Some context that might well be relevant to the weekend’s massacre in Afghanistan (h/t Anand Gopal):
Ahmad Shah Khan, a resident of a nearby village that was not involved in Sunday’s shooting, said a soldier from the base had threatened their kids three days before the incident, after an armored vehicle hit a roadside bomb, causing damage but no casualties.
The soldiers arrived in Mokhoyan village – 500 yards (meters) east of the base – with their Afghan army counterparts and made many of the male villagers stand against a wall, said Khan.
“It looked like they were going to shoot us, and I was very afraid,” said Khan. “Then a NATO soldier said through his translator that even our children will pay for this. Now they have done it and taken their revenge.”
Several Afghan officials, including Kandahar lawmaker Abdul Rahim Ayubi, said people in the two villages that were attacked – Balandi and Alkozai – told them the same story. It’s unclear if the soldier that threatened the villagers is the same one accused of carrying out the shooting spree.
It’s this kind of casual abuse which mounts up into atrocities by eroding the red lines of human behaviour – and remember, eroding those red lines is exactly what military basic training is all about.