The images capture the darker side of a decade of war: A smiling Marine hurls a puppy off a cliff. Airmen cheer as a goat is beaten to death with a metal pipe. Scout snipers pose before a flag bearing the symbol of the Nazi SS runes. Marines urinate on bodies of dead insurgents.
Each time such images appear, they raise questions about how they happened. How are American troops capable of such acts? How did leadership tolerate an environment that allowed them?
“You don’t get a pass for acting stupidly because you’ve been in a war,” said retired Army colonel and Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs... the bigger issue is the lack of leadership, according to Jacobs. Where, he asked, are the noncommissioned officers, the lieutenants, the company commanders, and the battalion commanders?