Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will face 17 counts of murder, assault and various other charges after opening fire on a group of civilians in two Afghanistan villages.
Among the charged filed against Staff Sgt. Bales are 17 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault. Bales has also been charged with dereliction of duty and various other violations of military law. He faces trial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Bales who lives in Lake Tapps, Washington is a 38-year-old father of two children, he is currently being held at a military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Charges will officially be read to Bales on Friday and they could not arrive quickly enough as tensions in U.S-Afghanistan relations have been strained by the event. The U.S. was already dealing with the accidental burning of Quran’s which prompted revenge killings against American troops.
In the meantime the entire episode has triggered a larger debate about the state of health care for troops, specifically in the area of mental health. The Armed Forces in some areas are experiencing record level suicide rates and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Bales will likely become the poster child for the medical debate after he served three tours in Iraq, suffered a foot and head injury and was then thrown back into duty.
Do you think Staff Sgt. Robert Bales deserves to be tried for 17 counts of murder or should his head injury and time spent overseas have dismissed him from duty before he could harm anyone?