Monday, July 03, 2006

Midland's Finest

And you thought George Bush was the only one they had to brag about. Turns out Steven D. Green, the ex-Army soldier arrested for the March rape of a 15-year old Iraqi girl and the murder of her and her family, also previously released with an honorable discharge for a "personality disorder", calls Midland his voting district, too.

citrapa2So far we know that Green and 3 (possibly 4) others are accused of conspiring to rape the girl, Abeer Qasim Hamza, and that according to witnesses, she told her mother she was afraid of them, and mom was planning on sending her away for awhile. We know the family was killed, including Abeer's 7 year old sister, and that Abeer was gang-raped before being shot to death and partially burned in an attempt to destroy the evidence. From the Army Times:
"Investigators believe American soldiers spent nearly a week plotting an attack in which they raped an Iraqi woman, then killed her and her family in an insurgent-ridden area south of Baghdad, a U.S. military official said Saturday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said the attack appeared “totally premeditated” and that the soldiers apparently “studied” the family for about a week before carrying out the attack."
We know that Green belonged to the 502nd Infantry Regiment, two of whose soldiers were kidnapped and reportedly tortured and beheaded. And we know that, according to many of the reports so far, the only reason this story came to light after being shrugged off by the military as just another incident of civil war, is that somebody in the regiment, feeling guilt upon hearing of the fate of their brothers-in arms, blew the whistle. Let me repeat that: the only reason we are hearing of this now is because two of our own soldiers died brutally in possible retribution for the crime.

And these are serious charges. Allegedly these men, whom uncountable magnetic ribbons exhort us daily to "support", cold-bloodedly planned and executed a sexual attack on a child, then murdered an entire family to cover it up. The sentence for this could be death, but up till now the sentences received by those who crossed the line in Iraq have been relatively light, even when their actions resulted in murders.

It's hard to believe anything but self-interest could persuade the Pentagon to seek such drastic punishments, and self-interest raises its head when publicity sneaks in the room and rouses the yapping dogs of public opinion. The only thing that has kept this from turning into the most horrendous blowback ever is the fact that the surviving relatives, shamed by the shameful acts these men inflicted on a girl not much more than a child, have kept the funeral proceedings quiet. But vengeance in Iraq isn't choosy--it will happily take anyone down. The reverberations of what these men have done will fall hardest on their innocent comrades.

It's a serial killer's paradise out there now. Anyone can get away with anything by simply blaming it on someone else.
"Until the two soldiers came forward, officers had believed the family's death was due to sectarian violence in the town."
And the only reason such alibis hold water is that the level of brutalization has ratcheted up so high and the inhibitions on such behavior have fallen so low that we know we are all capable of anything now:
"The incident, Jeffrey, involves the seven Marines and one Navy Corpsman who are alleged in a pre-dawn raid to have pulled a 52-year-old Iraqi man from his home in this little village just west of Baghdad, near Abu Ghraib, actually, to march him out of house, to bind him, bind his feet and his hands, and to shoot him.

And then, basically, what they did was they buried him and then planted a shovel and an AK-47 automatic rifle next to him to make it look like he had been an insurgent who was killed in a gun battle. That was the story the Marines originally told. That quickly unraveled, however, and these guys have now been charged."
The crack of self-justification we've been smoking has intoxicated us to such a point that we (and our enemies) abandon ourselves to a joy of butchery and cruelty so soul-consuming that we literally know no bounds anymore. This ceased to be a war long ago. It has become merely a contest of atrocities, like every other conflict fought by men in the past 35 years. We can barely bring ourselves to blink at the most outrageous horrors, and even if we do, we quickly suffocate our first decent impulses beneath a blanket of defensive, pontificating cant and call it patriotism.

Is this really the freedom you want to support with your tax money, and your children's blood, and your preachers' sermons, while your brothers and sisters in New Orleans and on the streets and in the schools of the slums do without for want of the price of a fighter jet? Is this the America you want to sing about when they set off the fireworks? Are these the acts you want to remember when you look up at a flag and put your hand over your heart? Is this the kind of behavior you prefer to that of some kid who, once a decade, decides to burn a flag to make a point, so much so that you'd rather save the flag with a constitutional amendment than to save it by standing up and saying "NO!" to one more death in your name?

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