Report Offers New Details on 2012 Afghanistan Massacre

US Central Command released a 569-page “command climate report” on Tuesday that looked at what Army SSgt. Robert Bales’ superiors knew before his murderous rampage in Kandahar province in 2012. Bales, an infantryman assigned to JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., pleaded guilty to killing 16 Afghan civilians, including many women and children, in March 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in August 2013, but the investigation on whether anything could have been done to stop the most horrific crime committed by an American in Afghanistan remained classified until Tuesday. One month before the killing spree, Bales assaulted an Afghan truck driver—an incident that was never reported to camp leaders, states the report. Bales, who served four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, joked with fellow soldiers that he wasn’t racist, “unless you count Afghanis or Iraqis,” states the report. Other incidents also remained unreported, such as his erratic behavior and steroid use. Although the report found commanders at Camp Belambai should have had “much greater situational awareness of the discipline of its members,” it also found the command climate to be unrelated to the murders. (Read th?e full report; Caution, large-sized file.)