What should the United States do in response to the Afghan massacre?

Sunday’s massacre of Afghan civilians, reportedly by an American soldier, has contributed to a crisis in U.S.-Afghan relations. Today’s Question: What should the United States do in response to the Afghan massacre?

  • John O.

    Try the accused American soldier in an appropriate military court.

    Meanwhile, every last American should be brought home. Period.

  • Emery

    The American cause in Afghanistan is now officially lost. Time to pack up and leave. Look for a resurgence in the number of men joining Taliban from now on. Look for civil war and endless bloodshed. Next up: Iran.

  • Allie

    There is only one thing to do. Try (court martial) the soldier, find him guilty, and punish him as provided for by law. It is, quite simply, the right thing to do, and it should be done.

    Will it be enough for the Afghans? Absent the death penalty, promptly administered — no. And it should not be undertaken under some delusion that it will make things all better there. It should be done because it is right, not because it might be expedient.

  • david

    Leave…

    As for the soldier he has obviously snapped and would be found not guilty by insanity in the US. Who knows what the military will do. Seems the case anyway. After years of a pointless war, and then it again starts to escalate as a bunch of afgans are murdering US soldiers over the accidental burning of a bunch of “magic” books, he snapped. Washington feels the need to appease those people. Why? I still remember thinking as soon as I saw that second plane hit the second tower that I knew exactly what was going on, and a military option would be pointless and only exacerbate the issue. Ten years later it would seem I was right.

    The question to ask is why are we still there anyway? Haven’t we wasted enough lives and resources is this place already? Is that oil pipeline really that important?

  • Philip

    Now you see, if the soldier were only permitted to smoke hemp…(It’s a, I say it’s a joke, boy. Laugh a little, you’ll live longer, son).

    Due process, trial, punishment under the UCMJ. The rule of law applies and it’s important to demonstrate that to the world, especially Afghanistan.

  • Mark Gortze

    When we kill innocent civilians from 10 or 30,000 feet, as we have been doing for more than a decade, nobody bats an eye. What’s the difference? Bring home all the troops now.

  • Aleksandra

    Example of trial in a case of Polish soldiers shows it might be the case soldiers allegedly accused for murders in Afghanistan to be acquitted. Although, second trial appears in that case as possible solution. Here is the link with that news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17364522

    Soldiers from Eastern European Countries participated in the military coalition in Afghanistan. Trial and court case should be the reference on the possibile outcome of the tragic deaths of civilians in Afghanistan. Another example is to explain that not every soldier commits such alleged crimes. It is a matter of mutual understanding and cooperation between Afghanistan and the USA. It should be the USA people’s voice of support to lost lives.

  • Steve the Cynic

    When we put people in crazy-making circumstances, such as combat, it shouldn’t surprise us that some small number of them go crazy, especially if there’s a TBI involved. Of course, we’ll have to try and convict and execute him (and any accomplices there might be), even if perhaps under other circumstances he’d be found not guilty by reason of insanity, on the off chance that it will actually appease any Afghanis. He’s collateral damage in the war, and We the People are responsible for his and his victims’ deaths. Maybe some day we’ll find a better way…..

  • Jim G

    We must investigate everything. We need to report all findings. We should be transparent, and truthful. We will administer justice. We might accept the results with dignity. Then we have to end this eternal war.

  • Jennifer Gumbel

    A group of US mothers should get together to send something to the village. It won’t bring their children back, but I’d like to to let them know that there are mothers here whose hearts ache that someone in our uniform took their children.

  • @ Philip – Sorry, but allowing soldiers to smoke hemp would do nothing but give the said soldiers a massive headache. I’m guessing you meant marijuana, the drug variety of cannabis. Hemp is the non-drug variety that is used for cloth, paper, rope, etc. You could smoke an entire acre of hemp and you wouldn’t get high., but you would get that headache I mentioned. (Sorry, it’s a pet peeve of mine.)

    Now, as for what I think we should do is hold the soldier accountable. He should be tried publicly and the trial should be as transparent as we can make it.

    I also like the idea of people banding together to send care packages to the victims’ families, but it wouldn’t go as far as justice being served – in the form of a trial.

    @ Mark Gortze – the difference is when we drop bombs, we are not specifically targeting civilians. This soldier did target civilians.

  • lucy

    He should be tried under the UCMJ,

    BUT

    the US should also take responsibility in his actions, as the/we are the ones who allowed -clearly- a man with mental illness to continue to work for the military with access to weapons. How many, now US citizens, have PTSD due to their service abroad during the war as a US soldier?

    From the New York Times, “Long-Planned Visit Lands Panetta in Tense Afghanistan” is the following quote:

    “Mr. Panetta told reporters on his plane on Monday that the killings in Panjwai were a horrific part of the decade-old conflict in Afghanistan.

    “War is hell,” he said. “These kinds of events and incidents are going to take place, they’ve taken place in any war, they’re terrible events, and this is not the first of those events, and it probably will not be the last.” He added: “But we cannot allow these events to undermine our strategy.” ”

    And what strategy is that?…

    War is hell…these actions happen all the time during war and that’s the way it is so get used to it?

    There is a better solution.

  • Bear

    Taliban calls for retaliation? Strange irony, are they not the same people who are killing Afghan civilians – men, women, and children — with IED’s, suicide bombers, etc.? And, why are we there? Oh yea, an extremist organization associated with the Taliban killed 3,000 innocent civilians on 911. Sad situation when under the umbrella of a religion evil people can perpetrate such injury and harm. If Afghans are truly outraged they should focus their anger on the real threat to their society and population – the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Rout these evil people from their caves.

  • Bear

    Taliban calls for retaliation? Strange irony, are they not the same people who are killing Afghan civilians – men, women, and children — with IED’s, suicide bombers, etc.? And, why are we there? Oh yea, an extremist organization associated with the Taliban killed 3,000 innocent civilians on 911. Sad situation when under the umbrella of a religion evil people can perpetrate such injury and harm. If Afghans are truly outraged they should focus their anger on the real threat to their society and population – the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Rout these evil people from their caves.

  • lucy

    “Oh yea, an extremist organization associated with the Taliban killed 3,000 innocent civilians on 911-Bear”

    That’s the spin the media provides.

    However:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsGtqLgsf78

    There should be enough information there for you to rethink your comment. We are our own boogeymen.

  • Philip

    @Drae – Sorry, but this soldier has never smoked it. I thought I’d get ahead of the crowd today and make the ridiculous statement before someone else did. Hemp, cannabis, marijuana, whatever. It all boils down to having ones consciousness altered chemically.

  • lucy

    “It all boils down to having ones consciousness altered chemically.

    Posted by Philip | March 14, 2012 10:31 AM ”

    Take responsibility for your own ignorance, marijuana is NOT a chemical it is an herb.

    It is our responsibility to seek the Truth and NOT hide our mistakes but bring them to light, correct them so as to NOT make the same mistake again.

    It is NOT unpatriotic to seek improvement and change for the better when a current system appears to be unjust and corrupt.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Lucy, I think the 9/11 conspiracy theories are a deliberately made up distraction to keep us from discovering what really happened, namely that space aliens did it, because that restaruant at the top was actually a cover for an NSA unit that was about to uncover their existence and blow the whistle on how they’ve been manipulating world affairs for centuries. (The things people believe, sheesh!)

  • david

    We’d hate to have our politically altered consciousness, altered thru the media, effected by something as simple as marijuana. We might stop buying the lies for a bit and actually stop and think.

    That said I don’t really see the point of the pro-hemp posts on here. It’s right up there with the daily GOP troll posts. It’s a stupid and a waste of time.

    Stop and think of the reason we are pandering to Afghanistan, the former Unocal consultant Karzia, and the rest of these people who HAVE murdered, and aided in the murder of thousands of Americans. This makes absolutely no sense. Send cookies to them if you want, but really we should say F-them, have a nice life. Leave us alone and we’ll do the same. Mess with us again and expect hell to rain down from the sky. No rebuilding afterward. Same goes for Iran. We’re never going to change either place for what we see as “the better”. Afghanistan doesn’t want a pipe line running across their country, just like I don’t want the keystone pipeline running across mine. Just who is actually running this country? Obama or exxon mobil? Congress or BP? David Koch or the people of the US?

  • Bear

    @Lucy, before you criticise someone get the facts straight. It is the chemical THC in the herb that alters the mind just like beer is a beverage but the alcohol alters the mind and coordination.

    Maybe too much THC is why you fall for the absurd conspiracies like your link. The guy is not creditable and a crack pot. Do some research.

  • @ Philip – Yeah, “whatever.” There is nothing wrong with being under-informed or misinformed. There’s only something wrong when you accept it. (FYI – cannabis is the plant, marijuana and hemp are its two varieties.) But at least you weren’t as rudely dismissive as David, who just thinks “it’s a [sic] stupid and a waste of time” and apparently thinks people with differing opinions are “trolls.”

    @david – mind elaborating on why it’s stupid and a waste of time to discuss cannabis prohibition? Yes, I meant cannabis.

  • david

    It’s off point drea. It has nothing to do with the question. You are only shooting yourself in the foot by going off topic. It’s a troll tactic and ruins your credibility.

  • @david – Actually, the US war on drugs is directly affecting Afghans, but I understand your point. However, after correcting Philip, I went back to the topic. I can’t control what others do. Perhaps we’ll get a chance to discuss prohibition another time. Until then, I still think the soldier has to face justice.

  • lucy

    “Maybe too much THC is why you fall for the absurd conspiracies like your link. The guy is not creditable and a crack pot. Do some research.

    Posted by Bear | March 14, 2012 10:56 AM ”

    I do not smoke pot, because it is illegal. In your opinion the guy is a crack pot and we should all listen yo your opinion. He demonstrates valid research and proves his point.

    Clearly you are not a man who can take responsibility for your mistakes and clearly can not admit to them.

    Today’s Question: What should the United States do in response to the Afghan massacre?

    Take responsibility for the actions of the soldier and the behavior that was taught to him. He certainly wasn’t born that way.

  • david

    “Take responsibility for your own ignorance, marijuana is NOT a chemical it is an herb.”

    Marijuana may be a herb, more to the fact it’s a complex collections of chemical compositions. As are you, I, and this soldier in question. Bullets, bombs, and IEDs are also complex collections of chemical compositions. When you combine any of these compositions together you often end up with unpredictable results. In the case of our soldier friend in question and the bombs, bullets and IEDs we got another collection of chemical compositions, a bunch of dead afgans. Unfortunately they were the wrong afgans. We try to control these reactions with a set of rules of engagement. Unfortunately our foes do not have to follow those same rules. Because of that results will be unpredictable.

    What really sickens me is how many of you people are willing to through this person, probably nothing more than a kid, under the bus to appease what is the second most corrupt country and government in the world. Second only to somalia. It’s ok for these afgans to go nuts, rioting and murdering over the burning of GARBAGE. The burning of a bunch of magical books, books which are in no small part responsible for this mess we are in today. How many of you people sport a stupid yellow ribbon on the back of your car? Your SUV? Do the world a favor and take a look in the mirror before you pass judgement without all the facts. You want to play Monday morning quarterback, I say lets examine why we are playing the game in the first place. After over 10 years of war, lets really support the troops, all the troops. Can we not be a group of hypocrites all the time? The only answer to this question is to say oops, but you are just as much to blame Afghanistan. You mind your business and we’ll mind ours. More importantly we’ll take care of this at home, with dignity and respect.

  • lol @ MPR

    LOL!

  • lucy

    “”Take responsibility for your own ignorance, marijuana is NOT a chemical it is an herb.”

    Marijuana may be a herb, more to the fact it’s a complex collections of chemical compositions. As are you, I, and this soldier in question. Bullets, bombs, and IEDs are also complex collections of chemical compositions. When you combine any of these compositions together you often end up with unpredictable results. In the case of our soldier friend in question and the bombs, bullets and IEDs we got another collection of chemical compositions, a bunch of dead afgans.”

    Bad analogy david, you are comparing apples to an ape.

    Frankly, I would rather face the unpredictable results of someone who has smoked too much pot than a soldier suffering from the affects of ‘war is hell” with access to weapons.

    I have been told that an eye for an eye makes everyone blind.

    -So much for your threats of retallation. There are better solutions than war and might makes right theories.

    “Can we not be a group of hypocrites all the time?”

    Indeed.

  • david

    You left off the most important part of my analogy lucy. We are dealing with an enemy who does not have to play by the same set of rules we imposed upon ourselves. We purposely in many ways fight them with one hand tied behind our back, while they preform more horrendous acts then this disturbed soldier did, daily for over 10 years now. The afgans need to also start taking some accountability. They made the strategic alliance with al qaeda. They rioted and murdered 5 soldiers over something as stupid as the burning of a book, and we apologized. What a slap in the face to our soldiers, while doing an incredibly difficult job, and just the sort of stressor to cause a psychotic break. Like in the Battle for Haditha. It’s easy to judge, but till you are in their combat boots, its impossible to judge accurately.

    But I think we agree that ultimately the cause has more to do with the fact that we shouldn’t be there in the first place.

  • Tired.

    Sting ’em up in a public square for the body to be beaten by the locals. It’s a language they understand.

  • Tired.

    The soldier should be immediately handed off to the new Afgan authority. We did train them right? It’s been long enough… get out of Afghanistan.

  • Bear

    Wow david, I don’t often agree with your opinion on things, but you do have a right to express them. However, regarding this post, in my opinion you have precisely framed the issue.

    Judging Others

    While this soldier’s actions cannot be condoned, and he must face a fair transparent trial, but those who have never faced a life threatening combat situation, should keep their judgements to themselves. You cannot even begin to understand that person’s mental state and should not judge if you have not walked in their boots.

    The Pragmatism of War

    War is hell and usually not the best solution. Dialog and collaboration are usually a good path to the best solution. But often the best solution is off the table because the other side does not share the objective of living harmoniously with those who don’t share their view point. They aggressively seek to limit other’s rights and restrict the freedoms of those with whom they disagree or they covet their neighbor’s possessions or they abuse other’s human rights, in these cases sometimes war is the only pragmatic solution.

    However, these wars need a clearly define desired outcome and disengagement strategy. In Afghanistan we had a clear objective, but that morphed into nation building, which is a foolhardy venture. We now have no strategy and no end game.

  • Tired.

    It’s amazing the action of one soldier could undermine the whole effort and disgrace those who paid with their lives. Get out of Afghanistan.

  • Tired.

    It’s amazing the action of one soldier could undermine the whole effort and disgrace those who paid with their lives. Get out of Afghanistan.

  • Mary E

    Pull all of the troops out of Afghanistan. Military forces should never be used as ‘peacekeepers’. As a famous war general once said, “the purpose of the military is to break things and kill people”. The whole idea of nation building is insane. The way the US mistreats its military, it is truly a wonder that anyone stays in.

  • Tired says: “Sting ’em up in a public square for the body to be beaten by the locals. It’s a language they understand.”

    That’s more than a little insulting to the Afghans as well as barbaric. You honestly think the best way to bring Afghanistan to the rule of law is to revert to archaic and barbaric punishments? Not to mention it violates the soldier’s rights as a citizen to a fair trial and from cruel and unusual punishment. Strip him of his rights and set a poor example of the rule of law for the Afghans – that’s your solution?

    Talk about ruining one’s credibility.

  • Tired.

    You can’t teach calculus overnight. It’s a culture beyond our comprehension Drae.

  • @Tired – but the way to teach them is to go backwards? Violate our own laws to placate them? So that when we stress the rule of law to them, they can tell us we don’t follow it ourselves so why should they? Brilliant.

  • Tired.

    The terms Brilliance and American Law should never be used together. Politics usurps intelligence. Timing is key. We Americans still have things to learn, but apparently, given our past, fail to do so.

  • lucy

    “You left off the most important part of my analogy lucy. ”

    No I didn’t. Infact I think I nailed all your posts for today.

  • Since we can’t teach calculus overnight we shouldn’t teach it at all, Tired? Compromising our principles is hardly a decent alternative. And since when is ten years “overnight?” Your comments are ugly and insulting to Americans and Afghans both.

  • @Tired – I didn’t use the term “American Law.” I used the term “rule of law,” a system by which many countries abide.

    Our forefathers found the rule of man to be inferior, but if you have a superior alternative to the rule of law, I’m all ears.

  • Tired.

    Have nice day Drae. May your learning adventures be fruitful.

  • david

    Ok lucy. I guess i fail to see your point what so ever. So what else is new.

  • @ Tired – LMAO! Good luck teaching. You’re going to need it.

  • GregX

    Keep dragging this war out… they have trillions in rare-earth metals (in the ground) that are needed in computer manufacturing.

  • lucy

    “Ok lucy. I guess i fail to see your point what so ever. So what else is new.

    Posted by david | March 14, 2012 5:20 PM”

    Maybe you can understand this:

    “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers,

    that you do unto me”

    My point is that the US should take responsibility in the actions of that soldier. The war created his behavior and he was an employee of the US military.

    I agreed with your points:

    “Afghanistan doesn’t want a pipe line running across their country, just like I don’t want the keystone pipeline running across mine. Just who is actually running this country? Obama or exxon mobil? Congress or BP? David Koch or the people of the US?”

    and

    “We’d hate to have our politically altered consciousness, altered thru the media, effected by something as simple as marijuana. We might stop buying the lies for a bit and actually stop and think. ”

    But I have a concern with thinking that goes along these lines

    ” Send cookies to them if you want, but really we should say F-them, have a nice life. Leave us alone and we’ll do the same. Mess with us again and expect hell to rain down from the sky.”

    “Unfortunately our foes do not have to follow those same rules”

    “We are dealing with an enemy who does not have to play by the same set of rules we imposed upon ourselves.”

    The enemy, the “they” are us, just as much as that soldier is one of us. I heard a speaker say that it is easy to see image of God in a child but almost impossible to see God in a rapist, a murderer or a nasty garbage dump. But yet God exists in all of those. There is alot to be learned in those words that man spoke, especially myself included.

    “It’s easy to judge, but till you are in their combat boots, its impossible to judge accurately.”

    I wore flight boots and not very well but I did wear them. I wasn’t a good rule follower at least the rules that made no sense.

    War makes no sense.

  • david

    Maybe you can understand this:

    “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers,

    that you do unto me”

    No lucy, I prefer to use logic and reasoning in my thoughts, and avoid magical thinking and superstition. The later is what causes people to riot and murder over the burning of garbage.

  • Steve the Cynic

    David, this is not to say I agree with Lucy, but the answer to the problem of fuzzy-minded rhetoric is not more fuzzy-minded rhetoric. If you can’t tell the difference between spirituality and religion on the one hand, and superstition and magic on the other, you’re no better than a GOP presidential candidate in terms of lacking nuance. The idea that there’s nothing that matters beyond what can be observed and measured is every bit as closed-minded as Bible-thumping fundamentalism.

  • amanda

    The soldier was not a green young man who cracked under pressure. He was a seasoned soldier, this being his fourth deployment, hitting forty with a wife and two children. He has a civilian record of battery and assault, and was very loudly angry that he had just gotten passed up on a promotion. Does any of this mean that he did or did not crack under pressure? No…but age, stability, experience and how you are as a person and what you do WILL affect how you will act and what you will do if you DO eventually break.

    Being a soldier, he will be Court Marshaled, and judged according to the UCMJ. Because of what had happened, and the way in which it happened, he will more than likely be diagnosed with PTSD (I saw someone make a post that he had TBI, which will simply be added this) and he will be spared the death penalty, and in some cases, they are spared much more than that. That is, of course, unless he will be ‘made an example of’ in which case it is completely up in the air as to what exactly will happen. Whatever the Military feels will appease the Afghan people and government will be the action more likely taken in this particular case.

    So what will appease them? Not his death. There is only a very public outcry for the US troops to pull out of Afghanistan. Is that what we need to do? I am not a military strategist, so I have no idea on that front.

    to anyone who talks about their very violent and public outburst of the soldiers burning their ‘magic books’. Their entire world is revolved around their religion. Has no one realized that there was many violent attacks after the burning of the Qur’an, yet none over 16 deaths, mostly of women and children> To the Afghan people, those deaths were considered martyrdom, so we have just aided them along with there cause, their ultimate cause being to further their spiritual and religious walk, martyrdom being the highest level achievable. These are not the Taliban, not radicals. These are not people who blow up as many people as they can, man woman and child as they try to destroy even one soldier, but their religion is just as important to them. They do not demand retribution on this, because the US did not stomp on the most important thing to these people…not the newest car or the hottest new gadget, or backstabbing neighbor and friend to get more money and a bigger house….but it is their walk with their god. They just want us gone.

    I am the wife of a soldier. What irritates me the most about the burnings of the Qur’an and now this is that any little bit of credit or respect that the soldiers had with the Afghan people (and trust me…that is vital in what is going on over there) was just shot to Hades and back. And just about every man and woman and even teenager that I know in the military (which is many) are respectful of the Afghan beliefs when they are there. Although many do not believe that we should be there, they still go, and respect and protect the people while they are there. The few that do something like this ruins anything good that others have done before him.