Narrative Grows Around Kandahar Massacre Suspect

Lawyer Insists Bales 'Mild-Mannered'

With most of the focus on last weekend’s Kandahar massacre centering around US leaders promising absolutely no changes to their occupation strategy, an undercurrent of sympathetic revelations have been cropping up about the alleged attacker, who was finally named this evening as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

His lawyer, of course, has been keen to praise Bales record, insisting the sergeant has “received almost every away you  can get as a combat veteran” and is being described as mild-mannered. His sole past media appearance came in 2007, when he proudly cheered a 2007 battle in Iraq, saying that the troops had done a good job of not killing civilians.

The accounts of the all-around “good guy” Bales that have reached the public are in all ways incongruous with what happened early Sunday morning in Kandahar, when the attacker wandered off base, apparently drunk, and massacred 16 civilians.

The why of all this looms large, and a number of sympathetic excuses seem to be trickling out. Past injuries in his previous three tours of duty (all in Iraq), including a concussion, have been brought up. A reported injury of another soldier at his base the night before the massacre is likewise suggested to have driven Bales to slaughter civilians.

How any of this would lead to a massacre is never described of course, because any number of other soldiers who had multiple tours or head injuries have managed to not massacre anyone. The leaks seem in stark contrast with official US promises to see Bales charged with serious crimes for the killings.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of