Book of the Month

U.S. Sergeant Faces 17 Counts of Murder in Afghan Killings

New York Times, March 22, 2012

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be charged on Friday with 17 counts of murder and various other charges, including attempted murder, in connection with the March 11 shooting deaths of Afghan civilians, a senior United States official said on Thursday [.....]

Also see:

Robert Bales to be charged with 17 counts of murder, Associated Press, March 22

US soldier accused of gunning down civilians in Afghanistan also faces six counts of attempted murder and assault

Read the full article at

After Bales' arrest, military tried to delete him from the Web
By David Goldstein and Matthew Schofield, McClatchy Newspapers (via Stars & Stripes) March 21, 2012

[....] So why did the Pentagon try to scrub Bales from the Internet in the first place?

The military said its intention in removing the material wasn’t to lessen the Army’s embarrassment over the horrific attack — nine of the victims were children — but to protect the privacy of Bales’ family.

“Protecting a military family has to be a priority,” said a military official, who like several interviewed for this story spoke only on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.

“I think the feeding frenzy we saw after his name was released was evidence that we were right to try. … Of course the pages are cached; we know that. But we owe it to the wife and kids to do what we can.”

A second Pentagon official acknowledged that one of the reasons for the delay in releasing Bales’ name was to remove references to his Army service from the Internet.

But when Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was arrested in the deadly shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, the Pentagon released his name immediately.

Several former military officers said they were perplexed that the Army would try to remove information that already had been public. One called it “unusual.”

Experts agreed that the effort was futile [....]

U.S. Pays Families of Afghan Victims in Massacre by Soldier
By Matthew Rosenberg and Sanger Rahmi, New York Times, March 25, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — The families of 16 Afghan villagers who were killed this month by a rampaging American soldier were given $50,000 by the United States for each of their relatives who died, Afghan and American officials said.

The payments were made on Saturday by American military officers at the office of the governor of Kandahar Province, where the killings took place. The people wounded in the attacks were each given $11,000, said Hajji Agha Lalai, a member of the Kandahar provincial council [....]

Confusion Over a 17th Afghan Shooting Victim Persists
By Rod Nordland, New York Times, March 26, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — The mystery over the identity of the 17th Afghan victim in the murder case against Staff. Sgt. Robert Bales grew murkier on Monday, after an Afghan police official initially asserted that a pregnant woman’s fetus was also among the dead, only to retract the statement a few hours later.

Sergeant Bales was formally charged Friday with 17 counts of murder and 6 counts of assault and attempted murder in a massacre of villagers in Kandahar Province on March 11. But Afghan officials say that 16 were killed.

On Monday, it appeared the difference could be accounted for by including a fetus [....]

"Afghanistan massacre: What we've learned in the past week",
This Just In blog @, March 29, 2012; a good roundup if you haven't kept up, with links and videos.

Latest Comments