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17 March 2012


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Warren Jason Street

I would agree with all of that. There is the matter of the drinking of alcohol--a sin in Afghanistan committed by many, apparently. If he had been given some marijuana and given a few days to recuperate, this may not have happened. We are simply not that enlightened yet, but oh well. Human beings have to deaden their pain, physically or emotionally, and I would argue that weed is safer than homemade hard liquor, especially when distributed to adults who have been in high stress situations.

PTSD should be treated with medical marijuana. Or some synthetic equivalent thereof. Alcohol is a career-killing and human killing substance when abused.

The Twisted Genius

Happy Saint Paddy's day to all. My team intel sergeant introduced me to the Black Rose not far from Faneuil Hall in Boston. Many a pints of stout succumbed to our thirst and enthusiasm. My intel sergeant was born and raised as a boyo from the bogs and took great pleasure in taunting any Brit soldiers we met by declaring that he too served in North Ireland... as a door gunner on a bread truck. He wasn't bullshitting.


The Twisted Genius

Oops! Wrong thread.



Me Da, who was half Irish by blood, told of the St Paddy's Day (Evacuation Day as well) Army participation in parades in Boston when the MPs were cheered in Southy because of their green branch trimmings and the Signal Corps were buried in filth because of their branch's orange, pl



We drank in VN. So what. Maybe that's not the world worst sin. I remember trading the USAF down on the coast for a pallet load of Pabst flown up as a Chinook slung cargo. I sold them a bunch of busted up VC guns and flags that a Chinese seamstress had made for us and smeared with chicken blood. I know. I was a bad officer, but my boys did not do things like this. pl

The Twisted Genius

I agree with your assessment of SSG Bale's probable future. However, I haven't seen the media painting him as a monster since the initial incident reports. Rather I see the story developing of an American soldier broken by repeated deployments to nebulous battlefields finally snapping because a fellow soldier was seriously wounded. Judging from Bale's history, that may be the case. The victims of this crime will be largely forgotten by the American public. I have serious doubts that anyone will be held responsible for this. We have all become helpless victims. We'll see how the investigations and trial play out.

Charles I

it was worth it, never heard of Luke, but "the banshees lonely croon. ." works for me.

Charles I

There was a item on Public Radio International the other night with returned vets relating their post tour struggles.

I recall one young woman stated she drank every night for three years in Afghanistan, the only way to cope with the body parts she handled on the O.R. Patients came in in one piece back home, not a limb here, a torso there. She also hung her rifle within reach in the shower after they put on electronic locks on the women's, after 2 rapes.

Women Veterans Face Unique Hurdles



There is a heartening marriage repair story by people who have completely changed, have to virtually re woo to renew.

A wee prayer for Sgt Bales wife & kids.

Pat I have read reporting on prescribed amphetamine use in service and can attest the amphetamine alcohol combination is not a good one, but a natural one. Were they prescribed in Vietnam? I just watched the Kensington TV doc on Opium which of course reported on the weed and heroin use.


Any accuracy to the speculation of an anti malarial drug - Lariam (sp?) used by the Army turned Bales and some other soldiers paranoid and super-belligerent??

As for the green / orange thing in Boston I never understood that??? The MTA trolleys were 'international orange' for safety reasons because of numerous fatalities earlier. But they would get splattered with green every March. Orange is one of three colors on the tricolour flag of the Republic of Ireland. Why do Dublin, Cork, Donegal and Galway live with it but not that part of the Irish diaspora that ended up in Boston?

William of Orange and the majority of his troops in Ireland in the late 15th century were Dutch not Anglo. My understanding was they (the Dutch) were in Ireland fighting primarily French troops of Louis XIV who was assisting James II trying to regain the English throne. So the Irish - both southern Catholics and northern protestants (P?)- ended up being pawns in a 'game of thrones' between France, England and Holland. The Dutch and French and English have forgiven each other, the Irish not so much. Even 320 plus years later both north and south have not forgiven each other.


Charles I

None of that was prescribed in VN, nor do I think they should be. I do not want men with guns around me if they are seriousl impared. A couple fo cans of been does not do that. At the same time, if the troops want a drink (within reason)they should have one and people should stop harassing them for smoking tobacco. When you are likely to die soon, you want some comfort. Also in VN, the troops had a lot of access to Vietnamese and other civilians. There were self-created Vietnamese bordellos at every cross-roads. "Hey, GI, I love you too much, long time." There is none of that in these wars. These are puritan wars fought by men who are not. pl



Anti-malaria pills" IMO that is a lot of crap. People will do anything to try to find a mechanistic reason for human behavior that they don't like. IMO he just broke under the strain. pl


I have banned optimax for suggesting that I am a propagandist for these wars. pl



I have seen the disbelief that a family man with two children would do such a thing. Where do you thnik that is going? pl


Charles I

"she drank every night for three years in Afghanistan,"

Where did she get it? pl

Paul Deavereaux

If killing sixteen unarmed civilian men, women and children, burning their bodies and walking away and admitting his actions isn't enough to bring him to a speedy trial, conviction and hanging... what is? 25 dead civilians? 50? A hundred?


pl -

I suspect it is crap or some pretty far out speculation myself.

Not sure I understand your BTW comment. If you are saying that I am suggesting you are a propagandist for these wars then you are way off base. I have followed this blog long enough to know differently. I do not believe my comment suggested anything like that. If you are that thin-skinned then so be it, ban me.


You miread me; I didn't call you a propagandist for this war. I don't believe the media is prtraying this mass-murderer as a monster but are making excuses.

Being banned from SST is a rite-of-passage.

Pirate Laddie

Yeah -- mefloquine, AKA Lariam. We used it in Zaire in the '80's & a few other low altitude, wet places as well. Most folks weren't bothered by more than the occasional nightmare & weak, free-floating paranoia. The French had a much better dope - primaquine (sp?), and some folks went with doxicycline. Neither was GI, but some folks went out of pocket, just for the reduced side effects.
If I had to be around a bunch of heavily armed folks, I'd feel much better if they were on doxi or the French meds. Mefloquine is dicey at best & can be a real head twister for some folks.

William R. Cumming

Rumors of some sort of close timing of the murders to the recent killing by Afghans of six British soldiers? Rumors the British soldiers may have been mutilated? No confirmation of any of this so far!

The Twisted Genius


"Where do you think that is going?"

If the investigations are pursued honestly, I think we will see that Bales is a complicated man capable of both good and evil... just like the rest of us. This will be too much for the American public who can only see in black and white.

I also hope we will see a thorough examination of the 2/3 Infantry and the 3rd Stryker Brigade. In spite of the lineage, the 2/3 is a new unit, a product of the post 9/11 Army. What was the command climate and organizational culture of this unit? What lessons can the Army draw from this? Almost every unit I was part of had old timers... venerated ancient ones... who personally passed on the history, standards and culture of the unit to the young soldiers and officers as they came into the unit. Did this happen in the 2/3 or did the youngsters develop their own standards and culture like "The Lord of the Flies?" This examination is important for the future of the Army and I pray it is not short changed.

Warren Jason Street


A few beers are not the issue. This puritan crap is just that--it's nonsense foisted upon people who are under a tremendous amount of strain, trying to get through their time over there. I would not try to argue that a few beers with dinner is a bad thing at all.

Quite the opposite. It's the blackout drinking that seems to be a feature with military service. If you look at the article 15s for any unit, located anywhere in the world, it's the binge drinking and the drinking while driving that is ending many careers.

Beer should be a regular feature of chow halls while deployed. You want to have two? Go ahead. More than that, and someone is there, at least, to take you aside and keep you from overdoing it. Anything to ease the stress.


Col. Lang:

And the wife and two children? Collateral damage? It's beyond sad.




The media I am reading and watching seem to be asking some pretty important questions about what caused him to do this.


Honestly, I think (from the news stories I've read and heard) that there isn't all that much doubt about the bare facts of the matter.

"Whether there is a trial or not he will spend a long time in a mental hospital." - to be frank, I think that this would probably be the best that we can do for him at this point...if his actions are anywhere close to what has been alleged, they are not the actions of anyone who is sane, and he needs all the help we can give him in that sense.

So, if we can do that and in parallel get ourselves extricated from the morass, I will be moderately satisfied with the outcome.


A young nephew of mine after completing his medical residency specializing in PTSD joined the VA. Some of his patients have served on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. He has noted to me that several suffer debilitating psychological symptoms brought on by deep guilt and shame due to a temporary lapse in judgment in which women and children have been killed.

I think Pat is right that Staff Sgt. Bales will likely not be court-martialled by his peers as has happened in some of the similar cases from Iraq. The challenge Sgt. Bales will likely face is how to deal with his own conscience in the course of time and the perception of how his children will view his actions.

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