Mendte: Army Sgt. Robert Bales

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(NEW YORK) Sitting in a cell, in isolation, at the federal prison in Leavenworth Kansas, is army war veteran Robert Bales, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder

The pentagon is seeking the death penalty for Bales.

The army says Bales shot and stabbed 17 people to death, including nine children in an Afghan village.

But when Bales go to trial; the pentagon should also be put on trial for it has been well aware, for over a decade, what might happen if they keep sending young men and women into battle.

Thirty-eight year old Robert Bales was on his fourth deployment in Iraq and then Afghanistan.  He lost part of his foot and he was sent back.  He suffered a brain injury and he was sent back and then he snapped.

In the civil war they called it an Exhausted Heart, in World War I they called it Shell Shock, the Pentagon studied the condition in 2010 and found that multiple deployments result in a 'growing risk of soldiers engaging in violent crimes.'

And still 107,000 troops, many of them National Guard troops, have been deployed at least 3 times since 2001.  Some as many as 20 times.

Without a draft; we simply don't have the troops to sustain one long war let alone two.

This doesn’t excuse Robert Bales; if found guilty he should be punished, even though it is reported he has little memory of the events and never showed any signs of this behavior in the past.

But we can't ignore the stress we put on the men and women who fight for us.  We are asking too much of them.  We should go to war only when we are threatened and leave quickly after the mission is completed.  We can start by bringing home and giving them jobs.