"Every American soldier I've known... has been a very fine human being and I can tell you that on a number of occasions in south-east Asia in tsunamis in Aceh and all over the world where the happiest sight on the horizon is a US soldier." Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, Q&A, 12/4/10
OK, so he may have blown 16 sleeping Afghan men, women and children to kingdom come, but you know what, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is not only the kind of gentleman you'd expect to find in the US army, but a Middle East scholar as well:
"Army comrades described him as a model soldier who was polite, professional and exceptionally cool under fire. A student of Middle Eastern history and customs, he often admonished younger GIs to treat non-combatants with courtesy and respect. 'Some guys have a pretty negative attitude, but Bales wasn't like that at all', said Captain Chris Alexander, who served with Bales in Iraq. 'He said there was no need to be a jerk. Be polite, be professional, and have a plan to kill everyone if you need to'..." (Model soldier's growing stress over cash crisis, Joby Warrick, Washington Post/Daily Telegraph/ New York Times/ Sydney Morning Herald, 19/3/12)
His Middle East studies taught him that Middle Easterners, whether Iraqis or Afghans, may variously be described as 'sand niggers', 'rag heads', 'dune coons', or 'terrorist shits who deserve to die'. They also made him fluent in such languages as Arabic and Pashto, with words such as 'habibs' and 'hajjis' tripping off his tongue. But that's not all. Bales' studies have really honed his capacity for critical thought, resulting in the following piercing insights:
"Bales offered his own insights on the war in Iraq after he fought in a battle in Najaf in 2007 in which 250 enemy fighters died, in clashes described by some as 'apocalyptic'. 'I've never been more proud to be a part of this unit than that day', he said afterwards in a testimony collected for a military training college. 'We discriminated between the bad guys and the non-combatants and then afterwards we ended up helping the people that 3 or 4 hours before were trying to kill us. That's the real difference between being an American as opposed to being a bad guy, someone who puts his family in harm's way like that'." (ibid)
Move over, Alan Dershowitz!