Well, it seems that the dirty laundry is out on SSG Robert Bales. DUI, hit and run, assault and supposedly investment fraud before he even enlisted are on his rap sheet. It doesn't surprise me - the Army and the military as a whole made a lot of concessions to fill slots when both Iraq and Afghanistan were going strong. Criminal? Morbidly obese?? Old? Stupid? Tattoos up to your eyeballs? Permanent profile? Come on in. We took anyone and everyone and it seems now that we're paying the price. I mean, look at this guy. Look at his chin strap. I saw this picture and immediately thought "wow, I'm glad that guy isn't my squad leader."
I can sympathize with SSG Bales a little bit - yeah, it sucks here. The pay is shit. But, welcome to the military. No one wants to be here anymore than the next guy on the line. Everyone needs more money - that's not an Army problem or an American problem, it's a human problem. But that's no excuse to not seek help, no matter how shitty your life is. We are constantly being evaluated by multiple offices about our level of combat stress - the chaplain is here, there's a combat stress clinic here, the behavioral health officer comes to the FOB. There are a hundred outlets for your problems. There are thousands of grants and loans and relief programs for people in his financial situation. Not utilizing them is foolish. Almost as foolish as walking off the FOB and massacring a village. Fry him and fry his command for deploying a dude that is so obviously burned out.