Killing for Sport in Afghanistan

Been meaning to link to this gruesome story:


AT JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WASH. The U.S. soldiers hatched a plan as simple as it was savage: to randomly target and kill an Afghan civilian, and to get away with it. For weeks, according to Army charging documents, rogue members of a platoon from the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, floated the idea. 

Then, one day last winter, a solitary Afghan man approached them in the village of La Mohammed Kalay. The "kill team" activated the plan. One soldier created a ruse that they were under attack, tossing a fragmentary grenade on the ground. Then others opened fire. 

According to charging documents, the unprovoked, fatal attack on Jan. 15 was the start of a months-long shooting spree against Afghan civilians that resulted in some of the grisliest allegations against American soldiers since the U.S. invasion in 2001. Members of the platoon have been charged with dismembering and photographing corpses, as well as hoarding a skull and other human bones.

I'm out of my depth on this--totally out my depth. But this was one of those stories where my guy reaction was, "Why the fuck are we still there?" Not exactly nuanced analysis, I know. But we really should not be surprised. When you're at war for almost a decade, incidents like this are a certainty. You can't clean war.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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