Sunday, July 09, 2006
Yes, it is that horrible, nauseating case of rape and murder, allegedly perpetrated by 101st Airborne veteran Steven Green and his fellow soldiers, an incident that supplements Abu Ghraib and Haditha as the legacy of the US military presence in Iraq:
"Never in my mind could I have imagined such a gruesome sight," Abu Firas Janabi said of the day in March when his cousin, Fakhriya Taha Muhsen; her husband, Kasim Hamza Rasheed; and their two daughters were slain and their farmhouse set ablaze.
"Kasim's corpse was in the corner of the room, and his head was smashed into pieces," he said. The 5-year-old daughter, Hadel, was beside her father, and Janabi said he could see that Fakhriya's arms had been broken.
In another room, he found 15-year-old Abeer, naked and burned, with her head smashed in "by a concrete block or a piece of iron."
"There were burns from the bottom of her stomach to the end of her body, except for her feet," he said.
"I did not believe what I was seeing. I tried to fool myself into believing I was in a dream. But the problem was that we were not dreaming. We put a piece of cloth over her body. Then I left the house together with my wife."
Three other soldiers allegedly particpated:
According to the court documents, Green was assigned to a traffic control point in Mahmudiyah, in south-central Iraq.
He spent time with comrades on the evening of March 11, drinking, and talking about having sex with a young Iraqi civilian who lived with her family about 200m away, prosecutors alleged.
Then, according to an affidavit which accompanied a warrant for Green's arrest, they changed into dark clothes and burst in on the house.
Green "covered his face with a brown t-shirt" according to one identified soldier who allegedly went to the house with Green and two others and who was cited in the document.
The FBI affidavit claims Green herded an adult male, an adult woman and a female child into a bedroom - before gunshots were heard.
"I just killed them. All are dead," Green is alleged to have told his comrades.
The young woman's terrible final moments can only be surmised from the neutral legalise of the affidavit, which cites photos taken at the crime scene - and appears to hint at an attempt to cover-up the alleged incident.
"These photos also depict the burned body of what appears to be a woman with blankets thrown over her upper torso," the documents alleged.
Iraqis are, however, already administering their own form of justice, without awaiting the results of the niceties of procedural due process:
A Justice Department affidavit says Green and other soldiers planned to rape a young woman who lived near the checkpoint they manned in Mahmoudiya.
The affidavit says three soldiers allegedly accompanied Green into the house, and another soldier was told to monitor the radio while the assault took place.
The affidavit says Green shot the woman's relatives, including a girl of about 5; raped the young woman; then fatally shot her.
Soldiers are quoted in the affidavit as telling investigators that Green and his companions then set the family's house afire, threw an AK-47 rifle used in the killings into a canal and burned their bloodstained clothing.
The military, in its news release Sunday, wrote that the charges are "merely an accusation. Those accused are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
While such vigilantism is deplorable, it becomes more understandable when one remembers the lenient 6 month sentence given to Sergeant Tracy Perkins for drowning Zaidoun Hassoun in Baghdad, a crime that was unsuccessfully concealed by the officers in his unit, much like the recent massacre in Haditha.
The American soldiers accused of raping an Iraqi girl and then murdering her and her family may have provoked an insurgent revenge plot in which two of their comrades were abducted and beheaded last month, it has been claimed.
Pte Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Pte Thomas Tucker, 25, were snatched from a checkpoint near the town of Yusufiyah on June 16 in what was thought at the time to be random terrorist retaliation for the killing of the al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an American air strike two days earlier.
Now, however, residents of the neighbouring town of Mahmoudiyah have told The Sunday Telegraph that their kidnap was carried out to avenge the attack on a local girl Abeer Qassim Hamza, 15, and her family. They claim that insurgents have vowed to kidnap and kill another eight American troops to exact a 10-to-one revenge for the rape and murder of the girl.
And, predictably, there is strong support for such action:
If Hamadi's comments are not troubling enough, consider this: he seems to have enthusiastically sought to be quoted by name. An incandescent anger is incinerating any remaining fear of US forces in the occupied Iraq of 2006.
Izzat Humadi, 29, a local taxi driver, said: "They started to bother us by winking at our women and we thought that something bad would happen. Now it has. The mujahideen will get more revenge for us and this small girl. We await the capture of another eight American soldiers."
As I have frequently posted here in recent months, it is no longer possible to understand the occupation militarily, economically or ideologically, rather, it has degenerated into an opportunity to freely indulge in sadistic violence against a populace paradoxically perceived by turns as abject, yet dangerous, an opportunity to gratify the most unspeakable sexual and emotional desires in an intoxicating atmosphere of peril. Not even the most radical voices on the left imagined that the immunity of US forces from Iraqi jurisdiction could inspire such an appalling creation.
It is the Calaveras County torture chamber of Leonard Lake and Charles Ng, replete with cameras to record their perversity, writ so large that it encompasses an entire country. Meanwhile, the peace movement persists in the misguided fetishization of American death, continuing to call for the recognition of morbid milestones, such as, most recently, the 2500th dead American soldier, politically appealing to our egocentrism as sociopaths run free.