April 19, 2012

How ‘Unfortunate Incidents’ Affect Military Efforts


JEFFREY BROWN: For more, we go to Craig Whitlock, a Pentagon correspondent for The Washington Post, and retired Army Colonel Bob Killebrew. He served in Vietnam and is now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank.

Craig Whitlock, what more have you learned about this incident, what the soldiers were doing, what might have led to this?

CRAIG WHITLOCK, The Washington Post: Well, we do know that this unit, the photos were taken in 2010, so a couple years ago. The unit came back later this year, but the unit has since redeployed to Afghanistan.

And the Army investigation is trying to figure out where these soldiers were. The Army says they know who most of them were, but it’s unclear if some of them are back in the battlefield, or some of them are back home or with other units. And that’s something we’re trying to figure out that’s, where are these guys now?

JEFFREY BROWN: How seriously is the military taking this after several episodes recently?

CRAIG WHITLOCK: I think they’re taking it very seriously.

As we’ve seen in this pattern of unfortunate incidents of misconduct since January, that the Pentagon, the field commanders in Afghanistan and, even the White House quickly apologize, they say they’re going to investigate, and they do. Sometimes, it takes some time. We still haven’t seen the results to the investigation into the Quran burning, the Marine video or if discipline has been handed out in those cases.

So, sometimes, the investigations can take quite a while.

JEFFREY BROWN: Col. Killebrew, what do you see in these photos, and what steps should the military be taking now?

Read More

Watch Troop Photos With Dead Afghans: How It Affects U.S. Mission on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.