I am not a lawyer. I was never an MP, and I only took a couple of low-level Psychology classes in college. I’m not remotely qualified to opine on the legal aspects of the events in Panjwej, Afghanistan last week. What is publicly known is that for reasons known only to him, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales left his encampment where he was attached to a Special Forces team, went into the nearby village, and there, by his own admission, killed sixteen people, eleven of whom were from the same family. He did this using his individual weapon, and a knife or bayonet. He wounded six others. At some point during this, he set several of the bodies on fire. He then returned to his camp, where he was questioned about the gunfire by the other Americans there. He apparently admitted having killed several people and then surrendered his weapon and was taken under arrest, at which point he demanded to see an attorney (reports indicate that he had a specific attorney in mind from the get-go) and refused to answer any further questions.
In the days since, we’ve heard various stories about how his personal finances were in difficulty, about how he had multiple combat tours and had been passed over for promotion, that he had a traumatic brain injury, and all sorts of things that people are coming up with to try and explain why he did what he did. A lot of it has a whiff of ‘the other’ to it, as if by discovering some unique personal tragedy or problem for SSG Bales, that the author could show how he is different from us and how this act is unique to Bales and, by implication, people like him. The short version of my response to this is “Bullshit.”
Hundreds of thousands of US Servicemembers have been diagnosed with PTSD. Tens of thousands have been diagnosed with TBI. Tens of thousands have both diagnoses. Only a handful have committed serious crimes, and only one is accused of murdering sixteen civilians in their beds. SSG Bales is, and of right ought to be permitted to put on whatever defense he finds most availing, in a trial that will be as fair as possible. Considering statements made by his lawyer, I believe that it is highly likely he will use some kind of a diminished capacity defense. Personally, I think that TBI and/or PTSD aside, he could very well just be an asshole.
I read a book a long time ago called Alone With the Devil: Famous Cases of a Courtroom Psychiatrist, by Ronald Markman, M.D. The title of the book refers to the fact that the forensic psychiatrist does his interviews with criminals and criminal suspects alone, and that there’s not a whole hell of a lot he can do if the subject decides to attack him. But he also refers, particularly in cases of true mental illness, to the fact that the patient himself is alone with the devil. And last, in discussing some people who “just snap”, he posits that we, all of us, are at some point in our lives, alone with the devil. Markman also cautions us that not everyone who does something really bad is mentally ill. One case he discusses at length concerns a woman who drove her car through a knot of pedestrians in Lake Tahoe, CA, and killed several of them. There was nothing wrong with her, mentally. She was just pissed off at the world, and decided that somebody was going to pay. In my own experience, I am convinced that Markman is right. The line between upstanding citizen and murderer is far thinner than most of us would imagine, or admit to imagining.
One attempt that gets kind of close to the truth of the matter, or as close as we can get with what we currently know, is this piece in the New Yorker, by George Packer.
In a sense, none of these facts matter. It shouldn’t be hard to see the bright line between war fatigue, or P.T.S.D., or whatever name you give it, and hunting down, shooting, and stabbing little children in their homes, and women and men, burning their bodies, and then returning to base and demanding a lawyer.
I am given to the irony that as one of the more prominent cheerleaders for war, Packer himself ought to think about issuing a couple of mea culpas but he doesn’t do so here.
My own feelings about this subject are much more eloquently expressed by Jason Fritz, writing at the Ink Spots blog:
This entire situation is sad – for the Army, for Bales and his family and his unit, and especially for the Afghans who lost loved ones. Let’s keep perspective on that. And let’s not take the easy way out and blame The Man for the actions of a man because it fits your narrative. That’s not justice and it’s irresponsible. Robert Bales is not the victim here – the victims are in Afghanistan.
Isn’t this kind of an indictment all by itself?
From what little I’ve read on PTSD, don’t the people who have it tend to avoid the things that set them off? His actions seem rather well planned and geared toward seeing and participating in volence, not avoiding it.
It’s not a mental issue that I have. But I expect to some degree it’s why my father who served in Viet Nam really really really doesn’t like to talk about it.
I will admit to having some dark thoughts from time to time whenever my current bout of unemployment seems particularly bad. I then remind myself of my lack of debt or children to feed, my loving and supporting girlfriend, my good family and friends, and I reason myself back to realizing how good I have it even if I temporarily am not working.
A lot of people don’t have it as good as I do, and might not have the support of friends or family, and might be drowning in debt, and they have a harder time dealing with these problems, and it drives them over the edge.
At the risk of Godwining this thread, the lesson I’ve always taken away from Nazi Germany is that a nation of educated, sophisticated, enlightened people can be turned into bloodthirsty killers under the right circumstances, so it behooves us all to work as hard as we can to keep ourselves and our country from ever going down that road.
I think I can keep myself from doing it. I worry about this country sometimes, though….
Conservatives believe video games will make people do this, but war won’t. Go fig.
I think you pinpointed something that bothers me about the nature of these cases, where US Armed Services personnel go rogue and attempt or carry out criminal acts – the otherizing. The idea that, because this is someone who has seen horrors we can’t describe, well, fuck it, we can’t stand in judgment of them whatsoever, because we don’t know what we would do in such a situation. Not that I think I (or anyone else) would be a paragon of virtue in combat, but what surprises me is the idea that as long as someone had some kind of psychological or medical excuse for their actions, then it’s okay.
No kidding: It reminds me of that one episode of House, where they discover that the patient has a pheochromocytoma (sp?) that causes him to spontaneously have rage attacks, and one of the doctors chooses to testify at his death penalty appeal. House reminds him that that guy isn’t the only one with the condition, and others have gone on to successful lives while still suffering from that.
I admit I might be a little sensitive to this as a first-year teacher – most of my students seem to think that as long as they had a reason, any reason, to do something, they shouldn’t have to suffer any consequences for what they do – but I see it in other areas of life, as well. It’s not that we shouldn’t have any recognition whatsoever of the fact that those things exist and cause real problems, but that can’t just eliminate the consequences wholesale.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
Hear, hear. Thank you soonergrunt. The real victims are in Afghanistan. And TBI, PTSD or no, what happened is inexcusable.
Of course, I have a certain antipathy toward assholes who try to blame their assholiness on a brain condition. They are not always causally connected. There are seriously ill people who do bad things that they would have done were they well. And there are assholes with disorders who do bad things because they are assholes, not because they have disorders.
It’s a tough distinction to define, but it’s one that is important to those of use in the mental health field. We have tremendous compassion and offer great advocacy for those with brain disorders, some of whom commit crimes as a result of those disorders. But all our work in education and advocacy is undermined by the assholes who try to claim their crime is because of a brain disorder, when it’s really because they are assholes.
@Gian: Nope. Destructive mental patterns repeat themselves until they are resolved, essentially. The situations may look dissimilar, but the triggers and the responses will be much the same.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
A minor version of this is the “abundance” of cases of “self-diagnosed” Asperger’s syndrome or sociopathy by Internet denizens. I think to some degree it’s a meme more than a reality, but occasionally you do come across someone who only wants justification for being an asshole.
Which I think goes back to that whole “as long as there’s a reason for it, there shouldn’t be any consequences!” thing.
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
I knew a guy that wanted out of the army so bad, he shot himself in both legs. He got prosecuted for destruction of government property. I have no idea what made Bales do the murderous things he did. But sometimes, the simple answer is the best. Maybe he just wanted out of things, and couldn’t off himself, so he killed others. His life is set now, no more worries of any kind with the world outside of his prison cell, for a very long time.
I am still not convinced he did this alone.
@General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): But sometimes, the simple answer is the best. Maybe he just wanted out of things, and couldn’t off himself, so he killed others.
Or maybe he’s just a murderous, racist piece of shit who achieved great satisfaction by cutting up living children with a bayonet.
Going with ‘simple’ doesn’t have to smuggle in ‘sympathetic’ too.
I’m not going to try to figure it out until more information comes out. My only thought now is: was it really ‘out of the blue’? I heard a news report that he had suffered a head trauma in combat, and afterwards he instigated some violent incidents, or at least confrontations.
And, he was missing some of one foot from a combat wound (Sounds so odd that he would be in combat after that, can not quite believe I heard it right).
Why was some one with that history back on battle duty?
Part of the problem is the infantile view of mental illness in the US. Because we haven’t developed very sophisticated ways of thinking and speaking about mental illness, when something involving mental illness dominates a few news cycles the reaction is scattershot and the legitimate issues around an event get buried underneath layers of bs. More so than usual, I mean.
(That’s not to say SG’s post is an example of that phenomenon; the opposite, I think).
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Would *not* have done if they were well. Poor typing skills.
This entire situation is sad – for the Army, for Bales and his family and his unit, and especially for the Afghans who lost loved ones.
pretty sad too for the people killed and maimed by the fricken dangerous loon that should be locked up for life.
My grandfather returned from his tours in the Pacific (Iwo Jima, among others) with PTSD. After 3 attempts to kill his family, my grandmother (a nurse, also served in the war, and outranked him) managed to convince the VA doctors to admit him. They gave him a diagnosis of schizophrenia, which was plausible enough at his age, and he spent the bulk of his remaining 20 or so years in the hospital.
They had lived across the street from each other. Her sister married his brother. Everyone recognized that he changed profoundly during the war (as did other siblings that served). War simply breaks some people.
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
Don’t think “sympathetic” was in my comment, and I’m not the least bit sympathetic toward SSG Bales.
IIRC, most serial killers are not mentally ill. When you do get an Ed Gein or a Jeffrey Dahmer, it’s considered pretty unusual.
There’s a pretty interesting book I read years ago by a Canadian sociologist called Hunting Humans where he looks at serial killers and mass murderers. Bales sounds like a fairly typical mass murderer (ie a guy who kills a bunch of people in one go rather than spreading it out over months or years like a serial killer does).
Very nice essay, Soonergrunt.
Once upon a time, I was the ward secretary in a Psych ward. I was the lady who sat behind the desk. I learned a lot from that gig but one of the main lessons was that you can be downright psychotic and still be a good person. Good and bad are not dependent on where you fall on the sane-insane continuum. Being crazy doesn’t make you bad. Being bad makes you bad.
It really is possible to combine awareness of risk factors with lack of forgiveness.
At times I’m crazy enough to think that it would be great to try cutting down on the kinds of factors which lead to horrific incidents, but then apparently a lot of people might think I’d be excusing the behavior of those who engaged in horrors, so I forget about it.
Villago Delenda Est
Apparently, SSG Bales didn’t just have some “financial difficulties”. He has a financial catastrophe on his hands. To the tune of 1.2 million dollars in legal judgements against him for stock fraud.
Marcellus Shale, Public Dick
i know myself well enough to know that there is no way i could be a soldier. i personally require the starkest contrast between “good violence” and “bad violence”. simply as a long term survival strategy, and as best practice, i need to, need to, err on the side of pacifism.
i can’t really judge this man, because i know i would fail to distinguish “enemy combatant” and afghan village. at least in some part or to some degree beyond what i could ever be comfortable with.
just being honest.
Amen. And many of them children.
@General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): No offense intended. But: you led with the guy who shot himself because he wanted out of the army, and then found himself in a rather absurd legal predicament and being treated as ‘property.’ While seemingly nuts, everyone can at least imagine hurting themselves out of desperation. Butchering children, not so much. I find the comparison repugnant.
That said, I’m sincerely not trying to pick a fight. It just brought me up short. This case is the worst of the worst and I don’t find it similar to, or equally as inexplicable as, any other just-so stories. If I came off as strident I apologize.
@Villago Delenda Est: somehow, I’m not surprised.
About the only way one could simplify your statement, Martin, is the simple fact that life breaks some people. It’s really no more complicated than this and it need not be a permanent “break” to lead to one to commit horrendous acts.
@Martin: Yup–war simply breaks some people. Not to go all GGreenwald on you but war broke all those Afghan fighters with suicide bombs at the bases.
Or, maybe not. The Afghan fighters sound a lot more rational and sane than Bales, yet are always presented as deranged haters and epitome of evil.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Villago Delenda Est: Well, perhaps “financial difficulties” is a bit of an understatement for a $1.5M judgment:
Story about NASD arbitration.
FYWP blockquote fail, even with 2 underscores. From top of blockquote to link is from the news story. Fixed–sg
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): So, he’s a job creator?
The military is giving people in combat zones psychoactive drugs. I would like to know if he had been prescribed psychoactive drugs or if he was taking drugs that other people were prescribed. As much as it’s hushed and argued by pharmaceutical companies, many of the drugs can cause homicidal/suicidal rage. No one has really studied the effects of the antipsychotic/neuroleptic/antidepressant combinations often with benzos thrown in that are often given for PTSD (or PTSD is labeled as something else and the troops get dishonorable discharges for “personality disorders” after all the drugs fail or just make their problems worse).
Or he could just be a psychopath. Personally, I would rather he be a psychopath than a person of conscience made crazy by war and drugs. On top of the fact that so many of our soldiers have done three or more tours in combat zones, and the fact that sociopaths in the military and people under their command have a tendency to commit atrocity in war zones anyway. For this reason, and for the sake of troops and civilians both, commanders and other military leaders should be going out of their way to keep strict discipline in the ranks, to move soldiers out of combat after two tours, and to move troops with obvious overwhelming combat stress to non-combat posts or giving them a medical discharge that will allow them to receive veteran’s benefits.
@El Cid: It really is possible to combine awareness of risk factors with lack of forgiveness.
Agree. I think that is what most here are advocating, actually. You’ve just stated it succinctly.
@General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): You know, when some of the first details came out about Bales’ background, that was my thought: this was his way of getting out of life without actually killing himself.
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
Maybe you should calm down and actually read my comment, where I absolutely did not compare the two things.
That is not comparing the two incidents as the same acts, it was stating that people react to breaking points in different ways. And you nor I really know what his motivation was.
Villago Delenda Est
This makes great sense. However, it’s at odds with the brutal reality of the military’s personnel situation. The saying when I was in was “beat an Army mule”. When you have only so many warm bodies available to fill slots in the Table of Organization and Equipment (TO&E) and you’ve got these ongoing deployment orders to fulfill, well, you’re going to send people on more than two combat tours. It’s not like Vietnam, where you had a draft going and fresh bodies were arriving daily. It’s an all volunteer force which is already suffering from loss of competent mid level ranks, lowering of enlistment standards to meet quotas, and combat stress situations that can no longer be ignored.
The only real solution to this problem is to GET THE FUCK OUT OF AFGHANISTAN.
Yes, I’m yelling. Again.
Here are their names:
@General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): Maybe he just wanted out of things
Really? Just stop.
I don’t pretend to know Sgt. Bales state of mind or his motivation at the time. I do know this from personal experience; there is such a thing as a “pyscotic break”. In the case I was involved in, a 30 something letter carrier, working in the office one morning started saying some really strange things. When he would not respond to his supervisor, she became alarmed and called the Sheriff’s office. When the Sheriff Deputies arrived, they tried to talk to him, only to get some very strange and hostile responses. When they attempted to take him outside, he went beserk, seriously injuring one deputy. It took four deputies to subdue him.
What happend? We never found out. The guy was hospitalized, treated with medication, and eventually returned to work by an Arbitrator. He never had a problem after that, although he was on medication for a long period of time. The mind is a funny thing, and based on my interaction with this man, I became convinced that ordinary people can just “snap”.
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
Sorry if it doesn’t match your narrative of crazed racist soldier. Or whatever the political spin you are aiming for.
And I have no reason “to stop”, nor inclination.
@feebog: I see what you mean, but your coworker didn’t stop his actions, become physically non-hostile and then ask for a lawyer.
If SSG Bales was psychotic, it was the cleanest, and easiest reversed psychotic break I’ve ever heard of.
Amanda in the South Bay
Peregrinus-I’ve had situations like that IRL, where I got taken advantage of by people I thought were my friends, and blamed their shitty attitude on Autistic Spectrum shut. Self diagnosed geeks who literally pissed away several thousands of my hard earned gi bill housing allowance on drugs.
When reflecting on things like this, I struggle to frame the distinction between objective mental disorder and choice/responsibility. What can it mean to say that a woman who drives a car through a crowd of strangers had “nothing wrong with her mentally”?
I think it’s basically the difference between someone who has a curable problem and someone who’s a sociopath. Someone who drives through a crowd of strangers because she thinks she saw Satan in the middle of the crowd can be helped with therapy and medication.
Someone who drives through a crowd of strangers because, fuck it, why not? can pretty much only be locked away for the safety of others, because that person is never going to understand why gratifying her impulse was wrong.
I just cannot comprehend how one person could, possibly have carried out this horrendous attack.
@General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): Sorry if it doesn’t match your narrative of crazed racist soldier. Or whatever the political spin you are aiming for.
Let me spell it out: Bales and your apocryphal autobilateral aren’t a coupla guys who ‘just wanted out.’ Putting them in the same paragraph devalues Bales’ victims. Wasn’t that the OP’s point to begin with?
And yes, he is ‘crazed,’ no matter how casual his butchery, and no matter how mopey his sad over having to pay up for past criminality. That he may also be legitimately ill doesn’t make him sorta-kinda-like-maybe-not some other dude who “reacted differently” (?) to a totally different situation.
When you have access to really powerful guns and other assorted deadly weapons, it’s not very difficult, unfortunately. Here in the States, a lone gunman was able to kill 32 people at Virginia Tech, and that was in broad daylight, not at night when people were asleep in their beds.
If you’re saying you don’t comprehend the kind of person who would walk into a village in the middle of the night and start randomly murdering people, I’m with you.
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
Who made you the goddam moral arbiter of BJ commentary section. You have to be a very dim bulb, firstly, that I was being sympathetic, or somehow devaluing the victims in any way with my comment. You are willfully misreading/misinterpreting my comment to get some morally superior poutrage on. I did not compare the two instances in any way, as some kind of moral or legal equivalence.
Spree killers, and their murderous episodes have a close link with perps that are also suicidal. They often do kill themselves, but sometimes they don’t. And the purpose of this thread was to examine, explore, and speculate what could be behind this tragedy. But you hold up your hand with certitude that he is a murdering racist, based on what? Certainly not any of the reports I’ve read, that he was , or had been a decent person and a model soldier. If there is any evidence of past racist behavior, then cough it up. Otherwise, you are just talking out your ass. Now go GFY, and tell some more lies.
Mnemosyne, I can see the powerful weapons part etc, but the piling bodies and burning them, without interruption, uh-uh? And sorry to say the govt/army has lied about so many other atrocities, having trouble believing this one too.
@General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): But you hold up your hand with certitude that he is a murdering racist, based on what?
“Certitude” =/= “maybe”, as in:
That said, I say without doubt that he is murderous and crazed. His victims testify.
Certainly not any of the reports I’ve read, that he was , or had been a decent person and a model soldier.
Many decent people are racists. Even model soldiers. Hypothesis: he killed those children because they were the “other” and nonhuman to him.
But you may be right. Perhaps he thought they were perfect, completely ordinary children, not subhuman at all. How very comforting that would be.
@rb: Meant to say: he was able to kill those children because they were nonhuman to him. I do not believe their “otherness” was the actual reason for his rampage, but I believe and hope it was a necessary precondition.
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
You are a fucking clown
I think the SF connection is an interesting detail that is glossed over. I’ve noticed, anecdotal, that RA Soldiers attached to SF units tend to lose discipline because they try and emulate the SOF guys. They only see the laxness as a perk.
in a way, Bales was the archetype of all America… two foreclosures, a failing marriage, sketchy investment dealing, four tours in a forever war that everyone knows America is losing.
i think you nailed it sooner……Bales was pissed off and someone had to pay.
Bales was a susceptible, like the Afghan Kill Squad and the Iraqi Rape Squad.
We are all capable of doing things that would shock many of us. Most humans don’t do these things because we are conditioned not to. Most of us won’t kill for example, at least not unless our lives or loved ones are directly threatened, some not even then. But most of us can be trained to take a life. We for the most part have to be trained to think doing so is OK with society. And some of us will slip over that edge with little provocation. But we are all capable, even if we think we aren’t. All it takes is rationalizing the need to go outside of societies norms. Most of us won’t do that because we know the end result isn’t worth it in the end.
To excuse Bales is to diminish him as a rational human being capable of choice. I respect him enough that I hope he gets the needle he deserves for the evil he has done.
I wouldn’t go buying the official Pentagon story on this so easily. Many witnesses on the ground insist on their kid’s graves that there were multiple US soldiers involved in the massacre. So to believe the official version of events, you have to believe all those witnesses lying, exaggerating, or have distorted recall. But those Afghans are all a bunch of liars, after all, right?
Reportedly Bales has “no memory” of the attack he supposedly participated in in. No doubt he is messed up. So messed up a more perfect patsy could not be hired. He’s supposed to have attacked two villages on foot in a ridiculously short amount of time. He’s supposed to have gone on this extended rampage while Afghans, who keep their own small arms for self-defense, just allowed him to go on. I guess he just turns into Rambo when he gets drunk, right?
How dare you doubt the government story on something!
What are you? A CONSPIRACY THEORIST?!!!!!!
Correction: only one IS BEING INVESTIGATED FOR murdering civilians. Apparently killing people face-to-face makes the brass squeamish, so we have drones and warplanes instead:
@Villago Delenda Est: to an elderly Ohio couple; a court judgment for which he seems to have avoided responsibility for taking their life savings in stock fraud.
I think Americans have a problem in distinguishing between people who feel “normally” priviledged to be Americans and people who are so narcissistic that it pushes them into sociopathy. Part of this is because there is a very fine distinction between these two things. The rest of the world considers us narcissistic to the point of sociopathy.
My father was a reluctant soldier in WWII and was one of the first 150 American POWs. He said War either makes you more Human or less Human. His stories were real parables to illustrate it.
There is more than enough physiological understanding compiled about soldiers in the armed forces to do a much better job selecting individuals to induct.
But because national corporatist war is what it is, warm bodies that can be persuaded to kill are really all that is needed.
Until the Peace Corps carries more honor than armed combat, the American culture shields, and even cultivates, our citizens’ worst human traits.
@gnomedad: By that, he meant that she suffered from no mental disease or defect, such as schizophrenia, that compromised her ability to know right from wrong, or to appreciate that her actions might be illegal. She ran over those people because she was pissed off about her life, she was in a car, and they were standing there. Not because she believed them to be space aliens or that Jesus was telling her to do this through the neighbor’s dog.
@Cassidy: I would agree with that observation. But those same RAs don’t have the SF mindset to go with the chilled out attitude.
Packer – while acknowledging the war has been an utter waste in all dimensions – pathetically bleats “What else could we have done after 9/11?”
These assholes never learn.
Actually, he has never admitted to anything of the sort. He says he does not remember the events of that night. He remembers a little bit before leaving the base, and has partial memory of after he returned, but only knows what he did off base because others have told him he did it.
@Bill H.: He says that now. At the time that he surrendered, when asked if he knew anything about it, he said “I did it.”
@Jason: the Afghans believe this was one of the standard night raids gone bad, and Bales is taking the fall for his squad.
Uncivil Defense | My Ready Room
[…] There will be, and SHOULD be, queries regarding the circumstances surrounding this incident. But the larger point is still true: if PTSD/TBI is going to be used… […]
“I am still not convinced he did this alone.”
Based on what evidence?
@burnspbesq: the Afghans think he didnt act alone. and they were like….. there.
for one thing, the two houses were more than a mile apart.
@samara morgan: An in shape Soldier can cover a mile in 10-15 minutes.
@Ben Cisco: If American soldiers have PTSD what do Afghans have after 40 years of war?
@Cassidy: but why? if he was having a psychotic break wouldnt he just go to the closest house?
The night raids featured simultaneous hits on multiple villages that the raiders had intel on.
the two houses were in different villages.
Attempting to burn bodies looks like an aborted attempt at a coverup– rational behavior.
its what the Iraqi Rape Squad did.
im just giving the Afghan POV. i have no idea if he acted alone or not. but i somehow doubt there is a CSI team looking for evidence of multiple shooters.
Soonergrunt: this looks like a really interesting thread. Bookmarked it for reading a little later.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
This is an important point. The coworker of feebog, in that story, represents a pretty common appearance of a psychotic break. And it was alleviated with medical treatment, that was probably of lengthy (lifetime) duration, at least in terms of medication.
The reported story of SSG Bales is of behavior that is entirely too organized to be likely to be an actual psychotic break. The reported scenario simply is not how psychotic breaks present, as Soonergrunt aptly noted.
@samara morgan: Maybe, maybe not. Someone in the middle of psychosis can still act with precision. I don’t think he had a psychotic break, personally.
@Cassidy: so you are saying Bales had (or thought he had) intel on two different residences in two different villages?
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): true. attempting to burn the bodies to coverup evidence is organized behavior.
@samara morgan: You make very illogical leaps. You’re so interested in playing “gotcha” that you avoid a normal conversation.
I have my own personal opinions about SSG Bales that have nothing to do with any “intel” or raids, etc. But, they are nothing but speculation.
Paul in KY
@burnspbesq: Statements by Afgani villagers.
Paul in KY
@samara morgan: I think he wanted to kill a bunch of Afganis, based on his animus towards them.
Exactly what that animus was, all Afganis or those specifically, we will hopefully find out.
@Cassidy: no, im repeating Afghani speculation. and im perfectly logical. the Afghans believe it was a routine night-raid that went sour and Bales is covering. they have logical reasons for that.
Sarah Palin, is that you?
Maybe I am misremembering, but I thought the initial reports were that he was drunk at the time of the shootings? If so, that certainly factors into the analysis.
@Paul in KY: why burn the bodies then? because he hated them?
…or there is a pact amongst those that did it and he was the one chosen to “confess”
sooner, excellent title and post.
you have really grown as a frontpager.
Paul in KY
@samara morgan: That, and probably trying to hide evidence. He’s seen what others were able to get away with.
@Paul in KY: well, do people in the grip of psychosis hide evidence?
ahh yes, the 101st Iraqi Rape Squad. They would have gotten away with it if not for the Menchaca-Tucker rape-mutilation video.
well, i guess Menchaca and Tucker didnt get away with it.
@samara morgan: Don’t let me stop you from making shit up and making wild leaps of bad logic.
@Cassidy: link where i made shit up………sarah.
@eemom: Only in as much as it would be another charge to add to the list.
His lawyer has also refuted claims he was drinking.
I must admit to some distress that no one, especially you, has attempted to guess the musical reference in the title.
@samara morgan: Why, thank you.
@Soonergrunt: Sympathy for the Devil. I’ve had “hoo hoo” repeating in my head while reading these comments.
Paul in KY
@samara morgan: I don’t think he was in the ‘grip of pyschosis’.
I think he’s a murdering SOB.
Paul in KY
@Soonergrunt: I think we all realize it is a portion of a line from ‘Sympathy for the Devil’.
@Soonergrunt: I recognized exactly what song it was, and the meaning of the lyric seemed clear, but until I read the words “Sympathy for the Devil” I didn’t really consider exactly how appropriate a choice it was.
Nicely done. And let me echo the comment above about the contributions you’re making to the front page.
@Cassidy: so? thats what i heard.
thats what you said.
why two different villages?
Have you looked at his financial misdeeds and the miscellaneous charges for DWI and assault; if there’s anything wrong with him, it’s that he’s a psychopath and went into the Army because he gets a thrill from killing people
Honestly I believe that the other descriptions of him as a “people person” corroborate my shitty armchair telepathic diagnosis
A psychotic break on the other hand seems pretty goddamned unlikely considering what he did afterwards
Also what the fuck Charlie Pierce getting mad over people calling this a “spree”, he sure doesn’t know much for a fucking reporter, that’s just a term that’s used to differentiate killing a whole bunch of people at once from serial killings, because the two have completely different profiles
He even gave Jeffrey Dahmer as an example saying Bales was just like him and that’s why this isn’t a spree, which is completely fucking wrong on pretty much every level