A decade into the Afghan War, the atrocities by U.S. forces - whether accidental or intentional - keep piling up along with assurances from American leaders that “this is not who we are.” But the unwillingness to impose serious penalties and the failure to adopt less violent strategies say something else to many Afghans, writes John LaForge.
A U.S. Army Staff Sergeant walked through two villages in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, around 3 a.m. March 11, methodically shooting 16 people that he’d dragged from their beds with single shots to the head. Then he dragged corpses outside and set some on fire. Eleven were reportedly from one family. Nine were children.
The Taliban has promised revenge against “sick-minded American savages.” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared to confirm this characterization when he callously told the press later the same day, “War is hell. These kinds of events and incidents are going to take place. They’ve taken place in any war. They’re terrible events. This is not the first of those events, and they probably won’t be the last.”