This is rich. Steven Green–the U.S. soldier accused of raping 15 year old Abeer Qasim Hamza and then killing her and three other members of her family including a 7 year old child in Mahmudiya four months ago–was discharged from the army due to a “personality disorder:”
The former soldier, Steven D. Green, 21, had recently been discharged from the Army for a “personality disorder,” the prosecutors said. They said Mr. Green and other soldiers had discussed the rape in advance and carried out the crimes after drinking alcohol, leaving a checkpoint and changing from their uniforms into black clothing.
I know that the Army screens recruits using psychological tests. What went wrong that they didn’t catch this loon before he went on this demented spree??! Certainly, psychopaths have been known to mask their mania and possibly this guy did so. But the fact that the Army let this creep into its ranks speaks incredibly poorly to their screening process for weeding out bad apples.
Could it possibly be that the Army is so desperate for bodies, any bodies, that it overlooks little peccadilloes like the fact that the guy is a stark raving loon? Oh sure, they’ll throw the book at him despite the fact that he’s probably seriously mentally ill. But this crime is emblematic of the rotten nature of our entire adventure in Iraq. No, I don’t mean that all U.S. troops do what this turd and his buddies did. But our occupation of Iraq places our troops in these situations in which they wield life or death over the heads of innocent Iraqis. This type of power clearly corrupts the faculties and corrodes the self-control of even the average Joe (not that Steven Green is mind you). Isn’t it about time to bring ’em home??
I’m sorry for being dyspeptic since Independence Day just passed and I’m supposed to be waving the flag and supporting the troops and all. But it’s a bit hard for me to muster the requisite patriotism in the face of stories like this one.
The problem is that being in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan in this war, the soldiers are ordered and expected to kill civilians. That results in extreme desensitization in all of the, but with people such as this accused person, obviously they begin to believe that they can do whatever they want. And actually, usually, they can, because American soldiers are not subject to Iraqi law. Only when they get caught do they get into trouble under American law.
Richard Silverstein says
Anon: Absolutely, the exemption fr. Iraqi jurisdiction is deeply troubling. And this is precisely the type of exemption the U.S. wanted fr. jurisdiction under the International Criminal Court. This type of incident shows why it’s a very bad idea to get such exemptions.
And to think that this aberrant soul would’ve gotten away w. his bestial actions were it not for one or two other soldiers who had bad consciences & reported it. This chills the soul because it makes you realize how many other incidents there might be where no one had a bad conscience & no one reported it.
prosecute to the full extent of the law. and it is chilling that he was caught only by the consciences of others. but that can be said of brutal crimes anywhere.
i know many officers who have deployed to Iraq, and I know what they are made of and I see the steady stream of stories and narrative of astonishing good they do. It does not fit the narrative, though, of Americans screwing up Iraq, and it is suppressed by those bastions of freedom, our press.
Flag waiving never impressed me. And what impresses me about America is not that it is my country but that it turns on liberty. Yep, the police blotter page for this is horrible, but there is a whole rest of the country out there. The true heros in uniform won’t necessarily make you waive your flag, they’ll do better, they’ll move and melt your heart. You just won’t hear about them.