Archive for Monday, March 26, 2012

Wife defends soldier accused in Afghan rampage

March 26, 2012


— The wife of a U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians says her husband showed no signs of PTSD before he deployed, and she doesn't feel like she'll ever believe he was involved in the killings.

"I don't know a lot about the symptoms of PTSD, so I wouldn't know," Karilyn Bales told NBC's "Today" show. "He doesn't have nightmares, you know, things like that. No dreams," she said.

She defended her husband, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, in a weekend interview with Matt Lauer that aired on Monday. Officials say Bales left his base March 11 in southern Afghanistan and killed eight Afghan adults and nine children.

The wife of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier said the accusations are "unbelievable to me."

"He loves children, he's like a big kid himself," she said. "I have no idea what happened, but he would not ... he loves children, and he would not do that."

He was formally charged Friday with 17 counts of premeditated murder and other crimes, and is being held at a U.S. military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Karilyn Bales was in a grocery store when she first heard of the rampage in a phone call from her parents.

"They said well it looks like a U.S. soldier, some Afghan civilians were killed by a soldier," she said.

She learned more when she got home.

"I saw 38-year-old staff sergeant, and I don't think there are very many of those, and I probably prayed and prayed that my husband wasn't involved," she said. "And then, I received a phone call from the Army saying that they would like to come out and talk to me. And I was relieved, because when you get a phone call, you know that your soldier is not deceased."

She was told about the shootings.

"They held my hand and they just said that perhaps, you know, they thought that he had left the base, and gone out and perhaps killed the Afghan civilians, and that was really the only sentence, and I just started crying," she said.

The deaths of the nine Afghan children are especially difficult.

"It's heartbreaking. I can't imagine losing my children, so my heart definitely goes out to them for losing all of their children."

Bales was on his fourth tour of duty in a war zone, having served three tours in Iraq, where he suffered a head injury and a foot injury. His civilian attorney, John Henry Browne, had said the soldier and his family had thought he was done fighting.

"It was a big shock because we weren't on the schedule to be deployed again, to be honest with you. He didn't want to miss out on any more of his kids' life," Karilyn Bales told "Today."

Bales said she feels he was mentally fit when he was deployed. He never told her about a traumatic brain injury he suffered while in Iraq, until he returned home.

"Not until he came back and said that he, you know, had been blown up," she said. "He shielded me from a lot of what he went through. He's a very tough guy."

U.S. investigators have said they believe Bales killed in two episodes, returning to his base after the first attack and later slipping away to kill again. He is reported to have surrendered without a struggle.

Karilyn Bales has spoken to her husband by telephone twice since he was detained. The soldier called his wife first from overseas shortly after massacre, and then last week from Fort Leavenworth.

They didn't talk about what happened.

"Not on the monitored phone call. So we couldn't discuss those details. He was — seemed a bit confused. As to where he was and why he was there," she said.

She says he'll probably tell her about it when they meet.

"I don't think anything will really change my mind in believing that he did not do this. This is not what it appears to be," she said.

The couple has two young children, a girl named Quincy and a boy named Bobby. They are now living on the base at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Bales family had a Seattle-area home condemned, struggled to make payments on another and failed to get a promotion a year ago. Karilyn Bales put the family's Lake Tapps, Wash., home up for sale days before the rampage.

The youngest of five brothers, Bales grew up in the working class Cincinnati suburb of Norwood, Ohio. He joined the Army two months after 9/11, after a Florida investment business failed and after he had worked with a string of securities operations.

Karilyn Bales told the "Today" show she has set up a fund to help pay for her husband's legal defense.


pace 3 years, 8 months ago

If he murdered the people and children, I hope he is executed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

If there is strong evidence that he committed these crimes, he should be sent to Afghanistan to stand trial in their judicial system. You can't say that you're they're to establish government if you're going to whisk every American who commits a crime out of the country, especially when they're as heinous as this one.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

I believe there is an agreement between the governments of the U.S. and Afghanistan that in situation such as these, the U.S. has jurisdiction. I am certain such an agreement existed between Iraq and the U.S. and I suspect the same would be true in Afghanistan.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Yes, there is such an agreement-- although it's probably more of a dictate than an agreement.

Once the US was no longer in a position to dictate such an "agreement" to Iraq, it was ended, and that's why the US military forces have withdrawn, although there are still thousands of private contractors there under contract to the US Govt-- occupation by another name.

Regardless, if the US intends to maintain a presence in Afghanistan with the acquiescence of the (nominal) government there, keeping Bales here is probably not going to work in favor thereof.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

A dictate, as in we give you billions of dollars, we oust the Taliban, you allow us jurisdiction for our people should they commit crimes. A dictate, an agreement, a compromise, whatever, however you would like to characterize it, a trial in Afghanistan isn't likely to happen. Additionally, from news reports I've seen, the crime scene wasn't secured, evidence wasn't collected and the bodies were quickly buried. Unless Bales' attorney is completely incompetent, a conviction of the most serious charges seems unlikely.
Rather than the death sentence, I sense a plea bargain.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

No, it's "we're invading your country with the most powerful military machine ever assembled. End of story."

" I sense a plea bargain."

Yea, they were merely Afghans. Don't to go too hard on the ole boy.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like you're interested in a conviction, with or without a fair trial, with or without evidence. Maybe you should apply for the job of judge, jury and executioner.

pace 3 years, 8 months ago

You aren't accurate, I said "if", you changed my words to make your argument. False. If you disagree with me, make your point, don't change the other person's words.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

If your comment was intended for me, I was not responding to your comment. My comment was a response to Bozo's comment.

pace 3 years, 8 months ago

Don't be precious, the only other people in the conversation both said "if". We expressed different opinions but we were careful to say "if". You replied on my comment. Why not state your opinion rather than lie? Changing what I or Bozo actually said doesn't make your opinion stronger.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

I did not use the word "if" in my comment. It stands alone, despite what you say.

pace 3 years, 8 months ago

You said "Sounds like you're interested in a conviction, with or without a fair trial, with or without evidence."

which misrepresented (changes the words) of the other statements, If you were responding to me I prefaced my opinion with "If he murdered the people and children" If you were responding to the other poster , He/she prefaced his opinion with "If there is strong evidence that he committed these crimes.
You might be responding to voices or words that are only available to you.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

I specifically said I was not responding to you.
As to my response to the other poster, Bozo has had a long tradition of re-interpreting my posts with wild and fanciful hyperbole. I was giving a bit as I have received. And while I was not responding to voices only I can hear, I do find myself responding to a person who clearly was told that the offending comment was not intended for him. Since being offended is what you are after, please don't let me stop you.

pace 3 years, 8 months ago

I am not at all offended, just pointing out that you lied about what other people were saying, rather than making a statement of your own. I have read your reasoning, it is not sound.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

Which statement of mine is a lie? Please be specific.

pace 3 years, 8 months ago

Let us see, be specific, I will hint, maybe the one I quoted? You said "Sounds like you're interested in a conviction, with or without a fair trial, with or without evidence."

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

"Sounds like" as in sounds like to me, as in that is what it sounds like to me.
Your statement started with "if" as in If yes, or if not. See how it works. Some words are so clearly understood, they need not be spoken (or written). I also said "maybe", as in maybe yes, maybe no. Get it?

pace 3 years, 8 months ago

You are stating you can neither read nor understand very basic words.

You interpret "if" a conditional clause to really mean " yes" Yes is used to express affirmation, it is not a conditional clause. It is really weird to take the time to tell another adult the difference between if and what in the heck they imagine it might mean. You might change your cocktail time to July.

You made a statement that was false. Now you argue that "if" means "since the person was guilty." That is not a rational jump. You are making false statements about what others posted. Again, if you have an opinion, say it . Don't whine on that people meant something other than what they actually said. That is lying about what they said. Do you really not understand the difference between what people say and you saying they meant something very different?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm not at all stating that I can't understand what people are saying. I'm stating very clearly that you misinterpreted my comment. "Seems to me" is a statement of what my opinion is. Unless you are inside my head, you don't get to tell me what my opinion may or may not be.

pace 3 years, 8 months ago

I did not misinterpret what you said. I quoted you.

verity 3 years, 8 months ago

I obviously don't know the whole story here and am certainly not condoning what happened---but what the hell do you expect?

patkindle 3 years, 8 months ago

i forget, what did we ever do to the guy at fort hood that killed all the people???

pace 3 years, 8 months ago

well, I knew. wasn't hearing voices about it but I knew the charges, from Wikiepedia." Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice; he may face additional charges at court-martial. If he is convicted, there is a chance he could be given the death penalty.[

I thought the court martial was suppose to be March this year.

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