Did Robert Bales act alone when he killed 17 Afghan civilians in two villages, located two miles apart -- returning to base between killing sprees? Or is he the selected fall guy for a massacre committed by a group of soldiers in retaliation for an earlier attack on American forces?
We've looked at some of the pro-conspiracy evidence in a previous post. New facts have just arrived. This story just now showed up in the online edition of the UK Daily Mail:
The U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians did not act alone, according to survivors of the massacre earlier this month.
One mother-of-six, whose husband was killed during the incident, believes there were as many as 20 people involved.
She told SBS Dateline journalist Yalda Hakim: 'When they shot dead my husband, I tried to drag him into the house, they'd shot him in the head so his brain was all over my hands. I had to use a bowl for his blood.
'I saw more than 20 people when I looked out the house. The Americans pointed their guns at me and threatened me, telling me not to leave the house or they'd kill me.'
Another witness, an eight-year-old girl called Noorbinak, said a gunman shot her family's dog before shooting her father in the foot and dragging her mother by the hair.
When her father screamed, he was shot dead, before the gunman shot Noorbinak in the leg.
She said: 'One man entered the room and the others were standing in the yard, holding lights.'
The brother of another victim claimed that his nephews and nieces saw numerous soldiers involved in the assault, all wearing headlamps and with lights strapped to the ends of their guns.
He said: 'They don’t know whether there were 15 or 20, however many there were.'
The UK story draws from this MSNBC report, and from the Australian report embedded above.
Gordon Duff, senior editor of Veterans Today, finds the villagers’ version of events quite plausible for the following reasons: The villages, where the murders occurred, were two miles apart, making it highly unlikely that a lone, fully armed solder could haul a multi-gallon jerry can of gasoline from his base to the first sleeping village, break down the doors of one or more homes, commit the murders, douse and burn his victims and then proceed on foot two miles further on to the second village, shoot, kill and burn the next set of unarmed villagers and then walk back to his base and surrender.
It makes far more sense that a heavily armed group of Special Forces troops, engaged in village ‘pacification’ operations, left their base in military vehicles, passed through the gate in the wee hours of the morning, on a routine official operation, authorized by the bases military command and something went wrong.
A conspiracy-oriented Pakistani blog called PakConnects argues that Afghan massacre is evidence that American troops have escaped the control of their officers.
American soldiers are increasingly convinced their commanders have failed to protect them during the Quran riots. Some of the soldiers have concluded they have to take things into their own hands.
The incident on Sunday, March 11, near Kandahar is being seen as a case of American soldiers going out to avenge the killings of their colleagues at the hands of Afghan soldiers and police during the recent riots.
American soldiers are understandably panicked. The riots witnessed amazing incidents that were unthinkable only weeks ago. For the first time, Afghans from all sectarian and linguistic backgrounds are united in anti-US riots. There have been incidents like Afghan chefs poisoning the food of NATO soldiers. Other coalition soldiers, like the French, are angry to see their troops killed because of blunders by American soldiers, like peeing on dead Afghan bodies and then recording it on video.
But the single scariest development for US soldiers is that they no longer know where to expect the next bullet that would kill them. Now US-trained Afghan soldiers and policemen are killing American soldiers whenever and wherever they get a chance. It is no longer Afghan Taliban and other resistance groups that are the enemy.
Many will dismiss these words as paranoia. I suspect that these paragraphs contain an important truth.
We saw a similar truth -- an ugly truth -- at work during the Vietnam conflict. Many American soldiers reached a point when they no longer cared to distinguish between friendly and unfriendly Vietnamese. The entire country was alien territory. Psychologically brutalized by the inescapable logic of protracted warfare, many Americans came to hate the very people they were allegedly supposed to protect.
All warriors are taught to hate the enemy. It isn't always easy to hate someone on the basis of abstract political concepts. It is very easy to hate someone on the grounds of race, religion, ethnicity or tribal affiliation. I hate him because he is different: He doesn't look like me, he speaks another language, and he doesn't revere the same holy book.He is the Other. He is not human.He exists to be killed.
The primal parts of our brains understand that message very well.
Afghanistan is even more dangerous, in this regard, than was Vietnam. Many of the soldiers serving in Afghanistan grew up immersed in conservative media, which demonizes all things Islamic. American anti-Muslim bigotry is far, far more feverish today than it was on September 12, 2001.
As Oscar Hammerstein once put it: You have to be carefully taught.
This brings back memories of Buddhist monks burning themselves in appreciation of our supporting a corrupt Saigon government.
Funny how the lessons of the past are forgotten by republicans and Obama-crats alike.
posted by Mr. Mike : 10:51 AM
I think there is something to the Manchurian Candidate theory......only it was the US that programmed him to be scape goat for a coordinated retaliation on the villages. At least, that seems far more plausible that the theory in that media matters link.
The bottom line is that we don't have all the information, and probably never will. I find it more likely that US troops decided to carry out earlier threats on the village, either without the consent and knowledge of superiors, or with it. Of course, there is always the vaccine explanation, but that still wouldn't explain how he did all that in one night.