Local veterans said Wednesday the pictures of U.S. soldiers posing with the body parts of slain Afghan insurgents are way out of line, with one saying the pictures sickened him.
The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday published photos, which were provided by sources, of members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division posing with body parts of insurgents who had blown themselves up in an Afghan village. One U.S. soldier posed with the severed hand of an insurgent on his shoulder.
In Tacoma, some local veterans said this incident is not widespread across the military. In fact, some point to multiple deployments and the added stress of constant enemy activity as a sign that soldiers look for stress relief in many ways, including celebrating the death of an enemy.
"You cannot put a person under combat conditions and stress … without them beginning to get that thousand-yard stare,” Vietnam War veteran Peter Whalen said.
Jorge Gonzalez, a veteran of the Iraq war, said, “There is going to be more consequences because of this, after (Army Sgt.)Robert Bales (accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians), after the (U.S. troops’) Koran burnings, and it just keeps adding on, and I don’t think it’s going to end until the U.S. finally exits Afghanistan fully.”Veterans said they now worry U.S. soldiers are more at risk of reprisal and hope this doesn’t lead to more American deaths.