38-year-old US Staff Sgt Robert Bales is the "rogue" US solider accused of the murder of 16 civilians in Afghanistan. In recent days the media has reported that Bales was under financial pressures as well as many more serious concerns.
Today his lawyer John Henry Browne has said that the state of Bales finances is irrelevant to the case. Whilst that may strictly be true perhaps painting a picture of the man and his problems was felt to be useful.
Bales was a stockbroker prior to entering the army. At least on source online has carried details or an alleged fraud carried out by him.
However Browne has today, March 21, 2012, gone much further. According to the BBC he has said that "there was "no forensic evidence" against Staff Sgt Robert Bales and "no confession"". Browne went on to say "We've all heard the allegations. I don't know that the government has proved much." Bales is currently being held in a detention centre in the US.
This case raises many concerns and will not be easily resolved. The US authorities must surely be anxious to show that justice has been served. They will not want to antagonise the Afghan people nor inflame further a sensitive situation. However simply sending Bales like a lamb to the slaughter without due trial and evidence is not the right course of action either.
What many people around the world will be looking for is justice. The World will watch just how the US handles this case. In the past the US has shown it has a poor record in such matters. We have time and time again read or seen reports of US soldiers behaving in a way detrimental to the Army, their country and the place where they are serving. Many times those responsible have received little by way of sentencing. It has a times been almost like a slap on the wrist and no more. This time though should and must be different.
In January video footage of US Marines urinating on dead Afghans cause an outcry. As yet we know nothing of what happened to the culprits in this case.
Early in March the thoughtless burning of copies of the Koran led to deaths on both the sides, that is the military and civilians.
Isolated incidents? Hardly when you look back over the US military history. Bear in mind too that NATO forces are not in Afghanistan as a fighting force in a whole scale war such as the Second World War.
The latest massacre has incited the Middle Eastern region. A few days ago Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces for Cultural Affairs and Defense Publicity Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri went on air with their thoughts on the current situation. As you would expect it was extreme but still worth noting. "The Americans should know that the Afghan nation, especially the pious youths of this country, is tired of the occupiers and the damaging ramifications of the illegitimate presence of this unwelcome guest," "US soldiers must experience the bitter taste of retaliation so that they do not feel peace and security anywhere in the region."
Yes hate breeds hate. Murder in such a way breeds a fresh generation of terrorists and people with an axe to grind. And so the killing will go on. Remind me again of why the West went into Afghanistan? Maybe more importantly remind me why we are still there? That is if you can.