Horrific: More Graphic Photos, Details About 'Kill Team' Emerge
The Pentagon has issued another apology for the actions of the Kill Team -- the 12 soldiers who allegedly went on a civilian-killing spree in Afghanistan and kept photographs and human-flesh trophies from it. But all the press releases and public statements in the world aren't enough to dampen the horror, disgust and sorrow of the latest details to emerge.
Yesterday, Rolling Stone published quite a few more photos from the Kill Team's catalog, including uncensored versions of the ones Der Spiegelexposed last week. When those images emerged last week, the initial thought was that they would be more damaging than those from Abu Ghraib. Seeing these... it must be true. The Kill Team looks self-satisfied and, in some cases, almost gleeful, posing in their US Army uniforms near slaughtered and mutilated bodies. Even if it's never proven that all the Afghans in the photos are civilians, there's a case to be made for discharging every single soldier depicted in the photos based on the inhumanity alone.
Even more damning, if that's possible, is the accompanying story. Descriptions of how the Kill Team came to be -- and, perhaps, implicating far more soldiers and platoons than those currently standing trial -- their actions are dizzying in their scope and seem almost unreal. Hannah Arendt used the term 'the banality of evil' to describe Eichmann and the Nazis, but the Kill Team's murder squad feels too shocking, too deliberate, too targeted to be so dispassionate.
After killing the Afghan boy at La Mohammad Kalay, members of 3rd Platoon were jubilant. "They were high-fiving each other about having killed the guy," one soldier recalled. They put the corpse in a black body bag and stowed it on top of their Stryker for the ride back to FOB Ramrod. No sooner had they arrived at the base than they were recounting the tale to soldiers they barely knew.
The Rolling Stone piece builds the case that the Kill Team was carrying out the killings largely in the open, as it would have been hard to obscure such actions, and so many, from fellow soldiers. Indeed, in one of the most stunning and devastating descriptions of its murders -- those of innocent children -- it's hard to imagine any of it staying a secret.
At one point, soldiers in 3rd Platoon talked about throwing candy out of a Stryker vehicle as they drove through a village and shooting the children who came running to pick up the sweets.
Read the full piece at Rolling Stone.