On the subject of the American soldier suspected of killing Afghan civilians, Gen. Allen said:
The evidence at this point, both in terms of observations and reports and interviews, leads us to believe that he acted as an individual at this point.
This curiously echoes the words generally associated with “lone wolf” terrorists in the United States. Secretary Panetta opined on the “lone wolf” soldier on the plane to Afghanistan: he might face the death penalty, Panetta said, an egregiously prejudicial remark about a man who hasn’t been charged yet and who had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury during the last of his three tours in Iraq. The soldier was found fit for duty and sent to Afghanistan, raising serious questions that will have to be part of the investigation. But Secretary Panetta appears already to have determined the outcome: soldier fit for trial, let’s talk about the death penalty.
The series of remarks by administration officials and military commanders, solicitous of Afghans and tin-eared towards the American soldiers who fight, build schools, and learn about Afghan agriculture before they deploy emphasizes the distance between the commander in Chief, his deputies, and the troops.
It is more than tin-eared; it is disrespectful of our troops to think the Marines had to be disarmed before they listened to the secretary of Defense.