporate culture (if I report you for stealing shit, it'll show up on my manager review as a negative mark. I'm now more inclined to pretend it didn't happen publicly, and just chew you out in private)

    But we've known about these issues for years. I'm recalling an article on deployed women being raped by other soldiers, and the base commanders pretty much doing anything they could to keep it from being a public scandal. Which leads to the fringe "will misbehave" element thinking they have free reign to misbehave, because they never see people being locked up for it.

    kildy on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    That's another example that was on the tip of my tongue but couldn't think of, it's not a group of likeminded sociopaths finding each other in the army's vastness, the suicides, or even the rapes - it's that it goes on right under the noses of command without anyone doing anything about it.

    I firmly believe if psychological issues were more of a priority in the military none of the above would be near as much a problem.

    override367 on
  • Caveman PawsCaveman Paws Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Soldiers are a group of people like any other. If you look hard enough you will find the ones that throw themselves on greanades to save others, and you will find the ones who rape and kill for fun.

    We shouldn't paint everyone in uniform as monsters (and I don't see that being an issue), but we can't ignore that there may be a culture within the forces that promotes the type of disgusting acts we are now seeing.

    I don't think that this is a problem we can fix, we could tweek the psych screening to try and avoid certain people from joining up, but it won't be a perfect solution.

    Caveman Paws on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Soldiers are a group of people like any other. If you look hard enough you will find the ones that throw themselves on greanades to save others, and you will find the ones who rape and kill for fun.

    We shouldn't paint everyone in uniform as monsters (and I don't see that being an issue), but we can't ignore that there may be a culture within the forces that promotes the type of disgusting acts we are now seeing.

    I don't think that this is a problem we can fix, we could tweek the psych screening to try and avoid certain people from joining up, but it won't be a perfect solution.

    No, because most of these people aren't rapists, suicidal, or psychotic before joining the military. What I read in that Rolling Stone piece was about a bunch of young men facing nothing but death and injury with no enemy to fight, people very near the breaking point, and some of them actually broke.

    I can certainly blame the individuals for their actions, but what we can also do is insist the Army have some damned accountability for stuff like this happening. If the testimony is to be believed, there were warning signs for a long time before anyone was actually charged.

    override367 on
  • LochielLochiel Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Soldiers are a group of people like any other. If you look hard enough you will find the ones that throw themselves on greanades to save others, and you will find the ones who rape and kill for fun.

    We shouldn't paint everyone in uniform as monsters (and I don't see that being an issue), but we can't ignore that there may be a culture within the forces that promotes the type of disgusting acts we are now seeing.

    I don't think that this is a problem we can fix, we could tweek the psych screening to try and avoid certain people from joining up, but it won't be a perfect solution.

    The Armed Forces can fix it. Specifically, they can fix it by changing the culture that promotes excessive violence and hides problems. The military is not immutable. Their mission is not so critical that they are above reproach. In many ways they are more than just a tool to deliver violence, they are also representatives of their nation to other nations. It is part of their mission that they respond to incidents like these in a manner that reassures the victims countrymen.

    (BTW, also not an anti-military poster. I'm a vet, if that matters to you. It doesn't to me)

    Lochiel on
  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2011
    What did we expect to have happen when we wage wars for 10 years?

    Doc on
  • EvigilantEvigilant VARegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    The problem is that most of the command believes in the phrase: "Don't make any waves". That is, if it goes against what their superiors say, they won't say it. If it makes them look bad, they don't want to hear it, it is the act of being as non-confrontational to your superior. That's the core philosophy I've witnessed in the Army. So if you have really bad leaders, no one does anything about it even though other people might know they're horrible.

    The part that gets me the angriest in the article is the following:
    "Capt. Patrick Mitchell, thought there was something strange about Morlock's story. "I just thought it was weird that someone would come up and throw a grenade at us," Mitchell later told investigators.

    But Mitchell did not order his men to render aid to Mudin, whom he believed might still be alive, and possibly a threat. Instead, he ordered Staff Sgt. Kris Sprague to "make sure" the boy was dead. Sprague raised his rifle and fired twice."
    Seriously, what the fuck Captain?

    I mean honestly, any good leader should've been able to stop this from happening. If the men are actively and seriously talking about "killing a haji" that sort of discussion should've been picked up on. It's all fun and games, but when they start getting serious about it that's when you're supposed to put your foot down and say, "hey silly geese, I thought you where joking, but if I so much see you look weird at a civilian I'll shoot you myself and make it so that your parents back home can't identify you and you have a close casket funeral". Never at any point should they be allowed to fester on the discussion of actively killing a civilian. It's like letting a group of kids go out with no plans: idle hands leads to trouble.

    I mean, come on!
    "Given the lack of response from their superiors, the soldiers of 3rd Platoon now believed they could kill with impunity..."

    I find it insulting that none of the Officers are being charged. The CPT and the 1LT need to be some of the people included in the charges, then the Lt. Col and commander of the Battalion. Since it was their squad leader doing most of the stupidity, the Platoon sergeant should've known, he should've been aware, he's just as responsible as the rest of them. I'd send to prison anyone involved, reduce in rank and force retire/separate any of the higher enlisted or officers who had minimal connection with it, and just go full on clean house of the entire battalion. The message needs to be, yes we know they fucked up so we're getting rid of them. This kind of shit should not and will not be tolerated.

    You want to jump start culture change? Reduce the size of the military and rebuild it: institute forced separation, retirement, and out process a shit ton of people. Oh, and actually punish the people involved in this. It's already public, you might as well offer them up as a lamb, the reason for the drastic change about to happen.

    Bring down the hammer on all of them involved. Every single last one of them. Anyone who kills civilians is no comrade/brother of mine.

    Evigilant on
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  • A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Damn forum. Magic disappearing my post.


    Shortened, retyped, clif notes version.

    Irresponsible journalism to lump the "Motorcycle Kill" video in with murdering civilians. That and the "Death Zone" video are code of conduct violations, but not murder.

    Evig has it right, I agree with everything he just said.

    A Dabble Of Thelonius on
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  • QliphothQliphoth Registered User
    edited March 2011
    Quite interesting (and depressing) comment posted on that article;
    19 hours, 7 minutes ago
    3-29-2011
    My name is David H. Senft.
    My son was married to the medic, Alyssa Reilly, quoted in the article.
    I have been told by the US Army that on November 15, 2010 my son SSG David P. Senft shot himself through the mouth while at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) in Afghanistan. To this day I have not received any official facts or findings from the 5 investigations conducted by the Army. Alyssa is my son’s widow and even she has refused to talk to me about his death. David was a Crew Chief on a Blackhawk and the son I knew had very high ethics, morals and standards. If his wife had told him about what she heard he would have done something about it. Confronting them face to face would not have been out of the ordinary for David.
    We buried him at Arlington on December 16, 2010.
    It has been just over 4 months since he died, long enough for me to begin to 'accept' that he may have taken his own life.
    Last night I found, and read, the article about these soldiers and the murders they committed. I read that they have been to KAF and that David's wife had reported what she heard and saw. I now wonder if David really died by his own hand or did Morlock and Gibbs follow through with the action they threatened Stoner with. It is apparent that they were fully capable of cold blooded murder and also of staging the scene to look like something other than the truth. Since the Army has refused to answer my questions I will attempt to find the truth by other means. This article and the people involved hit home with me.
    David H. Senft

    Qliphoth on
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  • darklite_xdarklite_x I'm not an r-tard... Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Evigilant wrote: »
    You want to jump start culture change? Reduce the size of the military and rebuild it: institute forced separation, retirement, and out process a shit ton of people. Oh, and actually punish the people involved in this. It's already public, you might as well offer them up as a lamb, the reason for the drastic change about to happen.

    Bring down the hammer on all of them involved. Every single last one of them. Anyone who kills civilians is no comrade/brother of mine.
    Do you know why things like this can be swept under the rug? It's because people are afraid of the bolded. It's the same reason people don't tell anyone that they're feeling suicidal, that they have a drinking problem, that they've been raped, etc. The military certainly tries to promote a culture of openness, a culture where people shouldn't be afraid of reprimand for discussing these types of things, but when it comes down to brass tacks, if you did a poll of all servicemembers, about how many of them do you think would honestly believe they could share these kinds of stories without fear of reprimand?

    I'm only talking about personal problems though, these aren't even things that are illegal. Imagine now that Captain's position if he'd heard some of his men were murdering innocent civilians. How do you think he's going to react as a human being that needs to watch out for himself? If he looks into the issue and finds out his men really are killing civilians and he punishes them what are the odds that he's still going to be reprimanded/punished himself for letting it happen under his watch? So in that case which is easier, sitting back and doing nothing because there's no hard evidence or looking into this matter which could potential endanger his career or, at best if found to be true, reduce his combat capabilities by the loss of men while adding additional stressors in the form of legal concerns.

    I'm not for a second saying that the captain should have let this fly under his radar without looking into it, but I think it's a lot easier to say he or she should have done this or that when we're looking in from an outsider's perspective. If the military wants to truly get away from this culture of sweeping issues under the rug then they have to stop giving lipservice to everyone and actually hold to their word when they promise non-retribution reporting.

    darklite_x on
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  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2011
    If you're not looking the other way, how are you supposed to see the ninja sneaking up on you or survive the Kansas City Shuffle?

    Bagginses on
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    A similar attitude is displayed in places like Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Grahib, or the up and coming Bagram detention facility. Abuse, torture, murder. Such comes with war.

    [Tycho?] on
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  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Also, those riots in Mazer-e-Sharif, that have killed several people? They were not outraged over these deaths, but by the burning of korans in Florida. I find that baffling.

    [Tycho?] on
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  • YallYall Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Also, those riots in Mazer-e-Sharif, that have killed several people? They were not outraged over these deaths, but by the burning of korans in Florida. I find that baffling.

    Some people are fucking morons who value books of fairy tales more than human life.

    Yall on
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  • A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Well I know when I'm insulted by something thousands of miles away, I seek out and kill people near me, so that seems perfectly normal oh hey wait a minute no it's not at all.

    A Dabble Of Thelonius on
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  • YallYall Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Yall wrote: »
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Also, those riots in Mazer-e-Sharif, that have killed several people? They were not outraged over these deaths, but by the burning of korans in Florida. I find that baffling.

    Some people are fucking morons who value books of fairy tales more than human life.

    No, they are not morons. They value religion more than people in the West. Burning a Koran may seem fun to you, but too them they are highly religious. It is an insult to them and rightfully so.

    Anyone who beheaded a human being because they are butthurt about some other asshole burning a book is a fucking moron. This is not up for debate.

    Back on topic; I'm also disgusted that more brass doesn't have their ass in a sling over this. We had captains lose their command over something as simple as some slicky boy stealing night vision equipment.

    Yall on
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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    In today's military you are more likely to get in serious trouble for stealing a piece of equipment than for raping a fellow soldier (male or female, because male on male rape most certainly happens too) or murdering and mutilating (or hell sexually assaulting and then killing) a child because you felt the urge to kill a Haji

    This is what I'm talking about and its kind of really sad that it gets absolutely no play on the news.

    override367 on
  • CrayonCrayon Sleeps in the wrong bed. TejasRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Yall wrote: »
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Also, those riots in Mazer-e-Sharif, that have killed several people? They were not outraged over these deaths, but by the burning of korans in Florida. I find that baffling.

    Some people are fucking morons who value books of fairy tales more than human life.

    No, they are not morons. They value religion more than people in the West. Burning a Koran may seem fun to you, but too them they are highly religious. It is an insult to them and rightfully so.

    Are you attempting to justify the death of people with the burning of a book? Yes, if you are offended by the burning of any book enough to kill you're a fucking moron-and anyone who believes in this justification is probably an even bigger moron.

    Crayon on
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  • BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    A similar attitude is displayed in places like Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Grahib, or the up and coming Bagram detention facility. Abuse, torture, murder. Such comes with war.

    It pretty much has to. How can you kill people and sleep soundly at night without first dehumanizing them? It's much easier if you didn't "end the life of a fellow human being," but rather "neutralized a tango".

    Trophy-taking has been going on forever. I'd be more surprised to hear of any significant, prolonged combat situation where it didn't happen. In any fighting force.

    BubbaT on
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