It seems as if one platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan decided that a war zone was a good place to engage in a little bit of recreational murder. As far as the story shows, this wasn’t panic or revenge; they weren’t especially scared or angry. They just decided to kill some Afghans and keep some trophies, including a skull.
The fact that this sort of thing happens in war is always a good argument against going to war, but the fact that it it happened once – at least – in Afghanistan doesn’t seem to me to tell us much we didn’t already know about this particular war.
It does appear that the Army was pretty damned un-interested in following up when one soldier told his father what was going on and the father tried to stir up an investigation. The case broke because the same unit was being investigated for – wait for it – hashish use.
Now we get to see whether Wingnuttia makes the accused heroes, like Lt. Calley, or whether the fact that they were drug users as well as – allegedly – murderers puts them in the “bad guy” category.
In a sensible world, the recruiting files of all the men involved would be pulled, and searched for hints of trouble that the recruiters should have picked up. I’m not sure we live in that world.