A few days ago, a plane carrying members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment touched down in Indiana. The 303 soldiers who were on board are members of an Army National Guard unit that has just finished a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
The soldiers, dressed in their combat uniforms and carrying their weapons, bounded down the stairs from the plane. They shook the hands of the generals who had gathered there to welcome them home. It was the middle of the night and raining, but none of them seemed to mind. It had been a long trip and a long year.
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been officially been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder for the March 11 killings of unarmed men, women and children in Southern Afghanistan, The Associated Press just reported from Kabul.
It adds that "premeditated murder is a capital offense and if convicted, Bales could be sentenced to death."
Along with the word that U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be formally charged with murder today for the deaths of unarmed Afghan men, women and children on March 11, was the news that the death toll had grown to 17. Until Thursday afternoon, U.S. military officials had consistently said that 16 people were killed.
As The Associated Press has reported, officials made the change without offering a public explanation for it.