The Army Secretary Featured A Mass Murderer In The Service’s Suicide Prevention Campaign

Former Army staff sergeant Robert Bales is serving a life sentence for murdering 16 Afghan civilians, including seven children, in a … Continued

The Army Secretary Featured A Mass Murderer In The Service’s Suicide Prevention Campaign

Former Army staff sergeant Robert Bales is serving a life sentence for murdering 16 Afghan civilians, including seven children, in a village outside Kandahar in early March 2012. Now he's the accidental new face of National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.

  • In a Saturday Facebook post, Army Secretary Mark Esper posted a (now deleted) message reminding soldiers that September marks National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Which would be fine, except the attached photo features Bales with a smirk on his face:

  • Bales, who joined the Army in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, is considered one of the most notorious war criminals of the Global War on Terror.
  • “In the early morning hours of March 11, 2012, Bales left his base, Camp Belambay, in Kandahar, armed with an M4 carbine and M9 pistol, and headed to a nearby village, where he killed four people, including a child, and assaulted six others,” according to McClatchy. “He returned to base for more ammunition before walking to another village, where he killed a dozen more, mainly women and children, in their beds.”
  • In June, Bales appealed to President Donal Trump to commute his sentence. The status of Bales' appeal to the White House remains unclear at this time.
The Army Secretary Featured A Mass Murderer In The Service’s Suicide Prevention Campaign
Jared Keller

Jared Kelleris the executive editor of Task & Purpose. His writing has appeared in Aeon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post, among other publications. Contact the author here.

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