Colonel Jack Jacobs today said on one of the 24/7 news entertainments that the behavior of this platoon was "worse than Abu Ghraib." IMO he is exactly correct. In that prison men were abused by MP reservists who amused themselves by humiliating them in a multitude of disgusting ways, but they did not kill them.
In this instance the men of this rifle platoon (40 men more or less) decided to kill unarmed Afghan villagers because they were bored, hated these strange beings, and thought they could get away with it. In one instance they picked out an unarmed 15 year old boy as a victim and then revelled in mocking and defiling his corpse while the company commander stood by and watched.
This story is all about leadership, bad leadership as well as the baleful effect of ignorance about the local people, and the degeneration in moral standards that US Army commanders in the chain of command above this unit had allowed to occur.
No commissioned officers have been charged for conspiracy or neglect of duty? What a farce! This is all about their failures, all of it!
In the last few days I have had the sorry experience of watching a group of senior US Army officers preen and strut and glory in the stature allowed them by high rank. They do not remind me of the senior officers of my youth, men who led troops by example and with a sense of the responsibility that they carried for the honor of the Army.
In my big war, a lot of officers died on the battlefield. I can remember two major generals (Ware and Casey) who died within a few months in 1968-69. Senior officers in these wars are more likely to die from IED incidents than anything else.
These men do not seem like the men of that time. They seem to be a caste of uniformed Walmart managers and executives, each maneuevering for whatever is to be had in the consultant work that awaits them in retirement. They band together to arrange such work as a perquisite of their "success."
The enlisted men involved in these bestial murders must be punished but the officers who let this happen should be punished with them. pl