Today's New York Times profiles the leader of the Army unit in which five members, including Pfc. Andrew Holmes of Boise, are accused of war crimes against civilians in Afghanistan. Army documents allege the five men were part of a "kill team" that allegedly murdered three Afghan civilians for sport and collected body parts from their victims as souvenirs.
The leader of the unit and the alleged kingpin of the "kill team" was Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, described in stark contrast by sources in today's report (New York Times, "Young soldier both Revered and Reviled, Oct. 5, 2010). According to the Times, soldiers said Gibbs threatened at least one subordinate with death if he ever disclosed the killings. In Gibbs' hometown of Billings, Mont., a friend said "Calvin Gibbs is not a murderer. I don't want people hearing about finger bones and thinking they know Calvin, because they don't."
Gibbs, Holmes and three others await hearings to determine if the case will go to a court martial. If convicted, the soldiers could face the death penalty.