A Casualty of War

Staff Sgt Robert Bales has been charged. He will no doubt be convicted if not of premeditated murder, of something. If his life is spared, he can no doubt count of spending the rest of his life in prison. We don’t yet have a full account of what happened, and some of it may never be known. No matter how it is presented, the evidence points to the fact he killed people, some children. Talking with a young man who fought near Kandahar I was told how insane such a war environment is. It happened in Viet Nam, now in Afghanistan. We didn’t understand it then. Are we doing better now? U.S. troops are dealing with villagers who have known war all their lives, with children who have known nothing but war, who take American medical and food aid and think nothing of detonating a bomb once their back is turned. Whatever pushed Staff Sgt Robert Bale to screw up as my young man referred to it, when we tally casualties, will those casualties include him—and his family?