US soldiers accused of killing Afghans ‘for sport’

by Ben Hoffman

Our military has had to lower its standards dramatically in order to meet recruitment needs. Ex-cons are now welcome as are those with low academic test scores. In 2007, the Army accepted an estimated 8,000 recruits with criminal records, many with felony convictions.

Army Pvt. Steve Green was awarded a waiver for his criminal past and is now on trial for raping and murdering an Iraqi girl, then killing her entire family.

This story appeared in the Washington Post today:

AT JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WASH. The U.S. soldiers hatched a plan as simple as it was savage: to randomly target and kill an Afghan civilian, and to get away with it.

For weeks, according to Army charging documents, rogue members of a platoon from the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, floated the idea. Then, one day last winter, a solitary Afghan man approached them in the village of La Mohammed Kalay. The “kill team” activated the plan.

One soldier created a ruse that they were under attack, tossing a fragmentary grenade on the ground. Then others opened fire.

According to charging documents, the unprovoked, fatal attack on Jan. 15 was the start of a months-long shooting spree against Afghan civilians that resulted in some of the grisliest allegations against American soldiers since the U.S. invasion in 2001. Members of the platoon have been charged with dismembering and photographing corpses, as well as hoarding a skull and other human bones.

The subsequent investigation has raised accusations about whether the military ignored warnings that the out-of-control soldiers were committing atrocities. The father of one soldier said he repeatedly tried to alert the Army after his son told him about the first killing, only to be rebuffed.

Two more slayings would follow. Military documents allege that five members of the unit staged a total of three murders in Kandahar province between January and May. Seven other soldiers have been charged with crimes related to the case, including hashish use, attempts to impede the investigation and a retaliatory gang assault on a private who blew the whistle.

Read more…

Not exactly the way to win the hearts and minds of the Afghani people.

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