Fox News' Shep Smith spoke forcefully against the war in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Smith's comments were part of a long-running crusade by the anchor against many aspects of American foreign policy. Among other things, Smith has said that the killing of Osama bin Laden was "illegal," that the American government "lies" about its policies, and that it conducts military affairs with little consent from Congress or the public.
On Wednesday, Smith was reflecting on the recent alleged massacre of 16 Afghan civilians --including nine children-- by an American soldier, who is said to have gone from house to house, shooting people and then burning many of their bodies. The U.S. military has since announced that the soldier, who is still unnamed, has been flown out of Afghanistan.
Smith spoke to Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman for the Pentagon. Saying that Afghans were "quite understandably livid" about the massacre, he wondered why the soldier's name has not been released.
Smith pointed out that, in the U.S., if someone "is accused of kicking a dog, that person's name is available ... and yet, an American soldier is accused of murdering 16 innocent civilians, and his identity is protected ... if we were in the regular judicial system in America, we would know within a matter of minutes or hours at most. Why is this man, accused of these heinous crimes, being protected in this way?"
Kirby said that the military was simply following standard procedure, in not releasing the name. Smith then broadened his critique.
"For how long can the Pentagon carry on a military operation which the American people have said in recent polls they do not support in a majority, and which the polls suggest whatever support remains is eroding by the day?" he asked. "How can we continue this campaign ... where our fighting men and women are dying every day for reasons which, quite frankly, escape most Americans?"
Scenes from Afghanistan in recent days. Warning: graphic images.