A disgrace for the U.S. Army, the 2010 Maywand District killings should have entered the public consciousness like Vietnam’s My Lai massacre; they involved a rogue platoon of Kandahar-stationed soldiers who murdered at least three innocent Afghans (including a 15-year-old who was farming) simply for kicks. The self-described “kill team” planted weapons on the corpses to make them appear like combatants. Only when a guilt-ridden member, Spc. Adam Winfield, began to fear for his own safety did the crimes come to light, leading to 11 convictions.
Dan Krauss’s atmospheric documentary scores interviews with the soldiers (save the vicious-sounding ringleader, a disappointing absence) and also makes room for the comments of Winfield’s terrified parents, defending their compromised son as best they can. But the film is weak on its essential indictment, vaguely suggesting a mood of battlefield boredom without quite pinpointing the pathology that would lead military men to squeeze the trigger pell-mell.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf