Oh joy. The leftwing rag masquerading as a “rock-n-roll magazine”, squirts out another inflammatory piece on U.S. troops.
Rolling Stone Magazine has published graphic images and unseen videos taken by so called “kill teams” in Afghanistan, or what the Army describes as rouge elements of the 5th Stryker Brigade. In one previously unseen video, Soldiers are shown gunning down two Afghan men as they ride on their motorcycle along an isolated dirt road. An Army spokesman says the video is not new to investigators — instead it’s one of nearly 4000 files the Army collected while looking into these killings. Army investigators only deemed 130 of the files were deemed questionable by investigators.
“The photos published by Rolling Stone are disturbing and in striking contrast to the standards and values of the United States Army,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “Like those published by Der Spiegel, the Army apologizes for the distress these latest photos cause.”As for the motorcycle video, it’s not connected to any of the current criminal charges. “We don’t know if a crime was committed,” Army Spokesman Col. Tom Collins told FOX News. In watching the video, taken on a helmet cam, it’s unclear whether the Afghan men are armed.
The Rolling Stone article pushes the notion that knowledge of the civilian killings spread well beyond the men from the small unit who allegedly pulled the trigger, and that rather than conducting a secretive mission, these men were operating out in the open. Within days of the first killings, the incidents were “on the radar of Army senior leadership,” the Rolling Stone article says.
So far no Army officers have been charged in connection with these crimes, but, the investigation is still ongoing. “I’m not going to speculate where this investigation might go,” Collins said. “It’s not necessarily static to these 12 individuals.”
So far 12 Soldiers have been charged. Last Wednesday Cpl. Jeremy Morlock was sentenced to 24 years in prison after he agreed to testify for the prosecution against Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, the alleged mastermind. Rolling Stone describes him as someone who has been “widely portrayed as a sociopath of Mansonesque proportions.”
The Rolling Stone article also accuses the Army of censorship and massive cover-up in attempt to avoid and Abu Gharib-like scandal. The Army admits it was concerned about how the photos could be perceived- that they could be “inflammatory.” But, Collins said, “censor” is too strong a word. The photos were sealed as part of the investigation, which is standard operating procedure, Collins said.
The leftwingnuts didn’t seem to have many qualms over the bodies of contractors hung on a bridge by their muslim jihadist sidekicks. Or the endless atrocities committed by the Al Qaeda and Taliban in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jann Wenner isn’t known for publishing articles that make the enemy look bad.
Another thing: We killed oodles of “innocent civilians” in Italy, Germany, and the Japanese-held islands in WWII. Should that have prevented us from doing what was necessary to defeat the enemy? Hell no.
Sorry to burst their PC bubble, but people, including civilians, die in war. Our current enemy doesn’t wear identifiable uniforms. They blend in with the population and screech “war crimes!” when you kill them and some non-combatants because they just so happen to be in the same village.
Our Soldiers are saddled with fucked up ROE, while the enemy kills carte blanche. Somehow I just can’t muster up a whole lot of concern over this, especially given the double standards.
UPDATE: Michael Yon has a few thoughts:
The story—not really an “article”—covers Soldiers from 5/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) in Afghanistan. A handful of Soldiers were accused of murder. It does in fact appear that a tiny group of rogues committed premeditated murder. I was embedded with the 5/2 SBCT and was afforded incredible access to the brigade by the Commander, Colonel Harry Tunnell, and the brigade Command Sergeant Major, Robb Prosser. I know Robb from Iraq. Colonel Tunnell had been shot in Iraq.
The brigade gave me open access. I could go anywhere, anytime, so long as I could find a ride, which never was a problem beyond normal combat problems. If they had something to hide, it was limited and I didn’t find it. I was not with the Soldiers accused of murder and had no knowledge of this. It is important to note that the murder allegations were not discovered by media vigilance, but, for instance, by at least one Soldier in that tiny unit who was appalled by the behavior.
A brigade is a big place with thousands of Soldiers, and in Afghanistan they were spread thinly across several provinces because we decided to wage war with too few troops. Those Soldiers accused of being involved in (or who should have been knowledgeable of) the murders could fit into a minivan. You would need ten 747s for the rest of the Brigade who did their duty.
……The online edition of the Rolling Stone story contains a section with a video called “Motorcycle Kill,” which includes our Soldiers gunning down Taliban who were speeding on a motorcycle toward our guys. These Soldiers were also with 5/2 SBCT, far away from the “Kill Team” later accused of the murders. Rolling Stone commits a literary “crime” by deceptively entwining this normal combat video with the Kill Team story. The Taliban on the motorcycle were killed during an intense operation in the Arghandab near Kandahar City. People who have been to the Arghandab realize the extreme danger there. The Soviets got beaten horribly in the Arghandab, despite throwing everything including the Soviet kitchen sink into the battle that lasted over a month. Others fared little better. To my knowledge, 5/2 and supporting units were the first ever to take Arghandab, and these two dead Taliban were part of that process.
The killing of the armed Taliban on the motorcycle was legal and within the rules of engagement. Law and ROE are related but separate matters. In any case, the killing was well within both the law and ROE. The Taliban on the back of the motorcycle raised his rifle to fire at our Soldiers but the rifle did not fire. I talked at length with several of the Soldiers who were there and they gave me the video. There was nothing to hide.
Michael Yon is a former Soldier-turned-journalist who was attached to Army units and blogged dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan. He reported the order of battle and successful campaigns ignored by the media: http://www.michaelyon-online.com/