Crossposted from the World Socialist website.
Since the naming last Friday of the soldier charged with massacring 16 Afghan civilians, the media has sought to make this horrific crime comprehensible by delving into the history and personal problems of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, while studiously ignoring the criminal nature of the war itself.
Bales, who is being held at the US military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is charged by the military with walking away from his outpost in the Panjawi district in southern Kandahar Province in the predawn hours of March 11 and breaking into homes in two nearby villages, shooting, stabbing and killing the Afghans, nine of them children. In one house, he is said to have piled up his victims' bodies and set them on fire.
He is now universally described as a "rogue" soldier. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, have all issued formal statements assuring the world that Bales' actions do not reflect the values and attitudes of the US military. According to this official story, the only question to be answered is: what made him "snap"?
The factual basis of this story has been called into question by the Afghan villagers, the country's US puppet president, Hamid Karzai, and an investigative commission formed by the lower house of the Afghan parliament, all of whom have charged that the killing spree was the work not of a lone gunman, but of as many as 15 to 20 US troops. The parliamentary panel presented its findings over the weekend, which included the charge that two of the women slain in the massacre had been sexually assaulted.