Generally speaking, there are few acts in war, though they could be classified
as violent, that would rise to the level of violent crime. But the recent
shootings in Afghanistan, resulting in more than 15 and five injuries,
caused by a U.S. soldier who is said to have gone house to house breaking
down doors, likely rise to that level.
In criminal law, there is usually a motive or set of circumstances that
at least partially explains the circumstances of the accused. In other
cases, there is no motive. In this case, the U.S. Army Sergeant accused
of killing unarmed Afghan civilians had served three prior tours in Iraq
and was on his first in Afghanistan. He is married with children. He is
38 years old.
What is not clear at this time is exactly why he walked from his base to
a neighboring village and began opening fire, killing men, women and children.
Needless to say, the gunman’s actions have added significant political
strain to the situation in Afghanistan. As Taimoor Shah and Graham Bowley
report for the New York Times, all three Afghan factions have cried out
against the gunman’s actions in unison-Afghan lawmakers, civilians
(in the form of protests), and the Taliban.