Sunday, 12 September 2010

Unspeakable

Following the the Granai air strikes last year, I posted some angry comments about the US Marines MarSOC unit, which had been involved in the operation, along with others which had featured large numbers of civilian deaths in Afghanistan (1).

I described their actions as "savages" who were "killing innocent people for sport." That wasn't entirely fair, but I was sickened by the high death tolls, and the reckless, counter-productive strategy employed.

Now, however, it looks like there really are US soldiers in Afghanistan doing just that - killing civilians simply because it amuses them, with no military goal at all, however ill conceived:
Morlock and another soldier, Andrew Holmes, were on guard at the edge of a poppy field when Mudin emerged and stopped on the other side of a wall from the soldiers. Gibbs allegedly handed Morlock a grenade who armed it and dropped it over the wall next to the Afghan and dived for cover. Holmes, 19, then allegedly fired over the wall.

Later in the day, Morlock is alleged to have told Holmes that the killing was for fun and threatened him if he told anyone.

The second victim, Marach Agha, was shot and killed the following month. Gibbs is alleged to have shot him and placed a Kalashnikov next to the body to justify the killing. In May Mullah Adadhdad was killed after being shot and attacked with a grenade.

The Army Times reported that a least one of the soldiers collected the fingers of the victims as souvenirs and that some of them posed for photographs with the bodies.

Five soldiers – Gibbs, Morlock, Holmes, Michael Wagnon and Adam Winfield – are accused of murder and aggravated assault among other charges. All of the soldiers have denied the charges. They face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted. (2)
While they may have be facing justice, it does beg questions about how much of this sort of stuff is going on. It's barbaric, the sort of savagery that we were meant to be saving the Afghans from.
1 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2009/05/marsoc-murders-in-afghanistan.html
2 - "US soldiers 'killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected fingers as trophies'," by Chris McGreal. Published in The Guardian, 9th of September, 2010. (
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/09/us-soldiers-afghan-civilians-fingers)

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