Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sentencing of Robert Bales for massacre in Afghanistan

A military court has just sentenced Robert Bales to life in prison without the possibility of parole for massacring 16 Afghan civilians in June 2012. The entire court-martial proceedings were a mockery of justice since witnesses had to travel 7,000 miles to testify through interpreters in a foreign courtroom rather than in their own language in the jurisdiction where the massacres occurred. No one should get too excited about the sentence since in a matter of time it’s likely to be commuted.

During the Vietnam War, Lt. William Calley was charged with 104 counts of murder in the 1968 massacre of Vietnamese civilians in the village of My Lai--although the actual number of villagers slaughtered under his command was 500, including mostly women, children, & elderly. In 1971 a court-martial sentenced Calley to life imprisonment & hard labor at Fort Leavenworth prison. The very next day President Richard Nixon ordered him transferred from the prison to house arrest on a military base. In a series of legal maneuvers orchestrated by the White House & Pentagon, the sentence was repeatedly reduced & after only 3-1/2 years of house arrest Calley was released in 1974.

We can expect similar maneuverings by the Obama regime & Pentagon. Soldiers are trained & expected to commit atrocities. That’s why so many of them end up with mental health & addiction problems & why the suicide rate from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is now higher than the casualty rates. That’s what PTSD is all about.

The US government will protect Bales from accountability for his war crimes because it is responsible for sending Bales there in the first place after indoctrinating him with racist ideology to make atrocities just another day of work in war & occupation--& it is just as responsible for the massacre in Kandahar province as Robert Bales. If it does not protect soldiers from accountability it cannot rely on them for executing atrocities which are the nature of US wars.

Meanwhile Chelsea Manning will spend many years in prison for exposing these war crimes & the Obama regime & Pentagon will exert every effort to make sure her sentence is not reduced by a day.

Antiwar protests are scheduled for this fall to oppose the continuing war in Iraq (calculated one way it’s gone on since 2003; calculated more accurately, since 1990) & the 12th year of war & occupation in Afghanistan. It will be the best place to defend Manning & to speak out against the US-NATO wars.

This photo is of Masooma with her children; her husband was one of those slaughtered by Bales. Is that how the US emancipates women in Afghanistan?

US out of Afghanistan! US out of Iraq!

(Photo by Anja Niedringhaus/AP)

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