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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Now it's rape, murder and revenge

A soldier in Iraq

G.I.'s Investigated in Slayings of 4 and Rape in Iraq

Published: July 1, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 30 — The American military is investigating accusations that soldiers raped an Iraqi woman in her home and killed her and three family members, including a child, American officials said Friday.

The investigation is the fourth into suspected killings of unarmed Iraqis by American soldiers announced by the military in June. In May, it was disclosed that the military was conducting an inquiry into the deaths of 24 civilians in Haditha last November.

The alleged rape and killings took place March 12 in the vicinity of the volatile market town of Mahmudiya, an insurgent stronghold about 20 miles south of Baghdad. The killing of the family was originally reported by the military as due to "insurgent activity," American officials said.

A senior police official in Mahmudiya said in a telephone interview that he received a report of the killings in March. The victims were a woman, her child, her husband and the husband's brother, he said. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said a sheik from the family's tribe immediately reported the episode to the police.

The American investigation began June 24, one day after two soldiers "reported alleged coalition force involvement" in the deaths of the Iraqi civilians, the military said in a written statement. A preliminary inquiry conducted after that report determined that there was sufficient evidence to merit a criminal investigation, the military said.

"This is going to be a by-the-numbers, by-the-book investigation," Maj. Todd Breasseale, a military spokesman, said in a telephone interview. He said Maj. Gen. J. D. Thurman, commander of the Fourth Infantry Division, which oversees the capital and areas immediately to the south, ordered an inquiry "the minute he got the news."

The American officials, who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly about possible criminal proceedings, said the investigation involved five soldiers from the 502nd Infantry Regiment, attached to the Fourth Infantry Division.

A senior American official confirmed several details first reported by The Associated Press on Friday, including that the soldiers were accused of raping the woman, before killing her and three other family members and possibly burning her body. An Army official in Washington also confirmed that the inquiry was focused on soldiers of the 502nd Infantry Regiment, adding, "The allegation is one of rape and murder."

Earlier this month, two soldiers from the same unit were abducted while guarding a traffic control point in the town of Yusufiya and killed by insurgents, and their mutilated bodies were later found along a road booby-trapped with hidden explosives. A third soldier was killed in Yusufiya at the time of the ambush.

The alleged rape and killings came to light after a soldier felt compelled to talk about it in a "counseling-type session," after the discovery of the bodies of his kidnapped colleagues, The Associated Press reported. The soldier who originally disclosed the alleged killings had heard about them but had not taken part in them, The A.P. said.

This is Iraq. Revenge is part of the cultural construct. It's going to come out that those boys were killed in revenge. The Iraqis waited until everyone forgot and made those kids pay for what other people did.

To rape someone in Iraq is to dishonor their family. Women often commit suicide to protect the family honor. If Americans raped and killed a woman and murdered her family, Americans would pay. And those two young men were tortured in ways best left to Medieval history books.

The idiots on the right wanted to use it to justify the war, to call for even harsher methods. Now, it seems that it was retaliation for an unspeakable act. Of course, the amen choir on the right will smear and deny what was inevitable: the collapse of the US Army in the field.

Four cases of unarmed civilians allegedly murdered by US troops, many on multiple tours, with PTSD mostly untreated. Now, there is a cycle of anger being played out. Iraqis are not passive people, they believe in feuds.

And while the 502nd may have been assigned to the 4th ID, the unit is an organic part of the 101st ABN, one of America's elite formation.

So Americans, stressed out and beaten down by continual risk, lashes out. Most soldiers don't, but the breakdown in discipline is there, as well as a growing sense of hopelessness. How many tours before they can quit?

The replacement soldiers , far less able, some borderline criminals, are now replacing those finally leaving the army.

Every one of these stories weakens the Kerensky government. More rampaging Americans make the Iraqi government looks weaker by the day. Raping and murdering women? Nothing could be worse. Nothing. This is the way to ensure a blood feud which won't be settled by a payoff. Regardless of actual guilt,the story alone is enough to get more Americans killed.

posted by Steve @ 1:44:00 AM

1:44:00 AM

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