One night in March of 2012, US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales walked out of Camp Belambay and shot and killed 16 innocent Afghan civilians in two nearby villages. Yesterday, he stood in court and fully admitted to his crimes— without offering any explanation as to why he did them.
As part of Bales' guilty plea, he was required to stand and discuss the crime publicly. In the Washington Post, Peter Finn calls Bales surreal admissions in court yesterday "unemotional, almost rote," and ultimately unsatisfying. His explanation for shooting and killing 16 men, women, and children, and burning ten of the bodies with kerosene: “I’ve asked that question a million times, and there is not a good reason in the world for the horrible things I did.”
Bales served four combat tours before his rampage. His attorneys say he suffered a traumatic brain injury. That could surely be a plausible contributing factor to what he did. But I imagine this one will draw more attention:
The stocky and balding Bales, who wore his Army service uniform to the hearing, told the court Wednesday that before the killings he had been consuming the steroid Stanozolol for several months to get “fitter and leaner” and had a supply of four bottles, which allowed him to use the drug three times a week...
Prosecutors noted that Bales said in a signed stipulation of facts that he took the drugs to “get huge and to get jacked.”
We may never know why Robert Bales did what he did. But all the pieces are in place for rampant speculation of almost limitless varieties.