Battleland

Is The Army Responsible for the Afghan Massacre?

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I. SAMEEM / EPA

Afghan Police and residents stand around a van carrying victims' bodies following an attack by a US soldier near Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Sunday.

Colleague Jim Frederick is asking some tough questions over at the Time Ideas blog:

American and Afghan authorities are scrambling to ensure this tragedy does not derail the planned departure of NATO forces in 2014, and it is smart to keep looking forward, but we must also not flinch from looking back as well: every war crime committed by U.S. forces calls for a reassessment and examination into how the tragedy could have been prevented…let us hope that the military also has the courage, self-confidence and capacity for self-introspection to investigate not just the crime, but the atmosphere—in Army parlance, the “command climate”—in which a crime like this could have taken place.

As the author of the acclaimed Iraq war-crime book Black Hearts, Frederick fears that even if the right questions are asked, they may not be answered.

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