2012/03/23 § 2 Comments

Hi! It’s me! I have an opinion!

On Robert Bales, to be more specific. If you don’t know who Robert Bales is (meaning, if you live under a rock, like me, and have to Google to find out his name) he is the US soldier who went on a spree and killed 17 Afghan civilians.

The other day I attended an anti-war meeting talking about Iran and the threat of nuclear war. The speaker mentioned Bales, saying that “obviously this was not anyone else’s fault, it was all to blame on the soldier”. And this is what I briefly want to touch upon here, cause I disagree.

I’m not in any way an expert (or an amateur, or really anything more than ‘reading a few articles’ deep) on this case, but I will back my case with quotes from Wikipedia. Cause that’s how I roll.

Any soldier going to war goes through a lot of stress. There’s the problem with authorities. There’s the problem with showing off. There’s the problem with over-masculini-fictation (I made that word up). I thank the heavens that I never had to, felt the need to be, was asked to, or was in any way expected to (or even considered) becoming a soldier. It seems like a sucky “job”, and even though there’s the free education (at least in Norway) which is kind of tempting,  it doesn’t even cover 1/10th of the rest of what the job brings (threatening/hurting/killing people). Not mentioning the stress factor. But I digress.

I do believe Bales to be guilty, but I’ll be damned if he’s the sole reason for the death of those 17 people. He had (according to Wikipedia) seen his friend’s leg been blown up the day before, he had marriage problems and he didn’t really want to serve in the war in Afghanistan in the first place. His defendant said that “he wasn’t thrilled about going on another deployment … he was told he wasn’t going back, and then he was told he was going.” He is described as a mild-mannered man, who “just snapped”. And this is what war does to people. I don’t believe you can go through stuff like that and be expected to stay sane. Briefly mentioning PTSD. Of course he is the direct reason for these people being dead, but I think the indirect reason is the war, the authorities and the governments. Had he not been put through situations where he was made into watching his buddy’s leg blow up, had he not been forced into returning to a situation that was unpleasant to him, had he not been taught to kill other people and put his own life at risk for such a bloody stupid thing as a country (what is a country anyways? an imagined set of lines…?), he wouldn’t have snapped, he wouldn’t have killed civilians, and there wouldn’t be a problem.

I don’t like war, okay? I’ll go eat my pistachios now.


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  • i agree with a lot of this. we talked about it in english class, and many of my class mates thought that he was solely to blame. the thing is though, the way the society in america teaches people to judge others by their colour, origin, sexuality, gender, social status, religion and so on, there is no wonder why people kill each other, both home and abroad. the way the military brain washes their soliders to dehumanise “their enemy” is a major aspect to why this man did what he did, in addition to the things you already mentioned. war is the most inhumane thing that is allowed by law, so why people are so shocked by this is beyond me. in such an initial violent situation, things like these are almost bound to happen, and it has many times before, we just don’t know that much about it.

    i don’t know how much more grief, atrocities, and hatred the world can take. it makes me cry, and i almost don’t want to be a part of it anymore.

    • Kharma says:

      I am glad we agree. It is of vast importance that you stay a part of this world, if only to form a resistance. I know it can seem futile, and I know it can seem lonely but I swear that there are other people out there, and that our time will come. If you have something worth fighting for, you have something worth living for.

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