Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gang Rape and Murder, and Extra Smoke

The U.S. soldiers who raped and murdered a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, after murdering the rest of her family, are claiming "combat stress" led them to do what they did.

Combat stress is real, but it doesn't explain, much less justify, this:

An American soldier charged with the rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the slaying of her family told investigators that he and his comrades devised the attack while playing cards and drinking whiskey at a checkpoint, and that afterward he grilled chicken wings, a military investigator testified Monday.

The GI's admission was revealed on the second day of testimony in a military hearing to determine whether the soldiers would face a court-martial. Reports of the March 12 killings in the southern Baghdad suburb of Mahmoudiya have enraged Iraqis and shamed the U.S. military.

Spc. James P. Barker, 23, told investigators in sworn statements that he and Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 23, took turns sexually assaulting the 14-year-old, and that former Pfc. Steven D. Green, 21, also raped the girl after killing her mother, father and 5-year-old sister, military investigator Benjamin Bierce testified.

A fourth soldier, Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman, 21, was inside the house during the attack while another soldier, Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, 19, kept watch elsewhere, Barker told investigators, Bierce said.
Bierce testified that Barker wrote in his sworn statement that he, Cortez, Spielman and Green had been playing rummy and drinking Iraqi moonshine mixed with an energy drink on the day of the killings.

"While they were playing cards and drinking Iraqi whiskey, the idea came to go to the Iraqi house, rape a woman and murder her family," said Gary Griesmyer, another military investigator, who had interviewed Cortez.

The house was about 650 feet from the checkpoint, one soldier told investigators. The soldiers had seen the girl before during a visit to her house.

Cortez said in a sworn statement that Barker and Green raped the girl, Griesmyer testified. Cortez acknowledged holding the girl down when Barker began to rape her, Griesmyer said. The girl was crying and speaking in Arabic, and Barker told her to "shut up" after raping her, according to Cortez's statement, Griesmyer said.

Barker said the men had practiced hitting golf balls near the checkpoint after finishing their card game. Green repeatedly said he wanted to kill some Iraqis, and asked Barker if he thought Cortez would go along, according to Bierce's testimony. Green asked Cortez, who in turn asked Barker what he thought. Barker, in his statement, wrote that his answer was, "It's up to you," Bierce testified.

The men changed into black thermal underwear and black ski masks, Bierce testified. Cortez gave a radio to Howard, who was supposed to be on the lookout.

At the house, Cortez pushed the girl to the floor and raped her as she struggled, Bierce testified.

Barker told investigators that Green came into the living room, where the girl was pinned to the floor. Referring to her family, Green told his fellow soldiers: "They're all dead. I just killed them."

Green put down an AK-47 assault rifle that he had taken from the house and raped the girl while Cortez held her down, Bierce testified. Afterward, Green shot the girl several times before Barker took a lamp and poured kerosene on her body, the investigator said.

Barker told investigators that Green went into the kitchen and came back saying, "We need to get out of here," supposedly because Green had opened the propane tank and the house was going to blow up.

Investigators testified that the attack lasted between 20 and 30 minutes, and that the soldiers hid their identities, hoping to pin the slayings on insurgents.

After the men returned to the checkpoint, Barker said, he began to grill chicken wings.

The Iraqi medic who found the bodies testified that he was "sick for weeks."

That problem did not seem to afflict the defense attorney at the military hearing. According to Reuters, he was conspicuously chewing bubble gum and blowing bubbles while U.S. soldiers were telling the court the gruesome details of the rape and multiple murders; and Sgt. Anthony Yribe, who is facing charges of dereliction of duty and making a false statement for not reporting the rapes (he is not accused of participating in them), was allowed to pull out a red lollipop and start sucking on it. CE Petro notes the implication that the judge allowed these expressions of contempt to go on without notice or comment:

The Iraqi people, and most Americans, have been outraged over this and other crimes perpetrated by our troops, and rightly so. But, when you have a callous and disrespectful defense attory and defendant in the court room, you'd expect the "judge" to do something. From this report, it doesn't seem that anything was done.

A fifth soldier, Sergeant Anthony Yribe, is charged with dereliction of duty and making a false statement and will also appear at the hearing at a U.S. base in Baghdad.

Defense Attorney Captain Jimmie Culp was blowing chewing gum bubbles while Yribe, sitting to his left, began sucking on a red lollipop during the testimony.

My. God! How much more disrespectful can one be? This certainly won't win any hearts and minds, from anybody on the jury. What it does show is that neither Yirbe or defense attorney have any respect for law and order, and should be justly disciplined.

Meanwhile, the same pack of right-wing bloggers who have been shrieking and howling for days about a freelance photojournalist who used Photoshop to add some smoke to Beirut buildings that really had been bombed, that really were burning, that really had collapsed, cannot be bothered to write even one word about three U.S. soldiers who murdered a 14-year-old Iraqi girl's family, including a six-year-old child; then took turns raping the 14-year-old girl, holding her down while she screamed, struggled, cried, and pleaded; then shot her several times, poured kerosene over her dead body and set her on fire; then sat down and had themselves some barbecued chicken wings.

Come on, Gaius. Come on, Ace. Come on, Michelle. Come on, Jeff! Come on, Charles! Come on, Dan! Come on, Jay! Come on, Strata! Come on, Bob!! Come ON, Allah!! Are you going to willingly allow the impression that only liberal, leftie, progressive bloggers like Kevin Hayden, Amygdala, Shakespeare's Sister, CE Petro, John in D.C., and yours truly, care about this horrific crime?

Look at this. And this. Now look at this. And try to feel some shame. Because the things that outrage you enough to write about them in hordes, for days upon days, are shamefully out of whack.

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