This is the most disturbing thing I've read in weeks:
For weeks, according to Army charging documents, rogue members of a platoon from the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, floated the idea. Then, one day last winter, a solitary Afghan man approached them in the village of La Mohammed Kalay. The "kill team" activated the plan.
One soldier created a ruse that they were under attack, tossing a fragmentary grenade on the ground. Then others opened fire.
According to charging documents, the unprovoked, fatal attack on Jan. 15 was the start of a months-long shooting spree against Afghan civilians that resulted in some of the grisliest allegations against American soldiers since the U.S. invasion in 2001. Members of the platoon have been charged with dismembering and photographing corpses, as well as hoarding a skull and other human bones.
The subsequent investigation has raised accusations about whether the military ignored warnings that the out-of-control soldiers were committing atrocities. The father of one soldier said he repeatedly tried to alert the Army after his son told him about the first killing, only to be rebuffed.
One could point to the dehumanizing effects of war, bad discipline, lack of competent command, and the general bureaucratic stupidity of the military to explain all of this, including allegations that "Seven other soldiers have been charged with crimes related to the case, including hashish use, attempts to impede the investigation and a retaliatory gang assault on a private who blew the whistle."
In truth, it is the personal, moral responsibility of each soldier that tells the story. Knowing right from wrong and still doing wrong is the only real explanation for such atrocities.