Friday, March 23, 2012

Is the Afghan Massacre Case being prosecuted faster than that of the Fort Hood Shooter?

Within 2 years and 4 months, two Army soldiers opened fire on innocent unarmed people, killing numerous and wounding others. On November 5, 2009, Major Nidal Hasan shot 43 people, killing 13 people and wounding 30. Now more recently, on March 11th 2012, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales assaulted innocent residents in 3 Afghan villages, killing 17 and wounding 6 others.

Because it is more recent, the news stories have filled their columns describing the rapid pace that justices have taken to move toward the speedy trial of Sgt. Bales.  After listening to many of these broadcasts, I wondered if Bales was being prosecuted  faster than Hasan.

Here we have Bales, thought to have committed these horrible Afghan murders, flown out of Afghanistan,  placed in confinement in Fort Leavenworth, and charged with the crimes within little more than a week.

While, Major Hasan, who committed his crime in November 2009, has yet to be tried. For him, it took 1 year just to be arraigned (Major Is Arraigned in Fort Hood Killings).

There are several similarities and differences between the two murderers:
  • Both have been in the Army a long time
  • Both were in their late 30s
  • Hasan is an Officer, Bales an enlisted man
  • Hasan is a Muslim, Bales a Christian
  • Hasan killed in an American Military base, Bales killed in a foreign war zone
  • Hasan has never been in war, Bales is on his 4th tour of combat duty
  • Hasan killed mostly US soldiers, Bales killed Afghan civilians
  • Hasan pursued radical beliefs, Bales seemed to have just cracked
  • Hasan is portrayed as the "Fort Hood Shooter", Bales the "Afghan Massacre Suspect" (emphasis on Shooter and Massacre)
While we do not know the ultimate fate of these two individuals, we can agree that the crimes that they committed are equally horrendous. It is unimaginable to conceive of the acts they committed, and both should be punished. But, justice should treat both individuals equally, and judgement should not proceed rapidly for one individual while the other (although paralized) sits back and enjoys the comforts of confinement, similar to those in Guantanamo who are still awaiting trial by a sympathizing US Attorney General.

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