Soldier Behind Kandahar Massacre Speaks Out For The First Time

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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America’s most notorious war criminal, a man who killed 16 men, women and children in Afghanistan in what has become known as the Kandahar massacre, just stepped out of the shadows to give a full interview with GQ Magazine.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales shot and killed those civilians in March 2012. Up until now, he’s never spoken about the incident publicly.

“I want to say to those guys that I hurt—my guys, the patriot brotherhood—I want them to know I’m sorry,” he told GQ Magazine. “I don’t want nothing but good things for my soldiers. I hope that in some way they can understand how sorry I am. They’re my family, and I love them.”

Bales, an Army sniper with the 3rd Stryker Brigade out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, delivered the interview from the Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, where he’s currently serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole. He has already apologized in court for his actions, but the appalling nature of the atrocity has left many observers stumped and wanting to know more about Bales’ thought process and why he committed the worst war crimes in fifty years since Vietnam, when Lieutenant William Calley’s platoon killed hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai massacre in 1968.

Bales spoke about how the rage, the PTSD, the alcohol, the headaches, the sleep deprivation and the steroids kept him in autopilot mode during the massacre, which led him to shoot 22 people in two different villages in the Kandahar Province, killing 16. Of those 16, eight were children.

Another reason is that he didn’t want to repeat a mistake which led to his friend losing a leg after a bomb went off—all because Bales hesitated and didn’t take out an insurgent, who was carrying what appeared to be a detonation device.

Yet, he still maintains that the homes he entered were linked in some way to the Taliban and does not believe his actions make him comparable to school shooters. He pled guilty in 2013 to avoid the death penalty. He was unsuccessful in persuading the senior Army officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to reduce his life sentence.

Read the rest at GQ here >

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