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Michael Yon: The Panjwai 16 The murders in Afghanistan were all too predictable Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Gertie Keddle 

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  Posted 15 March 2012 - 02:11 PM

The Panjwai 16
The murders in Afghanistan were all too predictable


By Michael Yon / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 4:37 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 4:37 AM
Excerpt:

The mass murder in Afghanistan was predictable. Twice in the past three weeks, I published that it was coming. Why was I able to write this with sad confidence? I’ve spent more time with combat troops in these wars than any other writer: about four years in total in country, and three with combat troops.

About 200 coalition members have been killed or wounded from insider attacks. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is tantamount to being Taliban and has not bothered to apologize. Instead, Karzai whips up anti-U.S. fervor at every opportunity. Twice, Karzai has threatened to leave politics and join the Taliban.

Even our most disciplined troops — not the few problem troops — have lost all idealism. They have not lost heart for the fight. Mostly, they just don’t care. They fight because they are ordered to fight, but they have eyes wide open. The halfhearted surge and sudden drawdown leave little room for success.

We face a discipline collapse. The bulk of our force is solid — then there’s a small fraction, probably a sliver of a percent, who might be crushed by the pressure.

On Feb. 24, I published

: “As the prevalence of insider attacks rises, and we lose more troops to Afghan troops going berserk and murdering our people, it’s likely just a matter of time before a U.S. troop or troops turn the table and intentionally slaughter Afghan forces.

“That could lead to a meltdown. We are at risk of losing control of more than some people might imagine. There is only so much that U.S. forces will put up with before fringe U.S. combat troops start taking matters into their own hands. Believe me.”


The next day, I published, “If things keep going this way, my expectation is that it’s a matter of time before discipline breaks and the gun turns.”

I’ve seen a few men on our side precariously close to the edge. In fact, my official embed status was ended by the Army in August 2011 after I wrote about issues with three soldiers.

I was accused of saying there were issues because I was disembedded. Yet the written trail and chronology is clear: I publicized discipline problems, then the Army circled the wagons and I was shown the door.

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#2 User is offline   Buckwheat Jones 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 02:54 PM

This will probably never go away. They should have just thrown the guy over the fence and let the locals deal with him.
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#3 User is offline   De Oppresso Liber 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 03:13 PM

View PostBuckwheat Jones, on 15 March 2012 - 02:54 PM, said:

This will probably never go away. They should have just thrown the guy over the fence and let the locals deal with him.



So your answer is to give him to the very people that brought him to that point?
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#4 User is offline   Buckwheat Jones 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:06 PM

View PostDe Oppresso Liber, on 15 March 2012 - 03:13 PM, said:

So your answer is to give him to the very people that brought him to that point?

Well, it's more likely a statement borne of frustration. But if this guy did go out on his own and shoot up a bunch of women and kids, and if these women and kids were not doing anything except living their lives and minding their business, then I don't have any more sympathy for this guy than I would if he'd shot up a school yard full of kids over here.

This a$$hole may have just undone anything positive we've accomplished over there in the last couple of years. Not to mention putting a lot of allied service people in danger. I have a friend who is skyping an AF guy at Bagram every day and he says they are prohibited from going out to work with their Afghan trainees periodically, depending on what is going on in town.

I think he did a couple of tours in Iraq, and this was his first in Afghanistan. Only been there a couple of months. The army told him he would not have to redeploy, and then they went and sent him anyway so it's probably not the Afghans who pushed him to that point. Look to the army.

Anyway, no trial anywhere is going to satisfy these people. Throw him over the fence, and they probably wouldn't be happy or satisfied either. I'm not sure what the answer is, but if I look at him not as a member of the military who has just f*cked over everybody and see him only as a kid killer, then I would have no problem offering him up as dog food to the locals.
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#5 User is online   Adam Smithee 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:36 PM

View PostBuckwheat Jones, on 15 March 2012 - 02:54 PM, said:

This will probably never go away. They should have just thrown the guy over the fence and let the locals deal with him.

View PostDe Oppresso Liber, on 15 March 2012 - 03:13 PM, said:

So your answer is to give him to the very people that brought him to that point?


I agree that he should be turned over to the locals. There is well-established precedent for that, when a soldier commits a crime against locals entirely on his own.

As for "Bringing him to the point" ? The majority of the blame for that lies solidy withpiss poor command-and-control for which, as Harry truman once said, the buck stops at the oval office.

Two things should happen:

A ) Turn the perp over to the locals. It's what would happen if a US soldier committed a crime against a local in any other posting, no reason it shouldn't happen here.

B ) Court martial the senior NCO and/or the Division Officer for "Dereliction of Duty". Leadership means only knowing how to bark orders but also means being reponsible for your people and taking care of them. His immediate leaders failed, plain and simple. Stripes and commissions should be lost over this.
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#6 User is offline   Buckwheat Jones 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:42 PM

View PostAdam Smithee, on 15 March 2012 - 04:36 PM, said:

I agree that he should be turned over to the locals. There is well-established precedent for that, when a soldier commits a crime against locals entirely on his own.

As for "Bringing him to the point" ? The majority of the blame for that lies solidy withpiss poor command-and-control for which, as Harry truman once said, the buck stops at the oval office.

Two things should happen:

A ) Turn the perp over to the locals. It's what would happen if a US soldier committed a crime against a local in any other posting, no reason it shouldn't happen here.

B ) Court martial the senior NCO and/or the Division Officer for "Dereliction of Duty". Leadership means only knowing how to bark orders but also means being reponsible for your people and taking care of them. His immediate leaders failed, plain and simple. Stripes and commissions should be lost over this.


Well, any way you cut it this will be a mess. He's already gotten himself some lawyer from Seattle so I'm sure he'll be found a victim of temporary insanity after about 6 years of preliminaries and motions and trials and appeals. I'm sure the locals will be satisfied with that.
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#7 User is online   Mr. E. Monkey 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:47 PM

View PostAdam Smithee, on 15 March 2012 - 04:36 PM, said:

I agree that he should be turned over to the locals. There is well-established precedent for that, when a soldier commits a crime against locals entirely on his own.

That'd be a violation of SOFA. Not to mention every bit of cold-blooded murder that this Soldier is accused of.
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#8 User is online   Mr. E. Monkey 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:50 PM

View PostBuckwheat Jones, on 15 March 2012 - 04:42 PM, said:

Well, any way you cut it this will be a mess. He's already gotten himself some lawyer from Seattle so I'm sure he'll be found a victim of temporary insanity after about 6 years of preliminaries and motions and trials and appeals. I'm sure the locals will be satisfied with that.

With all due respect, :censored: the locals. He should be tried, but under UCMJ. I know lots of folks around here like to say that we shouldn't do horrible things to the people, "we're the good guys," right? Or does that not apply to our own people?
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#9 User is offline   De Oppresso Liber 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:20 PM

View PostMr. E. Monkey, on 15 March 2012 - 05:50 PM, said:

With all due respect, :censored: the locals. He should be tried, but under UCMJ. I know lots of folks around here like to say that we shouldn't do horrible things to the people, "we're the good guys," right? Or does that not apply to our own people?



Word.
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#10 User is online   Adam Smithee 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:46 PM

View PostMr. E. Monkey, on 15 March 2012 - 05:47 PM, said:

That'd be a violation of SOFA. Not to mention every bit of cold-blooded murder that this Soldier is accused of.


The SOFA only probits local prosecution if a soldier is accused of having commited a crime as part of his assigned duties.

An agreement exists regarding the status of military and civilian personnel of the U.S. Department of Defense present in Afghanistan in connection with cooperative efforts in response to terrorism, humanitarian and civic assistance, military training and exercises, and other activities. Such personnel are to be accorded “a status equivalent to that accorded to the administrative and technical staff” of the U.S. Embassy under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. Accordingly, U.S. personnel are immune from criminal prosecution by Afghan authorities, and are immune from civil and administrative jurisdiction except with respect to acts performed outside the course of their duties.


See Particularly http://www.fas.org/s...sec/RL34531.pdf , page 8, second paragraph
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#11 User is online   pict 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:25 PM

Well then, I see the armchair warriors and barrack room lawyers are putting in their two cents once again.

As a reminder, the man in question is an NCO and an eleven year vet. He was on his fourth deployment and was wounded in 2010 and was in a combat unit. He's a married man with two kids. You know, sometimes I wonder why I, as a former officer of the British armed forces have to remind American citizens to pull their fingers out of their arses.
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#12 User is online   Mr. E. Monkey 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:30 PM

View PostAdam Smithee, on 15 March 2012 - 08:46 PM, said:

The SOFA only probits local prosecution if a soldier is accused of having commited a crime as part of his assigned duties.

An agreement exists regarding the status of military and civilian personnel of the U.S. Department of Defense present in Afghanistan in connection with cooperative efforts in response to terrorism, humanitarian and civic assistance, military training and exercises, and other activities. Such personnel are to be accorded “a status equivalent to that accorded to the administrative and technical staff” of the U.S. Embassy under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. Accordingly, U.S. personnel are immune from criminal prosecution by Afghan authorities, and are immune from civil and administrative jurisdiction except with respect to acts performed outside the course of their duties.


See Particularly http://www.fas.org/s...sec/RL34531.pdf , page 8, second paragraph

Suffice it to say, that decision won't be made by armchair warriors online. And I still maintain that turning over a US citizen to any semblance of a criminal trial by what passes for a government in Afghanistan is every bit the cold-blooded murder this NCO is accused of.
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#13 User is offline   Jeffersonfan 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:35 PM

Irony of it is that the Taliban kills more than 16 civilians on a regular basis. In fact, right after he posted the "Panjwai 16" story, Yon posted this:

===============
Got this message from former Marine Tim Lynch, in Afghanistan. Tim's not always polite, but he's a former infantry officer and I listen to him very closely:

"The Taliban killed 13 women and children today with an IED in Uruzgan and I think they got 8 yesterday - but that's all cool here because they're the Taliban and we're the big fat retarded kid on the block who gets bullied everyday but still shows up to fork over even more lunch money while assuming at some point everyone will like us because we're so xxxxx generous."


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#14 User is offline   Willik 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:18 AM

Do any of you old timers remember these names: "William Calley" and "My Lai?"

Frustration with MACV command in Saigon, the non-caring, ticket punching Pentagon generals, along with the locals killing ours at night, all the while palling around with happy faces during the day had reached their peaks and one lowly LT and his troops went on a rampage with an attitude of: "Kill 'em all; let God sort 'em out!"

Substitute "Kabul" for "Saigon" (unfortunately the Puzzle Palace attitude of the ticket punching armchair generals haven't changed, only the names) and "Allah" for "God" you have the same formula for some poor leg, Marine or GI, to go bananas and start shooting the place up.

A lot of stars and the SECDEF are apparently afraid of a high level "fragging" since all the greeting troops were disarmed before Secretary Panetta arrived for a visit yesterday.

Recommend for those you haven't read "Starship Troopers" (Don't rely on the 'movies' as they had NO relation to the books other than the name) please do so. Early on, it gives a history lesson on how the US abandoned its armies during a war in the middle east and were left to make their own ways home.

Was Mr. Heinlein THAT prescient? I truly hope not.



Willik's :2cents:
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#15 User is offline   Buckwheat Jones 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:38 AM

View Postpict, on 15 March 2012 - 10:25 PM, said:

Well then, I see the armchair warriors and barrack room lawyers are putting in their two cents once again.

As a reminder, the man in question is an NCO and an eleven year vet. He was on his fourth deployment and was wounded in 2010 and was in a combat unit. He's a married man with two kids. You know, sometimes I wonder why I, as a former officer of the British armed forces have to remind American citizens to pull their fingers out of their arses.

Who's that directed to?
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#16 User is offline   Buckwheat Jones 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:41 AM

View PostDe Oppresso Liber, on 15 March 2012 - 08:20 PM, said:

Word.

Ok, so he gets tried here and goes to prison for life. Sort of a temporary insanity thing? Does the military still perform executions? Just curious.
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#17 User is online   SARGE 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:53 AM

View PostWillik, on 16 March 2012 - 07:18 AM, said:

Do any of you old timers remember these names: "William Calley" and "My Lai?"




Yes, I do.

Today is the 44th 'anniversary" of the massacre.
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#18 User is offline   USNRETWIFE 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:02 AM

View Postpict, on 15 March 2012 - 10:25 PM, said:

Well then, I see the armchair warriors and barrack room lawyers are putting in their two cents once again.

As a reminder, the man in question is an NCO and an eleven year vet. He was on his fourth deployment and was wounded in 2010 and was in a combat unit. He's a married man with two kids. You know, sometimes I wonder why I, as a former officer of the British armed forces have to remind American citizens to pull their fingers out of their arses.

Reactions like what I'm seeing on this board, before everything is known, is another reason I tried, unsuccessfully, to talk my grandson out of joining the Army. I don't know what happened or why this soldier did this. To throw him to the savages before all is known isn't any better than those savages. No, I don't expect my grandson to go nuts and start shooting up people. But I'm sure this soldier's family didn't expect it either. But for the so called conservatives to turn on this soldier before all is known, and then point fingers at the libs for not supporting our troops is hypocritical. So, who here will be the first to spit on a returning soldier?

My nephew is in Afghanistan now, and I worry about him every day. I realize this makes things much worse for our men and women over there. It is time to get them out of there. Our arm chair generals put them in life threatening situations under laughable ROE and what I suspect is a Muslim CinC, and our citizens back home are yelling to throw him to the wolves.

I come from a long line of military men, and my husband's family is the same. And as proud as I am of every military family member, past and present, I would never recommend the armed forces to anyone now, without the support of the population, even the ones the services used to be able to count on. It has always been a thankless career, now it is even more so. And it makes me ashamed of the American people.
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#19 User is offline   Buckwheat Jones 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:36 AM

View PostUSNRETWIFE, on 16 March 2012 - 10:02 AM, said:

Reactions like what I'm seeing on this board, before everything is known, is another reason I tried, unsuccessfully, to talk my grandson out of joining the Army. I don't know what happened or why this soldier did this. To throw him to the savages before all is known isn't any better than those savages. No, I don't expect my grandson to go nuts and start shooting up people. But I'm sure this soldier's family didn't expect it either. But for the so called conservatives to turn on this soldier before all is known, and then point fingers at the libs for not supporting our troops is hypocritical. So, who here will be the first to spit on a returning soldier?

My nephew is in Afghanistan now, and I worry about him every day. I realize this makes things much worse for our men and women over there. It is time to get them out of there. Our arm chair generals put them in life threatening situations under laughable ROE and what I suspect is a Muslim CinC, and our citizens back home are yelling to throw him to the wolves.

I come from a long line of military men, and my husband's family is the same. And as proud as I am of every military family member, past and present, I would never recommend the armed forces to anyone now, without the support of the population, even the ones the services used to be able to count on. It has always been a thankless career, now it is even more so. And it makes me ashamed of the American people.

You know, I'm frustrated. The mission over there is bigger than any one man and this guy has just done a lot of damage to it. I don't care how many years of service he has, he has just cost us all. You're right. We don't know what happened, and I'll reserve final judgment until we do. But if it turns out to be a case where some guy went nuts and shot up a bunch of kids who were doing nothing but doing what kids do, then I don't care if they throw him to the "wolves" over there or give him the needle over here.

Maybe this guy had some special insight that these 16 women and kids were actually building bombs and took it upon himself to go kill them instead of alerting his superiors, but that just doesn't seem very likely. If he just got pissed off and felt like shooting a bunch of people to let off steam, well, I'm not going to stand behind someone like that. I've been on here for over 10 years in support of our service people in the middle east, so don't be ashamed on my account.
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#20 User is offline   De Oppresso Liber 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:54 AM

View PostBuckwheat Jones, on 16 March 2012 - 09:41 AM, said:

Ok, so he gets tried here and goes to prison for life. Sort of a temporary insanity thing? Does the military still perform executions? Just curious.



You said a key word here yourself: Tried.

That would not happen if he was handed over. He would simply be killed. That stands against everything we represent.

Yes, I imagine there is still a death penalty in the UCMJ, but I do not believe it is used but rarely.
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