Staff Sgt. Robert Bales: $1 Million in Debt, No Memory of Killings
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales was $1 million in debt and has no memory of the killings. He and his wife had just listed their home for $50k less than they paid. He was on his fourth deployment.
How could his superiors not notice something askew? Was he evaluated or taking medication for depression? Taking the wrong combo of meds? He was recently passed over for promotion -- surely his record contains some concerns.
His background does not match the rosy description portrayed by those he grew up with: [More...]
In 2002, he was accused of assaulting a girlfriend and was required to undergo anger management. In 2008, he was cited for a hit and run accident. But his financial problems were much bigger than his legal issues. Before he enlisted in the Army, he worked as a financial advisor. He was accused of stealing money from clients.
Arbitrators found he'd engaged in fraud, unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments. He was ordered repay more than $1 million. He never did.
It seems like he joined the army to escape the fraud allegations and order to repay.
He was in the army when he got charged with assault. The case wasn't dismissed for factual innocence, but because he agreed to take anger management classes. The police reports of his 2008 hit and run include allegations it was alcohol related:
A police report describes a 2008 hit-and-run accident. Bales admits he rolled his car after colliding with a signpost, but says he fell asleep. Witnesses saw a man running away, bloody and smelling of alcohol. Charges were dismissed after Bales paid a fine.
16 unarmed civilians were massacred in Afghanistan. I'm not buying that Bales is simply a victim of battle-fatigue. Should his mental state not relieve him of complete responsibility, he should be held accountable (Although of course I don't think he should get the death penalty.)
But there should also be an investigation into whether his superiors or doctors disregarded or failed to notice warning signs something was seriously amiss with him. Surely they were aware that he had twice been charged with a crime while in military service. Was there no discipline, no follow-up?
In addition, there should be a big investigation into the Stryker Brigade and its leadership. Bales was in the 3rd Stryker Brigade. It's housed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, as are some other Stryker units.
Several soldiers from the 5th Strkyer Brigade were responsible for past "thrill kill" murders of innocent civilitans in Afghanistan. One of them, Jeremy Morlock, was accused of murdering civilians months apart:
He is accused of killing Afghan civilian Gul Mudin in January with a grenade and rifle; killing civilian Mullah Adahdad in May in a similar manner; and shooting to death Marach Agha in February.
There were warning signs of disfunctionality in the 5th Stryker Brigade. (The 5th Stryker Brigade later become the 2nd Stryker Brigade and then in July, 2010 was inactivated and its members became part of the Brigade's Special Troops Battalion.) More on the 5th Strkyer's deployment to Afhanistan in 2009 here.
Whatever happens to Bales, it seems like the Stryker Brigades should be disbanded.
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