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How could the “Maywand District killings” (or the “kill team” war crimes) have happened? Jeremy Morlock was convicted of premeditated murder, but numerous other “questionable kills” in his brigade, committed by other soldiers in other units in 2010, were never investigated.

The brigade commander went by the name Hellraiser, and an internal army investigation revealed that the officers of the brigade were hopelessly confused as to their mission. No one knew if they should obey the chain of command and "do COIN," in other words, "sit down for tea with the village elders”, or carry out Hellraiser’s and the army’s traditional counter-guerrilla doctrine. Hellraiser’s refusal to carry out COIN doctrine led to complete social dysfunction in the brigade. Normal army standards of discipline, drug testing, group cohesion, mentoring, counseling, among other standards, were abandoned.

Prof. Mestrovic connects the social dysfunction in Hellraiser’s brigade with Morlock’s crime. He shows that COIN doctrine was treated as a joke in the brigade while a “Strike and Destroy” mentality was dominant.

This inside account relies upon an internal army investigation into the command climate of Hellraiser’s brigade, conducted by Brigadier General Stephen Twitty, along with court-martial transcripts, and direct interviews. This book analyzes one war crime incident as an example of the general failure, or refusal, to implement COIN doctrine in Afghanistan.

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