AP: SSG Robert Bales to face Capital Murder charges for alleged Afghan murder spree

ht: talking points memo

The Army said Wednesday it will pursue the death penalty for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the American soldier accused of murdering 16 Afghan villagers in March, the Associated Press reported.

Given the military’s record with capital cases and all or almost all of them since the military death penalty was reinstated having been overturned or commuted to life without parole, Bales probably doesn’t have all that much to worry about on that score.  Neither, for that matter, does MAJ Nidal Hassan, whose alleged multiple count mass murder trial is supposed to start soon.

67 replies
  1. 1
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Always makes me sick and angry to see these kinds of headlines. Of course the guy should be prosecuted, but really…all the while the retarded Bush Boy and Darth Cheney, who knowingly instigated the entire thing under false pretenses, walk free?

    It’s not right.

    Every war contains horrendous incidents like this; and Bush and Cheney put it all in motion.

    There is little real justice in the world.

    Also too: I really don’t see why we can’t just “look forward, not back” in the case of this young man also. ???

  2. 2
    Joel says:

    Well, if Bales does life without parole, that’s good enough for me.

  3. 3
    Elie says:

    He may not need to worry about death but he instead will have death while living — lifelong incarceration in a prison. Dunno about you, but that would be plenty to worry about. His children will effectively never know him. His wife will be functionally a widow but without any insurance or retirement from the military.

    ..and need we add the judgement of history and mankind for the heinous crime that he committed. He will wear that like a shroud..

    He is a dead man in all but the biological sense.

  4. 4
    Elie says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Seriously?

    What are a few dead Afghanis, right? Not even in battle. He snuck out into a village and killed unarmed women and children..

    Yep. Sounds good. Lets just furgit about it.

    Has anyone told you guys that you are pretty weird?

  5. 5
    c u n d gulag says:

    No death penalty -period.
    Not in this case.
    Not in any.
    Life imprisonment is enough.

    In this case, if we let Bush and Cheney live, so must all of the other war criminals.

    Now, when can we get started putting Bush and Cheney on trial, so that they can join this poor soldier in their wars and occupations, in a prison for life?

  6. 6
    Amir Khalid says:

    If it doesn’t seem likely that Bales will end up on the US military’s death row, then what is he likely to face? Since there seems to be no real dispute that he killed 9 kids and 8 grownups, I assume that acquittal is not going to happen.

  7. 7
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Amir Khalid: Life in prison without parole.

  8. 8
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Elie:

    Has anyone told you guys that you are pretty weird?

    If I had a nickel for every time someone has told it so.

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Life without parole sounds about right.

  10. 10
    EconWatcher says:

    How will one more death make the world a better place? Life without parole, if proven guilty, is as just as we can be in this imperfect world.

    It always seems to me that some dp supporters are looking for some kind of ultimate or perfect justice. But there is no way to balance the murder of innocents.

  11. 11
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Elie:

    What are a few dead Afghanis, right? Not even in battle. He snuck out into a village and killed unarmed women and children..
    Yep. Sounds good. Lets just furgit about it.

    You’re not very bright, are you?

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Elie:
    Apparently Special Timmeh’s a forgive-and-forget kind of person when it comes to murder too.

  13. 13
    Punchy says:

    @Elie: You do realize you’re trying to talk to a troll, right? Likely a DougJ sockpuppet. Nothing they’re saying is supposed to sound logical or reasonable, just to get someone to respond to their purposeful nonsense….

  14. 14
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Elie:

    His wife will be functionally a widow but without any insurance or retirement from the military.
    ..and need we add the judgement of history and mankind for the heinous crime that he committed. He will wear that like a shroud..

    At first I assumed you were talking about George W Bush. But the I remembered that we normally reserve the judgment of history and mankind for heinous crimes committed for the little people low on the totem pole, like this guy.

    For the primary perpetrators?: LOOK FORWARD, NOT BACK.

  15. 15
    JoyfulA says:

    At a local army base, an officer’s wife nagged him about not leaving p0rn on the computer their children used for homework. So he tortured her and then murdered her, on base housing.

    The Army took charge of the case over the county DA, convicted him of murder, and sentenced him to 20 years. Outraged locals said he’d be out in 7. Had he been sentenced locally, it would probably be death row (we don’t ever get around to killing anyone) rather than life without parole. From what we’ve seen here, it seems military justice protects its own, at least if they’re officers.

  16. 16
    Biff Longbotham says:

    How much do you want to bet that the wingnutosphere will go berserk if Hasan does not get the death penalty for killing Muricans but all you’ll hear is crickets chirping when Bales is sentenced to his (expected) life term.

  17. 17
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Elie:

    Has anyone told you guys that you are pretty weird?

    Actually, no, not very often.

    The responses are usually of a much more vile and desperate nature.

  18. 18
    Cassidy says:

    @Amir Khalid: Nah, kitchen implement just likes to make the conversation all about him. It’s an attention whore who can’t help itself.

  19. 19
    GergB says:

    I am against the death penalty for everyone.

    In light of all the insanity consuming this nation, this is the last thing the military/government needs to do right now.

  20. 20
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Apparently Special Timmeh’s a forgive-and-forget kind of person when it comes to murder too.

    I’ll mostly let that slide, since I know you’re pretending to be stupid.

    Let me know when the murder trial (last count: roughly 125,000) of George W. Bush, by Barack Obama’s justice department, begins.

    Oh wait…

    You’re not much concerned with the perps at the top of the ladder, are you.

  21. 21
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Cassidy:

    Nah, kitchen implement just likes to make the conversation all about him. It’s an attention whore who can’t help itself.

    Two questions:

    Boss out of town again, so you’re on the computer slacking off?

    In what way are my comments about ME?

    It’s you bots who rarely address the comment/question, instead going for personal attacks who make threads about anything else. Kind of like you just did. Again.

    One more question: In what weak-ass insult universe is “kitchen implement” considered a withering slam?

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Now you read minds…

  23. 23
    Chyron HR says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Also too: I really don’t see why we can’t just “look forward, not back” in the case of this young man also. ???

    Depends, was Bales also “standing his ground”, like George Zimmerman and Jerry Sandusky did?

  24. 24
    Cassidy says:

    @JPL: Well, it was very concerned that Obama was about to send DEA tugs to kick in its door and take its pot. Maybe it done smoked itself psychic!

  25. 25
    Huh? says:

    @Elie:

    Seriously?
    What are a few dead Afghanis, right?

    Maybe your browser isn’t working correctly. According to mine, he also said this:

    Of course the guy should be prosecuted,

    Its theoretically possible to prosecute both this horrible act and those to enabled this horrible act to take place. Nowhere was it presented as an “either/or” situation.

  26. 26
    trollhattan says:

    LWOP. It’s the least we can do/the most we should do. The murderer should not experience one more day of freedom. He’s not all that different from Adam Lanza, other than I paid for his training and weapons. The horror he caused is the same.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Actually, this is the closest Tim has come to having a valid point in the time I have been aware of him. The world does indeed fall short of true justice. Political calculation exists. Life for the powerful and wealthy is easier than it is for others. People can work to mitigate this, but human nature is what it is.

  28. 28
    Amir Khalid says:

    For what it’s worth, I think life in jail is better than execution. Not that I endorse sentencing as a form of retribution, of course; I think that a murderer is a dangerous person who needs to be kept away from society.

    @Cassidy:
    Well, he’s that too.

  29. 29
    MobiusKlein says:

    Can I declare war on ‘alleged’?
    “alleged multiple count mass murder trial” is a garble.
    It is a fact that he is on trial for mass murder.
    It’s also factual that he killed a bunch of people.

    Save ‘alleged’ for when there is some doubt actually present, and you need to emphasize the doubt. Otherwise alleged becomes a synonym for guilty.

  30. 30
    shortstop says:

    Ever talked to someone who’s done hard time? Life without parole isn’t better than the death penalty. And it prevents us from committing the insupportable moral crime of state-sanctioned murder within the justice system while punishing the guilty and keeping others safe from them.

  31. 31
    Cassidy says:

    @MobiusKlein: it rolls off the tongue better than “innocent until proven guilty charged with multiple counts of homicide…”.

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @shortstop: It also allows us to have a chance to try to fix it if we convict the wrong guy.

  33. 33
    kindness says:

    Well here is where I don’t burnish my liberal credentials.

    Some crimes are so heinous that they deserve death. This guy snuck into villagers huts at 2 & 3 in the morning and shot them in their beds. How many villagers and kids now kill Americans because of him?

    I think he should be given to the Afghans to hang.

  34. 34
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Not a thread goes by that doesn’t remind me of why Texas is such a shithole.

  35. 35
    Amir Khalid says:

    @MobiusKlein:
    Bales hasn’t been convicted, yet, and until he is we mustn’t presume guilt. At this stage one can only call him an accused murderer; that he killed 16 innocent people for no real reason is still only a prosecutors’ allegation.

    You can trust me on this. I used to report for my newspaper from the Kuala Lumpur Magistrates’ Courts.

  36. 36
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Cassidy: How about “on trial for multiple counts of murder”
    Alleged is implied in the ‘on trial’ part.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cassidy: Fundamentally, Shortstop’s reasoning is why I oppose the DP, but my argument is a good back-up. It is hard to counter without suggesting that courts are never wrong.

  38. 38
    Cassidy says:

    @MobiusKlein: Personally, I think it’s important to constantly remind the public that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. I think many an other” in this country has been condemned for not being “suburban” enough and if we take that part out of it, it becomes easier to assume their otherness is sufficient to imply guilt. YMMV.

  39. 39
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I agree with both your sentiments totally. It just reminds me of Texas and their murder mill.

  40. 40
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Amir Khalid: It is possible that he will actually be convicted on capital charges, but if he is and that sentence is reversed, it would automatically become Life Without Parole. If he is convicted, and the verdict itself is reversed, he would have to be retried, but could likely face lesser charges that would include Life Without Parole.
    It is possible, though unlikely, that he could be charged with capital offenses, and found guilty of lesser included offenses (unpremeditated murder vice premeditated murder) and could then theoretically get a sub-Life Without Parole sentence.

  41. 41
    Amir Khalid says:

    @kindness:
    Interestingly, this is how Sharia law works in places like Saudi Arabia And Afghanistan. I do not endorse it, though, because I find it uncomfortably close to the tribal customs of pre-Islamic times.

  42. 42
    Soonergrunt says:

    @MobiusKlein: I’ll take it under advisement. But since nobody has ever complained when I’ve used it with respect to PFC Manning (who has actually offered to plead guilty to various crimes, btw) I’ll keep using it to refer to persons who have not yet been convicted by a court of law.

  43. 43
    kindness says:

    @Amir Khalid: And strangely enough, Sharia law would offer him a possible mercy, blood money. I don’t like the idea of paying blood money but it is done over there. Most likely he wouldn’t get it. I doubt his family has the money to pay it.

  44. 44
    Soonergrunt says:

    @shortstop: I don’t support the death penalty. It doesn’t have a deterrent effect, it costs more to administer than the alternatives, and in the chance of a mistake, there’s no undoing it.

  45. 45
    eemom says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    I’ll keep using it to refer to persons who have not yet been convicted by a court of law.

    Good call. Even I, language scold that I am, yield to “innocent until proven guilty.”

  46. 46
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    @kindness: Mrs. Pantload consistently scores more liberal than I do in various online quizzes we’ve taken. However, her mother lost a dear friend years ago to murder, and so it is that the Mrs. wants all the killers killed dead. We’ve had conversations through the years about the imperfections of any human-based justice system and how that complicates overturning sentences when the wrongly convicted are six feet under. She’s coming around, but still struggles letting her head, which knows I’m right, overrule her heart, which, as stated, wants to see all the killers killed dead.

    [Edited for grammar now that I see eemom is here.]

  47. 47
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    In what weak-ass insult universe is “kitchen implement” considered a withering slam?

    No, no, no. “Kitchen implement” isn’t a slam at all. It’s a neutral reference to one of your old nyms. “Troll” isn’t a slam either; it’s a straightforward description of you. When we do want to slam you, we call you a mediocre flea-market portrait artist.

  48. 48
    Calouste says:

    @Amir Khalid: If you are in the US military, you can kill 20 Europeans and get away with it, so I’ll believe that killing non-combatant non-Americans is considered a capital offence by the US military when this guy runs out of appeals and actually ends up with life in prison, and not a day earlier.

    Keep in mind that the few that were actually convicted in the case Abu Ghraib are already out of prison.

  49. 49
    shortstop says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t think recognizing the fallibility of the justice system is a “backup” argument — in my view, not executing the innocent is just as important as punishing the guilty; actually, more so, because of the irreversibility factor. I didn’t mention that aspect only because I was responding specifically to the chatter in the thread about one being a “better” form of justice, i.e., just desserts, than the other.

    @Soonergrunt: I was speaking to everyone, Sooner; it wasn’t directed particularly at you.

  50. 50
    shortstop says:

    @Cassidy: Texas is notable for the zeal with which it knocks off prisoners. Florida’s no schmoe here, though.

    Not about any state in particular: I’ve noticed that the people who most staunchly defend the perfection of the justice system in capital cases are the same folks who are otherwise convinced that the government can do nothing competently.

  51. 51
    Cassidy says:

    @shortstop: I hear ya. I live here and try to forget that I’m in Florida, most of the time. It’s sad when the best you can say is “well, we ain’t Texas…yet”.

  52. 52
    Soonergrunt says:

    @shortstop: It’s all good.

  53. 53
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Soonergrunt: My complaint is how ‘alleged’ has been used so much in prominent connection with massive crimes that it feels (subjectively) to be tainted.

    I just wish we had a word for ‘M.F. is guilty as hell, but I’m going to not use guilty until the court says so’ so that ‘alleged’ conveys adequate doubt.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @shortstop: I see it as a back-up argument because the argument you made is more than sufficient for me.

  55. 55
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Bales, Manning, Hassan and Petraeus all deserve execution.

    Which one of these four will never even see the inside of a courtroom, much less have to worry about ending their life at the end of a needle?

  56. 56
    burnspbesq says:

    @GergB:

    I am against the death penalty for everyone

    So am I, but some cases are easier than others.

  57. 57
    burnspbesq says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Bales, Manning, Hassan and Petraeus all deserve execution.

    Here’s a link to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Draft the charges and specifications against Petraeus, and get back to us.

    http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ucmj.htm

  58. 58
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Let me know when the murder trial (last count: roughly 125,000) of George W. Bush, by Barack Obama’s justice department, begins.

    Tell us your theory of liability and lay out your evidence. Remember, evidence has to be admissible, and you have to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Take all the time you need. We’ve got plenty of popcorn.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    @burnspbesq: Adultery ring a bell?
    He’s stone cold guilty of that by his own admission, he’s subject to the chage as a retired officer, and while not a death penalty offense, it should by all rights have him cooling his heels in a brig for a good long time.

    Long enough to find something to hang his ass for with his playing fast and loose with classified information.

  61. 61
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m not sure that it’s posted anything over 50 words, ever. Supporting one’s stated positions sorta takes alla fun out of trolling.

  62. 62
    shortstop says:

    @Amir Khalid: Now, be fair. He started with flea markets, but now he’s worked up to Holiday Inn banquet room “art” sales. The kind of people who select paintings to go with their couch fabrics love Tim’s “work.”

  63. 63
    shortstop says:

    @Amir Khalid: Now, be fair. He started with flea markets, but now he’s worked up to Holiday Inn banquet room “art” sales. The kind of people who select paintings to go with their couch fabrics love Tim’s “work.”

  64. 64
    shortstop says:

    @Amir Khalid: Now, be fair. He started with flea markets, but now he’s worked up to Holiday Inn banquet room “art” sales. The kind of people who select paintings to go with their couch fabrics love Tim’s “work.”

  65. 65
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    At a local army base, an officer’s wife nagged him about not leaving p0rn on the computer their children used for homework. So he tortured her and then murdered her, on base housing.

    The Army took charge of the case over the county DA, convicted him of murder, and sentenced him to 20 years. Outraged locals said he’d be out in 7. Had he been sentenced locally, it would probably be death row (we don’t ever get around to killing anyone) rather than life without parole. From what we’ve seen here, it seems military justice protects its own, at least if they’re officers.

    @JoyfulA: Has nothing to do with his being an officer or not. The incident happened entirely on base. End of debate. The Army has jurisdiction.

  66. 66
    Soonergrunt says:

    @MobiusKlein: I get that.

  67. 67
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Neither Manning nor Petraeus have committed or are accused capital crimes, to my knowledge.
    Hell, even I never thought what Manning did rose even to the level of espionage, and I think the “aiding the enemy” spec against him is overcharging.
    As for Bales and Hassan, well, as I said earlier, I don’t think the death penalty is something we should be using anyway. If they’re convicted, LWOP them, forget about them, and move on.

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