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And, yes, I DO take it personally: The "Kill Team" photos are not unusual and are not the work of "rogue" U.S. soldiers
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Monday, March 21, 2011

The "Kill Team" photos are not unusual and are not the work of "rogue" U.S. soldiers

yes, i know that spiegel is trying to soften the story by blaming it on "rogue" individuals but that's simply not the case... photos are routinely taken by soldiers commemorating their work just as miscellaneous body parts - fingers, toes, etc. - and other "memorabilia" are taken from individuals killed "in the line of duty"...

i personally stood behind a soldier at the post office in a base near kabul who was asking the clerk if it was ok to mail body parts home... i was stunned to say the least... the clerk didn't appear surprised by the question but responded with a clear "no"... when i returned to the u.s., i told the story to my son and daughter-in-law who both work for the va hospital here... they asked around and were told by a va counselor that "harvesting" such "trophies" was fairly common...

i'm not saying that everybody does it or that there aren't a majority who would not only not consider such behavior but would find it morally and ethically repellent... however, it's certainly not the rare occurrence our leaders and the media would have us believe... and, despite the fact that this story was broken by a german publication about u.s. troops, you can be sure there are german soldiers in afghanistan who are doing exactly the same thing...

i am posting the photos that accompanied the spiegel article because i believe they need to be seen and we absolutely need to feel the full impact of what is happening in our collective names...

This image shows the body of Gul Mudin, the son of a farmer, who was killed on Jan. 15, 2010. A member of the "kill team" is posing behind him. SPIEGEL published just three photos out of the some 4,000 images and videos it has seen. Court martial proceedings against the soldiers involved in the killings are to begin soon.

In this image, a different soldier poses with the same corpse. The US Army on Monday apologized for the behavior of the soldiers involved in the "kill team."

Court martial proceedings are currently being prepared against 12 suspects. This image of two "kill team" victims comes from the collection of one of the suspects.
The United States and NATO are concerned that reactions could be intense to the publication of images documenting killings committed by US soldiers in Afghanistan. The images appeared in the most recent edition of SPIEGEL, which hit the newsstands on Monday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already telephoned with her Afghan counterpart to discuss the situation. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon has likewise made contact with officials in Kabul. The case threatens to strain already fragile US-Afghan relations at a time when the two countries are negotiating over the establishment of permanent US military bases in Afghanistan.

In a statement released by Colonel Thomas Collins, the US Army, which is currently preparing a court martial to try a total of 12 suspects in connection with the killings, apologized for the suffering the photos have caused. The actions depicted in the photos, the statement read, are "repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States."

The suspected perpetrators are part of a group of US soldiers accused of several killings. Their court martials are expected to start soon. The photos, the army statement said, stand "in stark contrast to the discipline, professionalism and respect that have characterized our soldiers' performance during nearly 10 years of sustained operations."

saying that these photos and the behavior connected with them "stand in stark contrast" is denial, pure and simple... yes, i understand that's what the military would LIKE to have us believe, but it's simply not true...

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