Thursday, February 22, 2007

Have they no shame?

Sometimes you read something in your newspaper that disturbs you. Something that creates a strong impression with you that lasts for hours and 8 hours later you are still thinking about it. Sometimes you just wonder what the world is coming to, just how bad things can get?

What shocked me today was the depravity of the act and the callous thought behind it. This was not one evil man acting on his own but a tightly knit, highly trained small group. This act against humanity cannot go unpunished and I hope that justice will prevail with very long custodial sentences handed out. There was the almost inevitable plea bargaining in this judicial process but this is far better than the initial spin that these crimes were committed by Iraqi insurgents. What made these men even think about committing these crimes in the manner they, have makes me shudder...

... A US soldier being court-martialled for raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing her family last March broke down in tears yesterday as he gave a graphic account of the unprovoked attack.

Sgt Paul Cortez, one of five men facing criminal charges for the atrocity, described how he and his comrades discussed "having sex with an Iraqi female" and then selected their target in such a way as to minimise getting caught.

He, James Barker and Steven Green had their eye on a farmhouse near their checkpoint in Mahmudiya, near Baghdad. They visited it before the attack and behaved so lasciviously around Abeer Qasim al-Janabi that she was sent to sleep at a neighbour's house. They made their move in broad daylight, when Abeer's parents and five-year-old sister were also home. Cortez told the court that Green took the three into a bedroom while Cortez and Barker took turns raping Abeer in the living room.

"She kept trying to keep her legs closed and saying stuff in Arabic," Cortez said. "During the time me and Barker were raping Abeer, I heard gunshots that came from the bedroom. After Barker was done, Green came out and said that he had killed them all... Green then placed himself between Abeer's legs to rape her."

Green shot the girl dead too, at which point the soldiers set her on fire. The fire prompted neighbours to contact Abeer's uncle, who discovered the bodies.

Cortez is the second soldier to be court-martialled. Barker pleaded guilty in November and was sentenced to 90 years. Both men struck a plea bargain whereby they escaped the death penalty in exchange for their full cooperation.
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