Massacre masks the grand scheme
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been all over the news recently following his alleged killing of 17 Afghan civilians, including four men, four women, two boys and seven girls. Eleven of those killed were members of the same family.
It’s now been reported that Robert Bales will be charged, and rightly so, with all 17 counts, along with six counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault in the wounding of six others.
However, it won’t take too much time scrolling through the comments section of any American newspaper’s website to find a surprisingly large number of people defending his actions, blaming it on the mind-altering pressures of war which I don’t deny exist.
But just take a moment and imagine if the tables were turned and 17 of our own were the ones killed, including women and children. Add in the idea of Afghan citizens defending the incident, blaming it on the pressures of war. Now, how do you think we would react?
It would be total pandemonium. It would be chaos. Compared to how we would have handled the situation, the Afghans seem to be taking the news relatively mildly. It was wrong; there’s really no other way to put it, and none of those people deserved to die.
However, there’s more to all this than simply a madman who went on a killing spree. The question isn’t, “Should Bales be responsible for the killings or not?” It is, “Who, or what, should be blamed as well?”
This incident is a reminder to everybody of the harsh realities of war. If it’s true that this act was completely out of Bales’ character, as his wife says, then this just goes to show what the war is really doing to the minds of our soldiers, and for what?
Although Bales should be punished, because in no way should anybody from any country get away with the killing of innocent people, that’s just one part of the problem, and in the grand scheme of things, the only way to prevent incidents like this in the future, is obviously ending the war.
The killings have gained media coverage from all around the world, which will hopefully turn out to be a good thing. Although there would be no way of knowing other than being involved in it, I’m sure civilians only hear about a fraction of the horrible incidents that occur throughout war. The fact that this one is getting attention will maybe open up some eyes.
The result of Bales’ case will be an interesting yet sad one, no matter which way it turns out, and the pressure is on America to handle it in a way that satisfies the people of Afghanistan so that any problems that could further damage an already unstable relationship will be hopefully avoided.
Lucas Sepulveda is a creative writing and media production junior and may be reached at [email protected].