An American soldier wandered outside his base in a remote southern Afghan village shortly before dawn Sunday and allegedly opened fire on civilians inside homes, killing at least 16, Afghan and U.S. officials said.
From around the web:
If this is true, this will make the Koran burnings look like an Occupy protest. Atrocities happen in every war even if they aren’t policy, but they can inflame the populace and make it impossible to constrain them. That may happen even if the shooter turns out to be someone else, a possibility that looks fairly unlikely at the moment anyway...
Predictably, the Taliban have jumped all over this incident to score a propaganda coup, calling the killings "genocide" and claiming it was an intentional act by US troops and backed by the Afghan National Army.Phineas at Sister Toldjah:
These are first reports and we can expect some part of them to turn out wrong, of course, but one has to wonder why a soldier who had “suffered a breakdown” was still in Afghanistan or even allowed a weapon.Michael Yon:
Regardless, while doing all it can to quell the almost-inevitable furor, the Administration should resist any demands to turn him over to Afghan authorities for “justice.” He should be tried and, if found guilty, punished as dictated by Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The Jawa Report:
10 Years slogging along there pretending that "Afghanistan can win." is hard on soldiers. But I don't think we should do as Michael Yon says and " pull out our main battle force."
No not quite. We should prosecute this man. But those who might show up to take arms against us are no friends of ours for the most part. They are enemies of the United States. Doesn't really matter how they got that way? We should protect our forces by reinforcing our "main battle force" and take some time to let the enemies of the United States die in lawful warfare.
Newt says it's time to get out:
"I reached a conclusion frankly about the entire region that is much more pessimistic than Washington's official position," Gingrich said on Fox News Sunday. "I think it's going to get substantially worse, not better. And I think that we are risking of young men and women in a mission that may frankly not be doable."
I am deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering. This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan. I fully support Secretary Panetta’s and General Allen’s commitment to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible.
More at Fox News and BBC. Aggregation at Memeorandum.
Updates to follow.
Remember, there is much we do not know yet.
Photo: REUTERS/Ahmad Nadeem