Sergeant Robert Bales
The latest atrocity committed by our military in Afghanistan has taken a surreal turn here in the U.S. There's something unseemly about it all.
Karilyn Bales, the wife of Sergeant Robert Bales, the man accused of massacring 17 innocent Afghan women and children, has let herself be interviewed by NBC's "Today Show".
For sure, Karilyn Bales must be going through her own private hell and nightmare. Maybe she shares that with her church pastor, priest or a counselor and she pours out her anguish there. But why would she consent to let herself be interviewed by the media and have it broadcast nationally? I'll return to that shortly.
By now we've all heard about Sgt. Bales who is accused of walking off his base in the middle of the night in Afghanistan and methodically kicking in the doors of 17 sleeping Afghan women and children and killing them as they slept or attempted to run away. He then covered the bodies and burned them, left the scene, returned to his base and turned himself in.
We know Bales served three previous tours in Iraq and then was "stop lossed" and sent to Afghanistan. We've heard of his debt problems as a stock broker prior to joining the Army. He's the father of two young kids and"but this outpouring of sympathy for him has gone too far. Where is the outpouring of sympathy for the victims? Oh yeah, the U.S. government just paid the families of the victims of the massacre $50,000 for each of the nine children and eight adults murdered. Usually the U.S. pays only $2,500 for each Afghan we kill as "collateral damage" when they're found to be innocent victims. How's that for sympathy and justice?
So back to Karilyn Bales and allowing herself to be interviewed in her home, the show taped and then broadcast on the "Today Show".
From here, there's something warped about all this; when the media interviews the wife of a presumably cold blooded murderer and then broadcasts it on T.V.
I don't recall the family of Lt. Calley, the leader of the My Lai massacre in Viet Nam in the 1960's being trotted out and being interviewed by the media. What's changed?
As to Sgt. Bales, he had to be insane at the time he allegedly committed this atrocity. Maybe it was PTSD, his previous wounds or seeing one of buddies get his leg blown off and revenge took hold of him and he snapped.
At this point all the reasoning is pure speculation. And let's not forget the insanity of this unnecessary war we're fighting and putting our people in harm's way when Afghanistan is not a threat to America.
Maybe if Sgt. Bales were not sent to war zone he would now be an upstanding citizen, a caring father and good husband. We'll never know.
In a just world, our leaders who authorized these illegal, pre-emptive wars would be held accountable, brought before a Nuremburg type tribunal and tried as war criminals. They authorized unnecessary, illegal war, indefinite detention, extraordinary rendition and the torture of those we hold. Unfortunately, that's unlikely to happen.
Instead the men and women in uniform do our leaders bidding, fight and die and sometimes those G.I.'s are held to account when they commit crimes in the war zone our government can't just whitewash away.
So Sgt. Bales will be held to account, but already his alleged crimes are being depicted as an aberration.