USA against its own Soldier seeks the death penalty

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source.

Death penalty sought for US soldier in Afghan massacre case

Sgt Bales (second left) faces 16 counts of murder and various other charges

A US soldier accused of killing 16 civilians - nine of them children - in southern Afghanistan in March should face the death penalty, military prosecutors say.

Several soldiers told the preliminary hearing that Sgt Robert Bales returned to their base covered in blood.

Sgt Bales' lawyer says there is not enough evidence for him to stand trial.

The lead investigator in the case will make a recommendation on whether a full court martial ought to proceed.

Col Lee Deneke will make his recommendation to a senior general by the end of this week, who will then make a decision on whether the court martial should go ahead.

Military prosecutor Maj Rob Steele told the hearing in Washington state said the death penalty should be considered due to the "heinous, brutal and methodical" nature of the crimes.

Sgt Bales faces 16 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder, as well as charges of assault and using drugs and alcohol while deployed.

Afghan witnesses gave evidence to the hearing via video link
'Clear memory'
The hearing held evening sessions to ensure victims and relatives of those killed in the two villages in Kandahar province could testify via video link.

One seven-year-old girl told the hearing of how she hid behind her father, who was shot and killed when the gunman attacked.

Maj Steele said statements Sgt Bales made a few hours after the incident demonstrated that he had a "clear memory" of what had happened, and that he was conscious of his actions.

However, Sgt Bales' lawyer Emma Scanlan told the hearing that the evidence presented was not sufficient to go forward to a court martial.

She pointed to inconsistencies, such as the testimony from some of the Afghan witnesses that more than one shooter was involved.

The massacre caused widespread anger in Afghanistan and put further strain on already tense US-Afghan relations.

No US service member has been executed in more than 50 years, the BBC's Alistair Leithead reports.

The six currently on death row were convicted of killing US citizens, not foreign nationals, he adds.

What do you think about it? Should the USA be able to punish the soldier with death? After all they enlisted him and gave him the gun. Shouldn't they be blamed too?

Well, I for one, believe the death penalty should be abolished, so of course I don't think they should punish him with death. I do, however, think he should receive life imprisonment.

TheIronRuler:
After all they enlisted him and gave him the gun. Shouldn't they be blamed too?

Organizational liability isn't an excuse for the murderer... it's just a deep pocket for a civil suit to go after (though I don't see sufficient grounds to do so as yet.) The soldier agreed to abide by the UCMJ. His conduct contrary to it is his own responsibility.

I dont support the death penalty. But I do think that he should get life in prison.

TheIronRuler:

What do you think about it? Should the USA be able to punish the soldier with death? After all they enlisted him and gave him the gun. Shouldn't they be blamed too?

Realistically, organisations cannot be held almost indefinitely responsible for crimes committed by its staff in contradiction of their regulations and procedures. The US military would have to be shown to have been culpably negligent in oversight of its operatives, and consequently unless there is a record of him failing psychological tests or committing serious disciplinary breaches, it's hard to see how they can be held blameworthy.

Given that many states in the US would give him the death penalty if found guilty of lesser massacres, it's not that outlandish to apply it here.

Killing sixteen people is warrant of some extreme form of punishment, whether death or life in prison. They'd better do something, at least.

Was there any underlying mental issues, like stress, wartime fatigue or anything? Or did he just get up one morning and say, "Let's see how many citizens I can kill in one clip?"

He's an asshole either way.

Whitbane:
Killing sixteen people is warrant of some extreme form of punishment, whether death or life in prison. They'd better do something, at least.

Was there any underlying mental issues, like stress, wartime fatigue or anything? Or did he just get up one morning and say, "Let's see how many citizens I can kill you one clip?"

He's an asshole either way.

Had previously suffered traumatic brain injury but was cleared for service.
Also it seems he participated in some civilian shooting before but was clared from that too.

Yes. Unequivocally yes. His actions not only lead to the deaths of innocent civilians they also indirectly may cause the deaths of NATO troops in the region. Nothing says recruitment tool like civilian massacre. As such he has not only betrayed the Afghan people, but the United States and his comrades as well. Last I checked, treason was also a capitol crime.

Convict him and pull the lever, and determine if there really is another gun man or if he just made that up.

Nikolaz72:
I dont support the death penalty. But I do think that he should get life in prison.

This, pretty much.

Plus any verdict lower than that would be proof that US forces aren't punished for warcrimes, as no other mass murderer would be free again in the average US court verdict against them.

Shock and Awe:
Last I checked, treason was also a capitol crime.

Not all of them, just the few crazies on the hill who want secession of their state and civil war because Obama won.

I'm kind of iffy when it comes to the use of capital punishment. Though I do agree that some justice needs to be done.

I don't see how this is the United State's fault. They surely did background checks and psychological checks before the guy was enlisted. And after doing so, they likely gave him a list rules saying he's mot allowed to slaughter civilians.

This comes down to personal responsibility.

Shadowstar38:
I'm kind of iffy when it comes to the use of capital punishment. Though I do agree that some justice needs to be done.

I don't see how this is the United State's fault. They surely did background checks and psychological checks before the guy was enlisted. And after doing so, they likely gave him a list rules saying he's mot allowed to slaughter civilians.

This comes down to personal responsibility.

There have been concerns raised about how the US military is dealing with the mental health of its personnel.

Ultimately, it's still him holding the weapon, though, any condemnation of the US military over those issues does not absolve him of that.

Send him out to the middle of Kandahar, unarmed and in his underwear, and make him walk a lap around the city. Problem solved, and you made the region happier.

Seriously, there is never an excuse for what he did.

Yes. I do feel he should be executed for this. Have him face the firing squad.

I've got fifty bucks says he's executed before Major Hassan. Just saying.

He disobeyed orders, broke protocol and went out of his way to kill innocent civilians; in doing so sabotaging the relations with the Afghan people. Firing squad it is. This isn't an accident where they fired into a building occupied by guerrillas that turned out to be a innocent family.

I don't quite follow the argument from the opening post.

The government trains police, too, does that mean that if a police officer abuses their power and murders people, it's the government's fault?
Hell, a road worker gets trained with a jackhammer. If he uses that to murder people, is the government to blame?

I guess you could blame the government if their training for soldiers includes disregard for civilian lives, encourages racism, vigilantism, murder and so on. Or maybe not something that active, even, just a training that ensures people don't care. For that you could blame them. The fact that they trained him with and gave him a weapon alone cannot be it, though.

Or are the USA training people to not give a fuck about civilians and want to murder them?

EDIT: Anyway, as to the death penalty question... since I don't think there should be a death pentalty overall, I guess that means "no".

Fraser Greenfield:
He disobeyed orders, broke protocol and went out of his way to kill innocent civilians; in doing so sabotaging the relations with the Afghan people. Firing squad it is. This isn't an accident where they fired into a building occupied by guerrillas that turned out to be a innocent family.

This. Not terribly worried about how the brass will handle it. The shitstorm is gonna come from the storm of "Free Sgt. Bales!!!" campaigns from the Stormfront crowd and Anonymous.

I don't think he should be getting the death penalty unless we drag back the scum pilots behind almost every friendly fire incident and give it to them too.

TheIronRuler:

What do you think about it? Should the USA be able to punish the soldier with death? After all they enlisted him and gave him the gun. Shouldn't they be blamed too?

They also taught him the Rules of Engagement (RoE) and I am pretty sure that doesn't include butchering 16 civilians. If he is found guilty then I support the maximum punishment available, be it LWOP (life without parole) or death.

Ravinoff:
I don't think he should be getting the death penalty unless we drag back the scum pilots behind almost every friendly fire incident and give it to them too.

Unless it could be proven that they meant to hit friendlies they're not really in trouble, I think that would filed under "shit happens". That's the problem with close air support, sometimes it's too close.

As for the soldier in question, firing squad in public, pretty sure that would go a long way to improving relations. He deserves death, the people of Afghanistan want him dead, there is no reason at all not to kill him. Doing it in front of the people of Aghanistan is just icing on the cake.

I think he's innocent. And I will continue to think so until a court proves it otherwise. Because that's fucking due process.

newfoundsky:
I think he's innocent. And I will continue to think so until a court proves it otherwise. Because that's fucking due process.

Sure, but the question of the thread is more general than that.

newfoundsky:
I think he's innocent. And I will continue to think so until a court proves it otherwise. Because that's fucking due process.

.
Aye, but I didn't say he was guilty, did I?

TheIronRuler:
What do you think about it? Should the USA be able to punish the soldier with death? After all they enlisted him and gave him the gun. Shouldn't they be blamed too?

If I go out tomorrow and stab a bunch of people, should my parents be blamed? What about my teachers? My friends? Maybe they should all face prosecution for having done whatever they did to make me do that. Of course, we don't know what that thing might be.. but they must have done it, right?

If he's insane, he can be found innocent on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and hopefully shipped off to a psychiatric ward. It's still not anyone else's fault.

If a specific failing can be identified, like maybe someone else in the army had seriously abused this guy or if in some way his human rights had been violated, then sure.. that person or institution should face some sort of justice and/or correction. But the army didn't tell him to shoot civilians, this isn't like the Abu Ghraib abuse case, where there might have been some kind of systemic unofficial policy of shooting civilians which this guy's superiors might have quietly approved of.

Is it possible to have sympathy with the fact that a guy has been placed in a dehumanizing situation which may have adversely affected his health and judgement. Sure. But that in and of itself does not make the armed forces criminally responsible for his bad decisions (whether or not they were taken in sound mind) unless it emerges that other people were involved.

I oppose the death penalty, both generally and in this case, so no.. I don't think they should execute him, but I don't think they need to try other people for his crime unless there's some evidence they were actually involved.

Xan Krieger:

Ravinoff:
I don't think he should be getting the death penalty unless we drag back the scum pilots behind almost every friendly fire incident and give it to them too.

Unless it could be proven that they meant to hit friendlies they're not really in trouble, I think that would filed under "shit happens". That's the problem with close air support, sometimes it's too close.

Two problems there: one, the ones I'm thinking of were cleared of doing anything wrong, or at worst charged with dereliction of duty (even after directly disobeying an order from the flight commander and ground control), and two, the details of the investigations in one case were never made public despite a significant disagreement between the US version and the British version of events.

These kinds of investigations need to be carried out by a third party that's not invested in either side of the story. My bet is this guy will never see the inside of a prison cell, let alone get the death penalty.

they are charging soldier for fighting in a war. fun fun.

Strazdas:
they are charging soldier for fighting in a war. fun fun.

A murder is a murder, even in war.
OT: If they find him guilty, I think he deserves an extremely harsh sentence.

newfoundsky:
I think he's innocent. And I will continue to think so until a court proves it otherwise. Because that's fucking due process.

Actually, in a military court, you are guilty until proven innocent. "Innocent until Guilty" is only how it works in civilian courts.

OT: Fry his ass. Stick him on a firing squad. I dont care how they do it, death penalty it is. Then after that, I got an idea that should make the Afgans even happier: Parade his body around the town he did his massacure in and then let anyone who wants to hit him with their shoes do so, since getting hit with a shoe is among the worst insults you can get in the muslim world.

He killed a lot of people and I do believe it's good that someone is going to be punished for the massacres for once.

I doubt he'll be condemned to death. Besides, I'm more interested that he spends life in prison.

Strazdas:
they are charging soldier for fighting in a war. fun fun.

In this case he went alone to a village of innocent people and shot everyone women, children, man and old man included. For no other reason that he had psychological break. Yeah, that's not fighting in a war. It's in the realm of war crimes.

I think it was in the best interests of the U.S to put a trial for him. The U.S already has a bad reputation of letting shit like this slide.

I think they should hand him over to the survivors of the village he massacred. That man gave up any right to my sympathy when he threw away his humanity.

As a seasoned supporter of the death penalty, I hope he gets his just desserts for what he did. Of course, the US Army is partly responsible for not spotting a dangerous loose cannon in its ranks. And the general policy seems to be to treat the symptoms without addressing the causes. Certainly, severely punishing war criminals is a start. Court-martials have been far too lax especially towards mass-murdering scumbags. If there's anywhere capital punishment is most likely to act as a deterrent, it's in the armed forces.

If he's insane send him to a ward, if he is not insane send him to a max prison in one room for the rest of his life. He needs to think about what he's done.

Soods:

Strazdas:
they are charging soldier for fighting in a war. fun fun.

A murder is a murder, even in war.
OT: If they find him guilty, I think he deserves an extremely harsh sentence.

so we should jail any remaining ww pilots because they bombed a city and killed civilians? because they considered this "war necessity" back then.

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