President Barack Obama has quite an incident on his hands. Yesterday, an American soldier stationed in Afghanistan wandered off base and apparently killed 16 villagers. The sergeant is married with two children and has already served three tours in Iraq. He’s now been in Afghanistan since December, serving his first deployment there.
His job was to assist a special operations unit that was engaged in a village stability project. Ironically, these operations are seen as NATO’s best chance to help the U.S. forces to transition out of Afghanistan.
In response to the tragedy, both President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to express their condolences. Panetta said that they would “bring those responsible to justice.”
In a statement from The White House on Sunday, President Obama said,
"This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan."
The timing of the shooting couldn’t have been worse, as the controversy over the burning of Muslim holy books on a U.S. base had recently calmed down. This recent incident could definitely create a more urgent feeling that U.S. troops need to leave Afghanistan, while also creating even more tension between America’s soldiers and the Afghan people.