CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An insight into atrocity

The New York Times has this article headlined Accused G.I.'s Were Isolated From Officers:

WASHINGTON — Soldiers in an American Army platoon accused of murdering Afghan civilians for sport say they took orders from a ringleader who collected body parts as war trophies, were threatened with death if they spoke up and smoked hashish on their base almost daily.

. . .

But interviews in recent days and hundreds of pages of documents in the case offer a portrait of an isolated, out-of-control unit that operated in Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan with limited supervision and little oversight from senior commanders.

There are indications of missed warnings among Army officers who saw trouble with some platoon leaders but did not dig deeper — let alone suspect the extent of the problem — until investigators began asking questions in early May, nearly four months after prosecutors say the first of three murders of Afghan civilians occurred.

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