Soldier who killed 16 Afghans says he was ‘consumed by war’

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) – The U.S. soldier who murdered 16 Afghan villagers in 2012 says he had lost compassion for Iraqis and Afghans over the course of his four combat deployments.

The News Tribune newspaper of Tacoma obtained an eight-page letter Staff Sgt. Robert Bales wrote to the senior Army officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord requesting that his life sentence be reduced. He said his mind was “consumed by war,” and that after being in prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for two years he now understands that what he thought was normal was the farthest thing from it.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza rejected the request to overturn Bales’ conviction or modify his sentence.

Bales, an Ohio native and father of two from Lake Tapps, Washington, shot 22 people in all, including 17 women and children, during pre-dawn raids on two villages in Kandahar Province in March 2012.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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