A recent writer to this paper said that Sgt. Bales, alleged perpetrator of a horrendous crime in Afghanistan, should have been turned over to the Afghans.
This would have led to an immediate lynching, or worse.
American soldiers have the same right to “presumption of innocence” as do civilians. It is only when combat has ended and a “Status of Forces” agreement has been reached with the host country, that servicemen accused of a crime have been turned over to them. I am certain that Sgt. Bales will be tried by military court martial and, if convicted, will be appropriately punished.
Sgt. Bales had served three previous combat tours in Iraq and is said to have suffered a brain injury as a result of a roadside bomb. Perhaps the guilty ones are those who allowed him to be sent on a fourth combat tour. Seeing one’s friends and comrades blown apart can have strange results to otherwise healthy soldiers.
As a 21-year veteran, I am thoroughly familiar with the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Both the Articles of War and the UCMJ have served us well to maintain good order and discipline in our military during the last century and this one.
The UCMJ has stood the test, and I expect justice will be served in Bales’ case. Let us not resort to lynching.