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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 14, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Sgt. Robert Bales faces sentencing for Afghan massacre

Corrected version

Don’t ignore mental illness

In this courtroom sketch, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, left, stands in a military courtroom as his wife, Kari Bales, right, looks on during a plea hearing at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state. Robert Bales pleaded guilty to multiple counts of murder, stemming from a pre-dawn attack on two villages in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan in March, 2012. (The Associated Press / Peter Millett)

In this courtroom sketch, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, left, stands in a military courtroom as his wife, Kari Bales, right, looks on during a plea hearing at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state. Robert Bales pleaded guilty to multiple counts of murder, stemming from a pre-dawn attack on two villages in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan in March, 2012. (The Associated Press / Peter Millett)

Thank you, John Hoon, for your letter [“Walk in his shoes,” Northwest Voices, June 10]. I thought I was the only one out here who had some sympathy for Sgt. Robert Bales.There is no doubt that what he did was despicable, but the fact that the United States kept sending this poor man back to Afghanistan when he had already been there more times than most was even more despicable.

Sgt. Bales was not only battle weary, but was mentally weary, probably suffering from PTSD. Yet, the Army kept sending him back.

How the military can justify the callousness of their actions is beyond me. I guess what surprises me, also, is that there aren’t more Sgt. Bales’ with the same mental disorders serving our military.

Darlene Cox, Seattle

Correction:  Information in this article, originally published June 14, 2013, was corrected June 14, 2013. A previous version of this story used a headline that implied that Sgt. Robert Bales had been sentenced.  Bales sentencing is not expected until August of this year.

Comments | Topics: Afghanistan, massacre, mental illness

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