Posted by Bob Lord
So, I’m treating myself to a Sunday morning of reading the Times and my first read was about a blog kept by Sergeant Bales’ wife of all their trials and tribulations. I remarked to Tammy about how it seemed that Bales’ horrific acts may simply have been the product of war injuries, separation from his family, financial struggles, and the horrors of war. In other words, this may be the case of a completely decent human being reaching his breaking point and committing a horrific act.
Then, I saw these pieces: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/us/suspects-deployments-put-focus-on-war-strains.html?_r=1&hp
So, can we continue to deny that in order to accomplish its military objectives, the American empire, run by self-centered plutocrats entirely devoid of social conscience, is recklessly and callously destroying the bodies and brains of its poor and lower middle class “volunteers?”
Undoubtedly, we’ll witness a very public trial, in which prosecutors place criminal blame on Sergeant Bales for his actions and seek either a life sentence or the death penalty. If they succeed, we can all feel better. We can hope the Afghans will be mollified (they won’t be) and we can sweep under the rug the painful truths about military service and its debilitating consequences to the average soldier. By convicting Sergeant Bales, the military may continue to avoid close scrutiny of its health care practices, where diagnoses of service-inflicted injuries and illnesses are systematically minimized so that financial resources can be devoted instead to sophisticated weaponry and officer pay. One pernicious example of this practice is that the preferred diagnosis for vets experiencing behavioral issues in borderline personality disorder. Why? Because BPD is considered non-treatable and, therefore, low cost. The price these vets and their families (and society) pay is that a substantial portion of them end up in the criminal justice system.
It will never happen, but it would be so welcome if Sergeant Bales’ attorney finds a way to use this occasion to put the American empire and the American military on trial for all the abuses that contributed to Sergeant Bales’ actions and so many less noticed actions like it. Somehow, some way, that trial needs to be held. The sooner, the better.