Nothing illustrates the interlinking between the class war at home and the imperial wars abroad more starkly than the example of Staff Sgt. Roger Bales, the Army sniper accused last month of killing 17 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children.
Three days before his shooting rampage, the house where Bales’s wife and two children lived in Tacoma, Washington, put up for a short sale, $50,000 underwater. This was exactly what Sgt. Bales and his wife feared might happen if the Army forced him into a fourth battlefield deployment.
The last time Sgt. Bales deployed — to Iraq in August 2009 — Bank of America foreclosed on the family’s rental property, a duplex that his wife had bought in 1999 that was also underwater. Within months of BofA taking their duplex, Sgt. Bales’s Humvee hit an IED and flipped over, causing brain and head injuries. On a previous deployment to Iraq, Sgt. Bales had one of his feet partially blown off by a bomb.
Before being deployed to Afghanistan last year, he and his wife had been assured that the Army wouldn’t force Sgt. Bales, a highly-decorated hero who’d already sacrificed his physical wellbeing and his family’s financial health, back into combat.
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