Revenge Taken? -2

RapeThis is another comment of such import that I am making it a post in itself.  The possibility of a "cover-up" at platoon, company, battalion and higher seems  more and more likely for all the reasons that "Chris" gives below. 

Pat Lang


"For what its worth and taken with some reservation of judgement, some eyewitness descriptions in the islamic press include many more US soldiers involved…from 10 up to 15.

Many, many other questions here. Why is Green the only soldier named and in theory facing justice? at least one other rapist and several accomplices in the officially sanctioned version.

"Another soldier, referred to as KP1, also allegedly raped the girl.

According to accounts provided to investigators by other soldiers, Green and took several other soldiers with him to a nearby house intending to rape the woman. Green, according to an affidavit submitted by FBI Special Agent Gregor J. Ahlers in support of the arrest warrant, killed the woman’s parents and young sister, raped the woman along with another soldier, then shot her in the head and set her body on fire.

There were four soldiers who went to the residence, knowing that the plan was for the girl to be raped. They are referred to in the affidavit as SO12, SO13, Green and KP1. You can read the affidavit for Green’s arrest here. Page 6 lays out the events and players.

Amid the more disgusting details, provided by S012 and SO13 who have cooperated with authorities: They go to the house, SO13 stays in front on guard, the other three go in the house. K1 smacks the girl down in the living room, Green goes in the bedroom, shoots and kills her three family members. SO13, hearing the shots, comes in the house. Green comes back out to the living room where Green and KP1 rape the girl, after which, Green shoots her and kills her. SO12 tells SO13 to get rid of the AK-47 Green used to kill them all.

No NCO or officer above these privates named? How can privates change into civilian clothes and go on a local raid without a superior’s knowledge?

("he criminal complaint [FindLaw image] alleges that Green was the ringleader of the four soldiers who took part in the violence while a fifth soldier remained in a humvee to stand guard. The complaint also alleges that the soldiers had been drinking alcohol beforehand and had changed into civilian clothes, indicating that the alleged acts were not spontaneous).

What about his chain of command?

This guy and his pals were planning this attack for at least a week, and the woman’s family felt threatened enough beforehand to try to take preventative action.

Plus unit discipline obviously broke down to allow the capture of single paratroopers on guard/checkpoint duty, which should be very difficult under normal circumstances.

I’ll take the liberty of copying a comment from Rick at….

"Green had been in the Army eleven months by the time he was discharged for an unspecified personality disorder. The discharge occurred after the rape/murder. He was a problem for the command at platoon and company levels, and they got rid of him. Quietly, so as to not disturb the higher commanders. To discharge him it had to go through battalion S1 (Personnel.)

The three soldiers at the traffic control point were set up. Someone attacked the group and ran. Part of the group left to chase them, leaving the three troops at the traffic control point. One was killed, two were captured, tortured, beheaded and left to be found. These three soldiers were ~in the same platoon~ as Green had been. For purposes of payback, being in the same platoon as the rapist/murderers is the same as being in the extended family, so they were responsible to the extended family four Green killed.

The rape/murder very probably led to Green’s discharge, and was almost certainly known to everyone in his platoon, his company commander and first sergeant, the battalion commander and XO, and the Battalion Personnel section. This is at a minimum.

The hullabaloo caused by the capture of the two soldiers brought the entire U.S Army in the Iraq command out in force, and included – what was it? – some 6,000 soldiers searching for them over the weekend until the bodies were found? That tore to top off the cover up within the 502d bn. It was exposed in the debriefings after the deaths of the three soldiers.

I can understand your genteel use of the term "~may have caused~ the soldier’s kidnappings, beheadings." but for this to all happen in the same single platoon is just to unlikely to be a reasonable coincidence. Especially when connected to the discharge of the prime suspect for some unspecified "personality disorder" after he has only been in the Army for a total of eleven months. Gimme a break. Every bit of this stuff is connected. That discharge itself is very unlikely to have occurred to anyone. That it happened to the person identified as the prime suspect in a rape/murder shortly after the crime happened is too unreasonable to be a coincidence.

By the way, notice that Green was a high school dropout with a GED. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, he would not even have been allowed into the Army. The standards had to be lowered a lot just to get him in, and look what happened as a result. High school graduates are a lot less likely to be this kind of discipline problem. But the Army wasn’t making the enlistment quotas, remember?

I’d really like to know Green’s training and discipline record prior to March."

And another commenter, Tom, gives the FBI document a close read, noting that "Seeing a couple of comments about the possibility of an initial cover-up of the horrible incident in Mahmoudiya, I would note the following issues seem to be raised by a careful reading of the FBI Affidavit supporting the warrant for Steven Green’s arrest:
(1) para. 13 of the Affidavit indicates that "fifteen crime scene photos" had been provided to the Affiant by the Army’s CID, and further indicates that bodies appeared in the photos.
(2) since the actual rape and murder occurred during the evening of March 11, 2006 (paras. 8, 9 and 12) bodies would clearly have been removed from the scene of the crime before the "combat stress debriefing" of "on/about 06/20/2006" when the crime was "discovered (para. 6). If the crime scene photos predate the 6/20/06 debriefing, why were they taken, and if as part of an investigation, what did it conclude? Is anyone following up with a FOIA Request to get all relevant CID files?
(3) the references in the FBI Affidavit as to the initial US awareness of the incident are a little bit contradictory – – para. 5 states the incident was brought to the attention of US forces "about 1730, 03/12/2006" by "three unknown Iraqi males" while para. 12 indicates that notification was received from "an Iraqi National on 03/11/2006." If the incident indeed came to light on March 11, 2006, the very day of the alleged incident, what kind of follow-up was there?
(3) since the FBI affidavit para. 5 reference to the three unknown Iraqi males, continues that the incident occurred "in their house," and since news accounts have mentioned that the girl who was raped had three brothers who were not at home when the incident occurred, was the initial report made by those three brothers? If so, what did they say, especially in light of news reports now indicating that the young girl’s family had expressed fears for the safety of the girl because of advances by US troops?"

It seems to me there’s at least the possibility of a company-level coverup attempt that’s failed here."


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37 Responses to Revenge Taken? -2

  1. McGee says:

    As far as I can tell this has not really exploded in the Arab press as of yet. The Iraqi papers have actually tried to keep it off the front pages at the request of the Maliki government.
    When it does blow up (and it will very soon), soldiers stationed in Iraq (and by extension Afghanistan or anywhere else in the ME) better watch their backs closely. This could get very ugly in a hurry…

  2. Dan says:

    Of course this is the realm of speculation: But what i find very strange is that these 5 men were operating a traffic control point alone. They were in bandit territory proper and I have never seen a TCP operated by five soldiers or Marines alone anywhere in Iraq.
    Was there not in fact at least a second humvee? If so, that’s shocking. Was there a second humvee that didn’t report the shooting/partipate in the alleged coverup? Also shocking.
    If they were just the five soldiers in one truck, was this some kind of really stupid SOP for this company?
    I’m not entirely convinced by the eyewitness claims that the three ambushed soldiers became cut off when their comrades were lured away somehow. Were these three also on their own? Even if they weren’t, how did they get so separated from potential comrades that their attackers had the time to drag off two of them and mutilate them?
    Clearly bad leadership at the platoon and company level here, but how much higher?

  3. Dan says:

    Oh, and about the crime scene photos: This at least has a good explanation.
    The affadavit says that a group of Iraqi soldiers and four American soldiers went to the residence after the murder was reported to them.
    The affadavit says that at the time investigators believed the crime was carried out by Iraqis (well “anti-Iraqi forces” as the affadavit has it).
    While the afadavit doesn’t say so, this seems pretty clearly when the pictures were taken.

  4. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I have issues like that also.
    1-Havng been an enlisted soldier in a rifle platoon and then a platoon leader in a rifle platoon I do not understand how these men could have done this without everyone in the platoon knowing about it either in advance or shortly afterward. Those of you who have been in this kind of unit know that the relationship is so close that you can’t get away from these guys.
    2- What about the lieutenant platoon leader, the platoon sergeant and the squad leaders? Where the —- were they, on Mars?
    3- How did these men get off the FOB unobserved? Going into the “ville” in civilian clothes for a pizza?
    4- They had been drinking? How? What? I thought booze was a no, no in Iraq. Making it? Blackmarket from contractors or locals?
    5- The officers in this obvious cover-up probably thought correctly that it meant the end of their careers. Did they think that it would be a good idea to combine that with lifelong disgrace? pl

  5. Larry Mitchell says:

    This has to be the worst mess I have ever heard of. Is there any way that the US military can be effective from this point on in Iraq? If Murtha had a point several months ago about US military effectiveness in Iraq, does this event not clinch it? Won’t the new Iraq government have to distance itself from the US military in order to have any credibility at all with their countrymen?

  6. Dan says:

    Hey — On the booze, you can still get beer and cheap spirits all over baghdad.
    Soldiers aren’t supposed to drink, of course, but you hear about it all the time (though I’ve never seen it or been offered a drink, sadly).
    Again, the way it’s written in the afadavit they were out on a mission — to man “TCP1.”
    I guess maybe each division has it’s own procedures for traffic checkpoings. But they can’t be that different.
    In the exhaustive report on the shooting of the italian intelligence agent Calipari on the airport road in baghdad (who had helped free Guiliana Sgrena), there’s a discussion of the outlined procedures for a TCP in the 3rd ID’s published Field Standard Operating Procedures. 3ID’s procedures, at any rate call for both a search area and an overwatch area. The “minimum leader requirements” for setting one up are: map recon, mission briefing, safety briefing, and back brief to the commander or a designated rep.
    The procedures also calls for a gunner in a humvee keeping overwatch. In the Calipari incident, there were only two humvees and seven soldiers involved, a 2nd lt, staff sergeant, 2 sergeants, and three specialists. They were also in frequent radio contact with a captain, who was in his own truck in the area.
    The Calipari report has an annex discussing how worried he was having such a small group of soldiers in a static position for over 15 minutes, and kept calling into his TOC for permission to abandon the checkpoint.
    All the above may be irrelevant, but it’s worth keeping in mind how these things are typically done.

  7. Green Zone Cafe says:

    Yes, Colonel, there are no off-base passes for recreation in Iraq. Especially in Mahmoudiyah, which is one of the most dangerous areas. As far as liquor goes, Iraq is like one big duty free shop, it’s cheaper there than here. There are casual vendors among the Iraqis, and the contractors can always get it, although the Army and KBR have cracked down in the last year.
    It will be interesting but nauseating how they try to cover-up the cover-up.
    I guess they will stonewall behind Green’s medical privacy rights on the issue of his discharge for anti-social personality disorder, say the discharge was caused by something else, like killing stray cats or not taking showers or bad toilet habits.

  8. Christian Sporleder says:

    Original commenter here, just to clarify that much of my comment was from a thought provoking thread on, from Rick B, Scribe, and Tom.
    Much of my comment is synthesis to ask the obvious question about superiors, and other potential defendants – neither of which there is any sign of yet.
    Just don’t want to take sole credit.
    Thanks for continuing and deepening the discussion

  9. jonst says:

    I repeat what I wrote in a previous comment. This is a huge, unfolding, event. The army will cover this up, if the decide to do so, at its , and the nation’s peril. This is the canary in cold mine for the mission.
    It goes far beyond one crazy PFC. Evert thing about the Unit should be reviewed. Heads should roll. But I suspect they won’t. They will hide the dead ‘canary’and in the process raise the stakes of the next disaster.

  10. john says:

    Please excuse a digression from the direction of the discussion but McGee’s comment prompted me to take a quick at the Arabic press—a few headlines:
    Al-Jazeera – “Does the rape of an Iraqi teenager reflect the behavior of American forces?”
    Hayat – “Maliki ties the crimes of the Americans to their immunity; the Minister of Justice demands the abrogation of Bremer’s law”
    Middle East Online – “Maliki demands an investigation into the American soldiers’ rape of an Iraqi teenager”
    Al-Sharq al-Awsat – “Maliki wants Iraqi participation in the investigations of the rape and murder of ‘Abir”
    Al-Zaman – “Representative [female member of parliament] demands summoning Maliki and undertaking an Iraqi investigation – the American soldier admits raping the Iraqi [teenager] and murdering her along with her family in Mahmudiyah”
    The Hayat article claims American officials hid the crime for three months. Maliki apparently is/was in Kuwait. The story is getting play. Some articles are translations of or attributed to the WaPo, AP, and the FBI affidavit; most refer to the crime as premeditated murder.
    A few comments following the story on al-Arabiya’s site:
    “Justice and freedom the American way
    I think that these crimes are not surprising from the greatest butchers and war criminals in history. Beginning with the ethnic cleansing of the Red Indians to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the massacres in Vietnam and blind allegiance to money, weapons as well as the Israeli veto for the sake of slaughtering the people, all of them, stealing their homeland once called Palestine, and deleting it from the map of the world. Finally, what is happening in Iraq; murder, destruction, rape, torture, and deviant sexual practices for the sake of spreading what is called justice, freedom, and democracy. Is there more justice and freedom than what the Iraqi people are suffering now from American hands?”
    Or the more direct
    “Oh Lord … When will this ignominy end? Where are you masters of the booby-trap vehicles or explosive vests … or is it for oppressed Iraqis [alone]? Is it justice, oh Lord, that protects the honor of [those] who brought us to this shame and dishonor and soil the honor of free men in the mud? Oh Lord, until when?”
    However, a few commentators are defending the US and believe our system of justice is superior to that found in Arab nations.

  11. Green Zone Cafe says:

    Thank you Chris for the original synthesis, and to John for the sampling of Arab reaction.

  12. McGee says:

    John re arab press comment:
    Immediately after sending my initial comment, realized I should have made clear that the local press and the Iraqi govt. are just now starting to push this story out. Really hasn’t got traction yet, and they did try very hard to keep it out of the news until the last few days when they had no choice as US media was running with it…

  13. Chris says:

    The Iraqi government would love this to go away. The cultural response to rape is dishonor, plus they look impotent in response.
    But here’s an interesting detailed account of the crime from an islamic source. Who knows how much creedence to give this report, the propanda angle is one reason the initial complaints, like so many, were disregarded. However the forthcoming “piece of cloth” detail was matched in other media reports about the crime scene photos.
    “Babil Province.
    Mafkarat al-Islam: eyewitness testimony about US rape, murder of Iraqi family in al-Mahmudiyah in March.
    In a dispatch posted at 11:55pm Makkah time Saturday night, Mafkarat al-Islam submitted its correspondents’ in-depth report on the rape and murder case in March that the American military have now been compelled to investigate.
    Mafkarat al-Islam noted that the number of rapes of Iraqi women committed by US occupation troops is already legion and continues to climb. Many women have been victimized within Abu Ghurayb and the other prisons; while many others have fallen prey to the rapists in American uniform who prowl the large prison that is occupied Iraq.
    But there is one case of rape that has come to the surface in recent days, which stands out for a savagery and brutality that goes beyond all bounds.
    On an afternoon in March 2006, a force of 10 to 15 American troops raided the home of Qasim Hamzah Rashid al-Janabi, who was born in 1970 and who worked as a guard at a state-owned potato storehouse. Al-Janabi lived with his wife, Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, and their four children – ‘Abir (born 1991), Hadil (born 1999), Muhammad (1998), and Ahmad (1996).
    The Americans took Qasim, his wife, and their daughter Hadil and put them in one room of their house. The boys Ahmad and Muhammad were at school since the time the Americans invaded the home was about 2pm. The Americans shot Qasim, his wife, and their daughter in that room. They pumped four bullets into Qasim’s head and five bullets in to Fakhriyah’s abdomen and lower abdomen. Hadil was shot in the head and shoulder.
    After that, the Americans took ‘Abir into the next room and surrounded her in one corner of the house. There they stripped her, and then the 10 Americans took turns raping her. They then struck her on the head with a sharp instrument – according to the forensic medical report – knocking her unconscious – and smothered her with a cushion until she was dead. Then they set fire to her body.
    The neighbor of the martyred family told the correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam:
    “At 2pm a force of Americans raided the home of the martyr Qasim, God rest his soul. They surrounded him and I heard the sound of gunfire. Then the gunfire fell silent. An hour later I saw clouds of smoke rising from the room and then the occupation troops came quickly out of the house. They surrounded the area together with Shi‘i ‘Iraqi National Guard’ forces, and they told us that terrorists from al-Qa‘idah had entered the house and killed them all. They wouldn’t let any of us into the house. But I told one of the ‘National Guard’ soldiers that I was their neighbor and that I wanted to see them so that I could tell al-Hajj Abu al-Qasim the news about his son and his son’s family, so one of the soldiers agreed to let me enter.
    “So I went into the house and found in the first room the late Qasim and his wife and Hadil. Their bodies were swimming in blood. Their blood had spewed out of their bodies with such force that it had flowed out from under the door of the room. I turned them over but there was no response; their lives were already gone.”
    The neighbor continued his account: “Then I went into ‘Abir’s room. Fire was coming out of her. Her head and her chest were on fire. She had been put in a pitiful position; they had lifted her white gown to her neck and torn her bra. Blood was flowing from between her legs even though she had died a quarter of an hour earlier, and in spite of the intensity of the fire in the room. She had died, may God rest her soul. I knew her from the first instant. I knew she had been raped since she had been turned on her face and the lower part of her body was raised while her hands and feet had been tied. By God, I couldn’t control myself and broke into tears over her, but I quickly extinguished the fire burning from her head and chest. The fire had burned up her breasts, the hair on her head, and the flesh on her face. I covered her privates with a piece of cloth, God rest her soul. And at that moment, I thought to myself that if I go out talking and threatening, that they would arrest me, so I took control of myself and resolved to leave the house calmly so that I could be a witness to tell the story of this tragedy.
    “After three hours the [American] occupation troops surrounded the house and told the people of the area that the family had been killed by terrorists because they were Shi‘ah. Nobody in town believed that story because Abu ‘Abir was known as one of the best people of the city, one of the noblest, and no Shi‘i, but a Sunni monotheist. Everyone doubted their story and so after the sunset prayers the occupation troops took the four bodies away to the American base. Then the next day they handed them over to the al-Mahmudiyah government hospital and told the hospital administration that terrorists had killed the family. That morning I went with relatives of the deceased to the hospital. We received the bodies and buried them, may God have mercy on them.”
    The neighbor went on: “Then we decided that we must not be silent so we asked the mujahideen to respond as quickly as possible. They responded with 30 attacks on the occupation in two days, bringing down more than 40 American soldiers. But our blood was still not cooled, so we decided to go to al-‘Arabiyah satellite TV to tell them the story since it is a station that broadcasts in Iraq. But al-‘Arabiyah paid no attention to us and said we were liars. They told us that their policy was to rely on official announcements issued by the American army, and that they were not able to get into a story over which they had no power. This was told to us by the al-‘Arabiyah correspondent Ahmad as-Salih. So we went to local newspapers and they slammed the doors in our faces because we are Sunnis and the rape victim was a Sunni girl. But the Resistance fighters told us that God does not allow the blood of any Muslim to be lost, and they told us to patiently persevere and we would see such a punishment for the blood of ‘Abir and her family, for the violation of the honor of our sister, a punishment that would make people’s hair stand on end.
    “I personally wasn’t surprised that Umm ‘Abir [‘Abir’s mother] came to me on 9 March 2006 and asked that ‘Abir be allowed to spend the night with my daughters. She was afraid because of the way the occupation troops looked at her when she went out to feed the cows. I agreed to that because there was an occupation forces’ command post just 15 meters from Qasim’s house, God rest his soul. But frankly I thought it unlikely that anything would happen to the girl because she was only something like 16 and she was just a little girl. But I agreed and she spent one night at our place and then went back to her home in the morning. We had no idea that the occupation troops would carry out heir crime in broad daylight.”
    The neighbor concluded: “The occupation troops came last Friday – that is, one day before the Mafkarat al-Islam correspondent visited the scene of the crime – and asked the people of the area to exhume the body of ‘Abir to conduct tests on it. And they also asked me to provide eyewitness testimony and I will go anywhere to make sure that justice is served.”
    Mafkarat al-Islam was the first news agency to disclose the crime committed by US troops on that March day in al-Mahmudiyah.

  14. john says:

    Wasn’t doubting you, just thought I would take a look see. The suppression of bad news is understandable both there and here. Crime took a long time to break, and the Arab press/blogosphere seems to have followed the US press–as you say, they were forced into reporting the crime. I imagine the spin wizards are still trying to figure how to minimize the overspray.

  15. W. Patrick Lang says:

    For the moment I am willing to believe that we just aren’t there yet. pl

  16. Mike says:

    Where is the link to the FBI affadavit?
    One idea that is gaining some traction – and might explain the hush-hush from the Platoon level on up through Battalion – is that this was a false flag op bad.
    More mystery: Initial reports said that Green and the others changed into civilian clothes before the attack. Why? Obviously, they did not intend to pass as American tourists. Obviously, authorites would not give a cover story for an atrocity commit by four Americans disguised as civilians. Obviously, the soldiers hoped to pass as Iraqis — as mujahideen.
    Was this whole operation a bungled psy-op? Were the soldiers instructed to commit an atrocity while posing as insurgents? That theory may be speculative — but to me, it makes more sense than does the official story.
    Think about it. A group of Ameican soldiers leave base — supposedly without their commanding officer’s knowledge. They are dressed as insurgents. They commit a despicable act. They return. Other military men immediately come to the scene and ascribe the crime to the insurgency. The cover story falls apart because the Americans foolishly got the victims’ religion wrong.
    If you don’t like the psy-op theory, feel free to come up with another one that covers all of these facts….
    So, if you allow yourself to follow this line of thinking, maybe the shorthand for the other three involved translates into SO12 & SO13 are SpecOps 12 & 13 and KP1 is Kurdish Peshmerga.. just letting my imgination run here.

  17. john says:

    findlaw has the complaint:

  18. W. Patrick Lang says:

    1- I don’t believe the US would do that.
    2- If they were to do that, line infantry troops would not be used. pl

  19. john says:

    The complaint, thanks Chris, sets the stage for the charges against Green. He is out of the Army and the CID folks apparently had to reel him in through the FBI (any mil-civilian legal experts?). Green, KP1, and souces of information 1-3 were on duty at a traffic control point. The complaint uses the statements of five sources of information. SOI1 stayed at the checkpoint while SOI2 and SOI3 went with Green and known participant 1 to the house but did not commit the murders or the rape. KP1 raped the young woman (I’d say this guy’s butt is in a sling). SOI5 was on duty at another checkpoint and was involved after an Iraqi reported finding the corpses of the murdered family. He went to the scene with others.
    The complaint does not reveal the ranks of the other soldiers. However, Green was the apparent ringleader. One curious item in the complaint is in paragraph 8. SOI4 at the FOB told SOI1 that he had heard what happened and asked SOI1 who did it. SOI1 answered “everyone who was there.” This exchange appears without a time reference but suggests at least some of the soldiers had knowledge that the crime had American perpetrators.
    The complaint had just enough info to arrest Green and, naturally, did not include his statement. Hopefully, the investigation will find the Iraqi who reported the crime to SOI5. He might answer the question about when Iraqis and Americans knew the identities of the perpetrators. Lots of questions remain about the TTP and unit SOP for the checkpoint operations–C2 issues. Other questions remain about a possible cover up.

  20. Stephen says:

    My objections is refereing to a 15 year old girl as a woman.
    Call it as it is – raping a child.

  21. W. Patrick Lang says:

    In the context of her society she is a woman. pl

  22. Freeman says:

    Col — Following on your last remark, in the context of her society it wasn’t rape either. The act has to be witnessed by 4 Muslim males before it counts as rape, as some tragic stonings-to-death have confirmed.
    Fortunately, we don’t live by the screwed-up rules of such society, and I hope that in the end western justice will prevail, including for the murdered US troops.

  23. Dan says:

    Mike: There is no reason to think this was an ordered attrocity. Especially since it’s a military investigation that (slowly and haltingly to be sure) is revealing the crime). There is zero evidence to suggest this. There is little mystery that a group of soldiers participating in a pre-meditated crime would try to cover their tracks by changing their clothes. Criminals generally try to cover their tracks.
    The thing that makes the most sense is that a small group of soldiers committed a truly horrible crime.
    Freeman: This absolutely was a rape in the “context” of Iraqi society. Iraq’s courts don’t require four male witnesses to convict. Their laws of evidence on this matter is about like the US.

  24. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Iraq has a civil law code. In any event, the crime of rape does not require 4 witnesses to convinct under Sharia. This is “hiraba” and circumstantial evidence and forensic evidence suffice. Perhaps you are thinking of the requirement for proof of adultery. pl

  25. john says:

    Your statement “There is little mystery that a group of soldiers participating in a pre-meditated crime would try to cover their tracks by changing their clothes. Criminals generally try to cover their tracks.” took me back to my first assignment at Fort Stewart. Two soldiers robbed the on-post bank in uniform but they neglected to cover their name tapes. After the robbery another planning weakness quickly manifested itself. The soldiers fled the scene of the crime in a taxi cab which dropped them off at their barracks.
    I don’t know how the law works in Iraq regarding rape. However, Pakistani law has zina-al-jabr (nonconsensual/forced sex). Proof is either the rapist’s confession or four eyewitnesses. A Pakistani rape case was in the news a while back ( Perhaps freeman refers to this.

  26. Mike says:

    Pat, Dan,
    I earnestly hope that you are correct, and that Green and the others are just criminals who took advanatage of the situation to let their latent sociopathic and psycopathic tendencies run wild.
    Which leads me to: how is it that people such as these are not washing out in the psychological screening process? Is it, as some of the mainstream media contend, that the stress of multiple overseas tours is taking a toll that recruiters have to scrape the bottom of the barrel? That people smart enough to calculate the odds are getting out? (Or, are going to work for PMC’s).
    And in doing so, have we diminished our ability to attract the individuals who could more “smartly” handle the CI effort (hearts and minds)?
    And if we have decided that the answer to that question is YES, does that explain why guys like Green (and the increasingly out and proud gang members) coming to populate the enlisted ranks in the military are tolerated? Because we have a good population of people preconditioned for this?(DUNE reference” Who remembers the Sardaukar?)
    How much more effort do we undertake to reintegrate those kinds of persons back into civilian life? Do we instead keep them forever in their current role, as comabatants, because they are potentially too dangerous in normal society? Would it be a wrong thing to do? I think this is a question that will have to be asked.
    And, let me assure you, I realize these are exceptions and not the rule. But knowing a thing about Pareto’s, I realize that these exceptions will drive a lot of the effort to make the rules.

  27. Dan says:

    I’ll leave it to those better informed than me to address whether standards are slipping. Probably a bit.
    The statistics show that court-martials rose significantly between 2000-2003 (found here: There were 393 convictions in the army in 2000; 357 in 2001; 602 in 2002; and 665 in 2003.
    Interesting. I’m going to see if i can get the conviction numbers and case load for the last couple of years.
    I’d bet convictions have risen further, or at least stayed “high” but would also bet that much of this has more to do with the added stresses of deployment than with a supposed influx of “lower quality” soldiers. I of course have no data points to prove either assertion.
    But I do know there is no psychological screening program that exists that could catch all the potential bad apples.
    Small groups of soldiers in peace time do commit horrible crimes now and again (just like the rest of us). I remember the 1995 case of 3 marines on okinawa who were convicted (to about 7 years only) for the rape of two school girls.
    A quick google also turned up a case of a staff sergeant and a captain charged in the rape of female recruits at Aberdeen proving ground in 1996 and a sergeant convicted of raping and murdering a little girl in Kosovo in 2000.
    So this horrible incident, by itself, doesn’t point to any kind of new trend.

  28. Curious says:

    Things are about to turn seriously wrong now.
    The article refers to a report by the Southern Law Poverty Center which gives some more sobering news:
    Under pressure to meet wartime manpower goals, the U.S. military has relaxed standards designed to weed out racist extremists. Large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the armed forces.
    Department of Defense investigators estimate thousands of soldiers in the Army alone are involved in extremist or gang activity. “We’ve got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad,” said one investigator. “That’s a problem.”

  29. Curious says:

    I’ll make prediction.
    1. violent crime will increase alarmingly high within 5 years.
    2. Political assasination will happen soon. VERY soon, less than 3 years.
    3. internal terrorism will rise considerably. (old ghost raises up) within 5-10 years we gonna have buidling blown up Oklahoma style.

  30. confusedponderer says:

    What I see in the reported stories about “Haditha” and “Hamandiya” are two war crimes that seem to have been covered up by soldiers and their immediate superiors.
    It raises the disturbing question how many coverups have been successful. It calls into question the capability and collective willingness of the US armed forces to sanction warcrimes in their own ranks.
    It suggests a disturbing willingness in the units to consider publishing and punishing warcrimes committed by US troops as aiding enemy propaganda, quite oblivious that by covering up they achieve quite the opposite.
    A glimpse on this mentality was offered by this disingenious general who referred to the suicides at Gitmo as acts of war, the sucidals being … suicide sucicidals, equivalent to suicide bombers: They killed themselves only to make us look bad — in reality Gitmo is a breeze and they had no reason for suicide but their fanatism. (Try kid someone else, Sir).
    To me all this indicates both a serious disciplinary problem in the US Forces, and the backfiring of the intense effort to control media coverage by the US military in general.

  31. confusedponderer says:

    PS: Ensuring good press about US actions by maximising the good bits while supressing the bad bits allows to rationalise away that covering up is a bad thing.
    Sure, bad shit happened – we can’t change that – but publishing it would hurt the war effort, and make US forces look bad (not to mention the career of the seniors, who have been unable to prevent evident collapses of discipline like “Haditha” and “Hamandiya”).
    One part of the problem is that generally the military punishes those who fail – no matter if they try to make good for it. There are few incentives for those who want to pursue misdeeds, they rather face intense institutional opposition – after all the other part is misunderstood comraderie and institutional protectionism, if whistleblower testimony is any indication.
    Think of Hugh Thompson of My Lai fame and his late resume: “Don’t do the right thing looking for a reward, because it might not come.” Seems as if integrity as displayed by Hugh Thompson was as rare then as it is today.
    As for the US military controlling the media coverage – here is an interesting piece from Harper’s that describes the sobered resume of an embedded reporter:

  32. jonst says:

    To this observer a prime example of how the media,(in this example the NYTimes) is massaging the story was in the online version of the Times today, sat July 8.
    The story in question covers the arrest of a Sadr associate. It also included coverage of a ‘firefight’ in Sadr city as well. Here is one paragraph from the story.
    >>>>Taken together, the raids were a rare strike by the Shiite-led government security forces against forces linked to Mr. Sadr, and suggested that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki was making good on his vow to crack down on Sunni Arab and Shiite militias alike in an effort to halt the accelerating cycles of sectarian violence that have begun to cleave Iraq into ethnic enclaves.<<<< However, nowhere in this story did the reporter feel obliged to share with his readers that on the same day in question numerous Sunni Mosques were attacked. We are just fooling ourselves. And speaking of this attack, Col I wondered what, if anything you think about the tactic of firing cannon bursts from the air on city blocks? It seems to me that this tactic, however momentarily expedient, is ultimately self-defeating. Or do you think, in some cases, this kind of iron fist, delivered from the sky can work? In the long run. That at times, at least in theory, one needs this tactic in one’s arsenal? It seems crazy to me.

  33. ikonoklast says:

    In reference to the failure of psychological screening and lowered recruiting standards:
    “Army Cuts 1,000 for Personality Disorders”
    Green is being charged in federal court rather than military. However, as the investigation continues:
    “Army regulations prohibit commanders from discharging soldiers found to have personality disorders if the action is intended “to spare a soldier who may have committed serious acts of misconduct” from prosecution by the military authorities.” (International Herald Tribune)

  34. annie says:

    let us not forget the ishaqi massacre 60 miles north of bagdad. there were 11 victims, some very young children shot at close range w/a bullet to the brain. this took place march 15th. although in the ‘official ‘ investigation the marines were cleared the evidence was so damning, all on film, quite chilling. personally i think there may have been a cover up here also.
    the rape/murder victim and her family in al-Mahmudiyah were Sunni Muslims from the powerful Janabi clan, that in all probability, has members within both the establishment and the insurgency. .the ‘payback’ tradition is entrenched in many cultures. this tradition is considerd a duty and the more powerful the clan possibly the more important the duty . i find it impossible to believe the 2 kidnapped soldiers were not a form of payback. especially the news i have heard concerning the condition of their mutilation suggesting the sexual crime.
    also, not to be discarded is the soldier who supposedly first alerted authorities did so on the 20th, one day after the kidnapping.
    these last few months since march the violence is escalated but i imagine the news has traveled thru the clan (over a million members). i imagine the coverup has been ongoing to keep it out of the press but i doubt the payback has been ongoing. all the hullaballo about revenge for Z’s killing may in fact be just spin to cover the covers.
    frankly i find his death to be so well timed in light of what may very well be the real reason for the increase in violence, i find it suspicious. 2 massacres, 3 days apart, 90 miles apart. i wonder what clan the ishaqi family belonged to?

  35. annie says:

    sorry, i meant i doubt the payback has not been ongoing just because the news has not been in the press or has been spun as a reaction to Z’s killing.
    i also think the timing of his death may have been planned to divert attention away from the reasons for the escalation in violence.

  36. confusedponderer says:

    According to the Telegraph the local insurgents have pledged to retaliate tenfold.
    Needless to say what that story means for finding allies in the local population.
    It must affect morale of that unit, to be specifically targeted for crimes comitted by comrades. It will require a lot of discipline on their part not to get jumpy, and to avoid being baited into traps, or into lashing out.

  37. Josh says:

    Good Morning Sir,
    Conscience is a moral faculty that leads to feelings of remorse when we do things that go against our moral precepts. Such feelings are not intellectually reached, though they may cause us to ‘examine our conscience’ and review those moral precepts, or perhaps resolve to avoid repeating the behaviour.
    It’s too bad it took that long to get some integrity from our boys. Maybe somebody finally realized they couldn’t live with that.
    I felt outraged about the beheadings & tortured military service men.
    I wanted to go back to Mahmoudiya where I was deployed, i was so angry for days until I heard more and more of this situation slowly comming out.
    I feel sadness for the tortured and killed Iraqi civilian’s.
    I feel less saddened as I was about the revenge attack on our beloved military after hearing about this rape and killing.
    I feel like a traitor for these feelings at times, as I don’t agree with eye for an eye.
    Marine grunt reserve (retired)

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