Monday, July 10, 2006

More on Steven D. Green:

The WaPo reports:

"Military investigators brought charges against four more American soldiers accused of taking part in the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the killing of three members of her family, the U.S. military said Sunday. The four active-duty soldiers from the Army's 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division are accused of conspiring with Steven D. Green, a former private, who was charged with rape and murder in federal court earlier this month."

The more I hear about this Steven Green story, the angrier I become. I don't want to prejudge the young man before he has had his day in court, but if the allegations against him and the three other soldiers arrested on Saturday are proven to be true (two sergeants among them), this will most certainly go down as one of the most shameful episodes of the entire war (and that's saying something!). The Iraqi public reaction seems to be muted thus far, as they're probably more focused on not getting hauled off and shot by roving bands of gunmen, but that doesn't mean our military hasn't been disgraced by this despicable incident all the same.

There are several questions yet to be answered, for me first and foremost being: Where were these soldier's supervisors? Who signed off on them going out all by themselves into the "triangle of death" in one Humvee? As I understand it, it is SOP to travel in convoys of three Humvees minimum. (This procedure was clearly being ignored, based on what happened to Pfc.'s Tucker and Menacha) And how did no one notice these guys loading up their vehicle with beer? Where did they get the beer? Did any one see them when they returned from their "mission," drunk and with blood all over their clothes?

This is just mind boggling to me!

I know the 101st Airborne has been notorious for morale and discipline problems for decades, so maybe this is just the way they do business, but what about the Army's performance in this case? News reports say that Green was honorably discharged two months ago, after serving for 11 months, for an "antisocial personality disorder." Is this condition something that suddenly appeared after he was deployed, or was he recruited with this problem from the beginning? I know the Army is having trouble getting warm bodies into the ranks, so did they detect this disorder and just pass him through? Is this a result of lowered recruiting standards? If it is, it shouldn't come as a great surprise to anyone if things like this keep happening.

Whether we'll ever know what the Army knew or not is anyone's guess. There is probably no record of Green's mental or physical condition before he was deployed, because Rummy decided to ignore the law Congress passed after the Gulf War requiring the Pentagon to examine all troops before being sent into combat. Richard Weidman from Vietnam Veterans of America testified to the House Committee on Veteran's Affiars in 2003 that:

"Although required by law to take pre-deployment physicals for all troops prior to deployment, including blood samples to be preserved, and a complete psycho-social examination the Department of Defense (DoD) has deliberately failed to obey the law. . .It would seem to a layman that these individuals, by ignoring the law, have violated their oath of public office. . .Instead of fulfilling the intent of the law and ensuring that a "baseline" for every deployed service member is taken, great effort seems to be expended on trying to convince the media and the Congress that laughable questionnaires utterly useless from a scientific epidemiological viewpoint is somehow meeting the clear mandates of the law."

They sure were eager to get rid of him, though, setting him loose on the American population at large without any warning. I'd be interested to know what prompted the Army to discharge him and what they thought he might be capable of. If he was too dangerous to be in Iraq, what made the Army feel it was ok to let him walk free on the streets of America?

Something about this whole thing stinks to high heaven. You can't tell me these four were just operating free-lance, that's not the way the military works. Someone with a higher pay grade had to know something wasn't kosher. What's really frightening about this is that if it hadn't been for that one soldier who was so distraught about the deaths of his comrades, Tucker and Menacha, we might have never found out about this and Green and co. would have gotten away with this scot-free.


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