Posts Tagged 'kill team'

More “Kill Team” Mementos From the Front Lines

Photo: Rolling Stone

If Der Spiegel’s photos last week weren’t enough of a taste of the twisted stuff that went on with the “Kill Team” soldiers, Rolling Stone has just published 15 more. In the accompanying article, writer Mark Boal details how two soldiers, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock and Pfc. Andrew Holmes, threw a grenade at, and then opened fire on, a teenage Afghan boy for the pure fun of it.

Then, in a break with protocol, the soldiers began taking photographs of themselves celebrating their kill. Holding a cigarette rakishly in one hand, Holmes posed for the camera with Mudin’s bloody and half-naked corpse, grabbing the boy’s head by the hair as if it were a trophy deer. Morlock made sure to get a similar memento.

 Because there were no repercussions for this killing, the soldiers in the 3rd Platoon were emboldened to go on a murderous rampage over the next four months and kill at least three more innocent Afghans.

Boal writes about the enormous cache of photos and video that was created by members of the platoon during this time, which was a clear violation of Army rules — you cannot take photos of the dead and you certainly can’t share them. (I’m not sure if there is specific rule about creating a clip of two Afghans being blown up set to rock music, but I’m assuming that’s also frowned upon.)

And the army, naturally, tried to cover it all up.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal and President Hamid Karzai were reportedly briefed on the photos as early as May, and the military launched a massive effort to find every file and pull the pictures out of circulation before they could touch off a scandal on the scale of Abu Ghraib.

The article is a must-read, and not in the way that “here’s more proof all military are bad.” Not by a long shot. But this behavior undermines everything the US says it stands for, and excusing and accommodating sociopaths in uniform is never the best policy. That the government does this time and time again is just so disheartening.

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Der Spiegel Publishes Horrific “Kill Team” Photos

Via Speigel Online International

It is so odd that, despite being a free country with a voracious and independent media, here in the US we don’t publish photos of our military doing God-awful things. Because that, I guess, is just crossing the line.

German newsmagazine Der Spiegel doesn’t care about that line, and went ahead and published two photos of Army soldiers posing with the bodies of Afghan civilians they killed. (The magazine says it has about 4,000 images and videos total.) The Americans in the photos are part of a so-called “kill team” of 12 soldiers that enjoyed murdering unarmed civilians and are now being charged with war crimes.

A lot of defense hawks will claim the photos will provoke backlash, including targeted attacks on US troops, and that is why they shouldn’t be published. I say not committing atrocious thrill kills and then posing for trophy photos would be a better way to prevent backlash. (To reiterate, the soldiers took 4,000 pieces of photos and video to serve as momentos.)

A quick scan of the few major US outlets that ran the story, like the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, showed they used official army portraits of the accused men to illustrate the story.

Time to replace Bradley Manning with these “heroes.”

Via Speigel Online International


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