This atrocity appears to be the act of one man, but the blame can be shared from coast to coast.
I have incredible respect for the U.S. military, especially having been born in a country whose military has staged military coups, and having had to grow up in the aftermath of such a military takeover.
Sgt. Bales has so far been accused of heinous crimes. He has not yet been convicted of them.
However, let's not pretend that there is some acceptable reason that makes something other than the death penalty appropriate if he is indeed convicted.
Horsey complains about the volunteer military. Having very briefly served as a conscript in the Turkish army, let me tell you that the fact that the U.S. military is an all-volunteer force is one reason why its members are much more competent than an average member of the population at large.
Without an all volunteer force, you eventually end up with Stripes.
No, the real problem in Afghanistan is that we have a chicken-in-chief who wasn't content with just trying to undermine the U.S. effort in Iraq (have you looked at how many innocents have been killed there since 2008?). No, he also forcefully advanced the idea that Afghanistan was the right war. The war that had to be won. The nation that had to be built.
Since he has become president, former senator Obama has given up on Afghanistan as well as Iraq. There is no sense of purpose, and the administration is preparing a repeat of the departure from Saigon, possibly while battling Iranian forces.
That is the real problem in Afghanistan.
And, it exists independently of the merciless killing of innocents which Sgt. Bales is accused of committing.
There are thousands upon thousands of members of U.S. military who have served and continue to serve honorably under extremely stressful circumstances.
If Sgt. Bales committed these murders, and his punishment ends up being lighter than fits the crime due to touchy-feely concerns, his case will have cast much greater shame on the U.S. military than anything that happened in Abu Ghraib.
I am taking a wait & see attitude towards this case. However, I am ashamed of the cowardice of people who keep coming up with excuse after excuse for Sgt. Bales without knowing any details about him. Psychopathic killers hide in plain sight among civilians all the time. Why would it be so shocking for one to have hidden in the military environment in this case?