White House Says No Change In Afghan Strategy

The White House says they are not changing their strategy in Afghanistan despite the deaths of 16 Afghan civilians reportedly gunned down by an American soldier Sunday.


The White House says they are not changing their strategy in Afghanistan despite the deaths of 16 Afghan civilians reportedly gunned down by an American soldier Sunday.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said a variety of factors will be considered when determining the pace of withdrawal, still on schedule to be completed in late 2014, but would not comment on whether the civilian massacre would be one of those factors.

A 38-year-old soldier allegedly slipped off his base in the middle of the night and systematically went house-to-house in two nearby villages, shooting sleeping civilians in cold blood. Nine children are among those killed.

Villagers said after the soldier killed his victims, he wrapped them up in blankets and lit them on fire.

The soldier, a member of the Army's Stryker Brigade, was met by a U.S. patrol upon returning to the base and taken into custody. Afghan troops had spotted the soldier leaving the base and alerted U.S. troops, who dispatched the patrol after conducting a headcount and confirming the soldier was missing.

The Taliban issued a statement after the massacre, calling for revenge against "sick-minded American savages."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded an explanation from military as to how the killings could have happened. The Afghan government is calling for a public trial.

Though his name has not been released, the military says the suspect is from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. He is an experienced soldier who has been deployed multiple times to Iraq, though this was only his first tour in Afghanistan.

Investigators are now looking into his mental stability and medical history, both of which are typically reviewed before a soldier deploys. A motive is unknown at this time.

U.S. officials, including President Obama, have expressed horror at the killings and have promised justice. Obama emphasized the soldier's actions did not represent the "exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan."

The massacre comes at a particularly perilous time in U.S.-Afghan relations, on the heels of deadly protests after several Qurans were burned as trash by American troops, and only two months after a Youtube video revealed Marines urinating on bodies of dead Afghans. Attempts at damage control are expected to do little good, and the U.S. is readying itself for another round of protests.

Ahead of the statement by the White House, the military said what it will not do in the wake of the killings is retreat.

"What is not going to happen is that the mission is going to suffer as a result of this. It's tragic, a very tragic incident, but it would be a far greater tragedy to let this affect what we are doing at large in the country," Captain John Kirby with the Department of Defense said.

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  • by psst on Mar 12, 2012 at 08:44 PM
    Still waiting for a frakking apology from the murder of those American soldiers from a couple weeks ago afghan president jackazz.
  • by Dano Location: CS on Mar 12, 2012 at 02:14 PM
    When will Mr. Karzai be concluding his investigations into the uniformaed Afghans that have been gunning down US Servicemembers? Is this going to delay his work on that, or will it happen after he helps OJ find the real killers? The White House has a strategy? What is it? All I have seen is apologizing for everything, putting ROEs in place that keep our troops from really taking out some T-ban and A-Q players, and asking our troops to pick up the soap in a prison shower room.
  • by Strange Location: Fort Carson on Mar 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM
    AA Flight 77 - All 5 terrorist were from Saudi Arabia. UA Flight 93 - One terrorist from Lebanon and the other 3 from Saudi Arabia. UA Flight 175 - Two terrorist from United Arab Emirati (UAE) and the other 3 from Saudi Arabia. UA Flight 11 - 1 terrorist from Egypt and the other 4 are from Saudi Arabia. You keep calling the Afghan people terrorist but the actual people who harmed America are not from there. Somehow the Saudis, Egyptian, Lebanese, and UAE all escaped blame. The Taliban is all over the Middle East and Asia, yet we go into Iraq and Afghanistan. We made a folk hero out of bin Laden. Now we are killing women and children while attempting to justify it. It is your hate that makes you weak. The people with the oil and money attacked us and we go fight the smallest, poorest and weakest country. You want to be tough? Go get the guy who hit you, not his little sister.
  • by E on Mar 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM
    Revenge? That's not very Muslim of them.
  • by ablkguy Location: springs on Mar 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM
    they started it. we shall end it. how many innocent americans have they killed? were not even close. get down or lay down. every country was and will continue to be built after bloodshed. it's who's in control that matters. GO USA GO!!!!!!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 12, 2012 at 08:31 AM
  • by hmm on Mar 12, 2012 at 08:30 AM
    We burned holy books that Prisoners used to send messages back and forth it was the right thing to do. Obama apologized as usual which was the WRONG thing to do. They attacked our troops for no reason after the burning. The civilian casualties from our soldier was justified payback. Threaten us again and harm more of our soldiers and the bloodshed over the weekend will look like a nice walk in the park. Our soldiers have had enough of the liberal ROE that defend the enemy and get them killed. Obama stop apologizing, karzai has not apologized for the crimes the afghan citizens committed/murder against our soldiers. so death to the Afghan people is the only sane solution. Watch your backs service men and women for Obama despises you as well you can thank him for voting for the cowardly ROE you have to follow against an enemy who uses it against you.
  • by Vow on Mar 12, 2012 at 08:26 AM
    If you constantly vow revenge for every little thing thing, doesn't that cheapen the whole vow revenge deal. Reminds me of that dead puppet terrorist. No matter you do do he says, I kill you.
    • reply
      by AQUBHAR on Mar 12, 2012 at 10:15 AM in reply to Vow
      They will keel you for that!
  • by Dilbert Location: CS on Mar 12, 2012 at 08:21 AM
    It is time to withdraw, spraying down that pesky poppy with herbicide as we leave.
  • by JA Location: USA on Mar 12, 2012 at 08:10 AM
    This is just another scapegoat our government will use to blame taliban for the real terrorist impending actions on our soil here in the usa. People get ready for nuclear and or biological warfare, thus leading to martial law. Open your eyes american people! There's a huge sick agenda our government has to control the 99%. One world order is unfolding.
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