I don't understand why people are treating this like the crime of the decade, a horrible shocking display that is impossible to understand, but no one seems to consider the effects of the war itself.
Civilians are being killed all the time in these wars. Suddenly it's horrifying because a soldier killed some without the proper permission?
Of course most civilian deaths are simply brushed off because they are "collateral damage" in an otherwise "legitimate operation". Do the Afghans care? If a dozen women and children are killed in 'collateral damage' during a strike, do the Afghans think that's totally cool because the foreign occupying military was looking for a bad guy? Come on. When a bomb drops and kills an innocent family, the survivors aren't going to just smile and say "I understand, there were rumors that an insurgent was here". They're more likely to become insurgents themselves.
Why is occupying a foreign country and causing thousands of civilians deaths A-Okay, until some guy decides to go renegade and stop the evil Muslims without clearance? It's a ridiculous mindset that deaths are nothing to think twice about, as long as you follow the "rules" while you do it.
Something is seriously wrong when a person is willing to take the firmest possible stand against murder, but War is acceptable.
As for the idea that this soldier may have had psychological problems? No shit sherlock. How can you have a decade of continuous war with some people on multiple redeployments without psychological problems. At that point it's not even abnormal psychology it's expected psychology. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman wrote “It is not too far from the mark to observe that there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 percent of all men insane, and the other 2 percent were crazy when they go there.”
I found that quote from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in an article by Chris Hedges on this killing rampage. Hedges is a journalist who has been in many warzones.
War perverts and destroys you. It pushes you closer and closer to your own annihilation—spiritual, emotional and finally physical. It destroys the continuity of life, tearing apart all systems—economic, social, environmental and political—that sustain us as human beings. In war, we deform ourselves, our essence. We give up individual conscience—maybe even consciousness—for contagion of the crowd, the rush of patriotism, the belief that we must stand together as a nation in moments of extremity. To make a moral choice, to defy war’s enticement, can in the culture of war be self-destructive. The essence of war is death. Taste enough of war and you come to believe that the Stoics were right: We will, in the end, all consume ourselves in a vast conflagration.
A World War II study determined that, after 60 days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties. A common trait among the remaining 2 percent was a predisposition toward having “aggressive psychopathic personalities.” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his book “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” notes: “It is not too far from the mark to observe that there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 percent of all men insane, and the other 2 percent were crazy when they go there.”