Monday, July 03, 2006

Another GI atrocity?

The WaPo reports today:

"A former soldier discharged because of a 'personality disorder' was accused in federal court Monday of executing an Iraqi family so he and other troops could rape and murder a young woman they had been eyeing at a traffic checkpoint. The Army is charging a former Pfc. Steven Green with the murder and rape of a 15-year old Iraqi girl."

Although, we don't know what Green's story is yet, beyond the "personality disorder," he remains innocent until proven guilty, if these allegations are true, this would be by far the worst thing to happen to our image in the eyes of Iraqis -- who we're supposedly there to protect --- and the larger Muslim world since the war began. Rape is probably the most serious offense in the Islamic religion bar none and such crimes committed by our soldiers, who are already viewed as crusader infidels by many in Iraq, are sure to inspire calls for bloody revenge and further recruitment for insurgents.

I don't want to prejudge Private Green, but this is clearly not a case of young soldiers "snapping" under fire (not that I'm buying that story regarding Haditha). Apparently, Green and possibly three other soldiers in his unit had had their sights set on this girl for weeks before they did what they did. And besides the premeditated nature of the act, they compounded the crime by trying to cover it up by killing witnesses -- her entire family -- and then attempting to destroy the evidence by burning her body.

As atrocities go, this one is pretty horrific and is totally inexcusable. Naturally, there will be some people out there trying to make excuses, like Michael Savage's listeners. I understand as Americans we don't want to believe our young fighting people could possibly be capable of doing such things, but some of them obviously are. Instead of blaming the "liberal media” or even the military justice system for the actions of these alleged killers, we should be trying to figure out what exactly happened and then moving swiftly to severely punish the guilty. Dismissing these acts as just something that happens in every war does the vast majority of our troops in Iraq doing the right thing and following the rules a great disservice.

I support our troops as much as anyone -- my father was not only a Marine but also a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne -- but I don't let my sympathy for the majority of the good people over there trying to cope with a very bad situation cloud my judgment when it comes to cold blooded murder. If we're going to pound our chests, wave the flag and tell the world on how great we are we have to walk the walk. We can't on the one hand say the people we're fighting are pure evil, but on the other hand give our troops a pass when they commit such evil acts themselves. Anyone who defends American soldiers who torture, rape or kill innocent civilians don't understand what it is this country stands for and what our people are fighting and dying to defend.


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