Disturbing news from Afghanistan: The US Army says it has opened a crimi nal probe into the role of a group of American soldiers in the deaths of three Afghan civilians.
Equally disturbing: Those American soldiers can no longer assume that they'll be treated fairly.
Details from the probe are few (as they probably should be) -- but Pentagon brasshats are certainly operating from a place of limited credibility when it comes to prosecuting GIs.
Witness their willingness to railroad three Navy SEALs (since exonerated) on trumped-up charges that they gave an Iraqi terrorist in their custody a fat lip.
In that case, a prosecutor actually argued in court that convictions were needed to show "why we're better than the terrorists."
What's more, there are troubling signs that operations in Afghanistan as a whole are entering silly season.
But top US commanders in the theater now appear to be on the verge of making timidity a virtue.
A command spokesman confirmed this month that brass were considering issuing a special decoration for "courageous restraint" -- i.e., "where [soldiers] refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians."
What utter nonsense.
Obviously, discretion is part of valor. But it's not hard to see killing the enemy start to slide further down the list of Pentagon objectives.
You can bet the Taliban and al Qaeda have noticed.