When Soldiers Become MurderersSunday, March 28, 2010
The February 22, 2010 issue of Time magazine includes this article: “The Threat From Within. Some soldiers become murderers. The military needs to figure out how to stop them.”
After that headline, the article does not dare raise the question of who trained them to murder. Not a single comment about what those soldiers are doing overseas, and how murdering for the state makes them “soldiers,” not murderers. As usual, the media recognizes murder, when committed by those who are given orders to murder, to be justified and permissable. Outside of the military, it’s a crime. From the article:
In late 2005, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division took control of a stretch of land just south of Baghdad that had come to be known as the Triangle of Death. Experiencing some form of combat nearly every day, suffering from a high casualty rate and enduring chronic breakdowns in leadership, one of the battalion’s platoons — 1st Platoon, Bravo Company — fell into a tailspin of poor discipline, substance abuse and brutality. In March 2006, four 1st Platoon soldiers — Specialist Paul Cortez, Specialist James Barker, Private First Class Jesse Spielman and Private First Class Steven Green — perpetrated one of the most heinous war crimes known to have been committed by U.S. forces during the Iraq War: the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the cold-blooded murders of her, her parents and her 6-year-old sister.
This event is known as the Mahmudiyah killings. It wasn’t just a rape – it was a brutal gang rape. After the rape, Green shot the girl on the head and set her body on fire. Steve Green had already raped the girl in a solo act prior to this killing event. Green had an imperfect past prior to enlisting in the Army, and like many young men with no focus or direction, he pursued the only option he had – the military. Infantry training.
But Green was not a troublemaker, criminal, or otherwise. The media would like you to believe that he was formed and shaped as a killer before he joined the military, for then they don’t have to address the question of why soldiers become murderers. According to Wikipedia, when he joined the Army, he was “granted a moral character waiver for prior alcohol and other drug related offenses that might have otherwise disqualified him.” A moral character waiver? Indeed, because they knew this unfocused young firebrand would make a great killing soldier.
In his apology to the family of the victims, Green said this: “I see now that war is intrinsically evil, because killing is intrinsically evil. And, I am sorry I ever had anything to do with either.” That’s the one thing that Green got right. My apologies for the link to Huffington Post, but Robert Koehler had some good words to say about this event:
To my mind, such locked-in know-nothingism, such refusal to make obvious connections, makes the mainstream U.S. media fully complicit in the conspiracy to evade, indeed, shatter the whole concept of, responsibility for the consequences of our wars of conquest and occupation.
These wars, or the fomenting of the precondition that makes them possible — the dehumanization of whole nationalities — are in and of themselves the problem: They are the disease. Green’s crimes, and all the other propaganda embarrassments for which low-ranking scapegoats have been publicly chastised, are the symptoms. How many symptoms do we need before we dare address the underlying condition, which infects all of us?
…The context also includes the training that our troops, including Steven Green, received before deployment: e.g., hours of bayonet training (“Kill! Kill!”) which has zero combat usefulness in the war on terror, but serves to desensitize the troops and inculcate a monstrous contempt for the people whose country they will occupy.
“We did not send a rapist and murderer to Iraq,” said Patty Ruth, Steven Green’s aunt.
Patty Ruth, of course he wasn’t a rapist and killer. I’m sure the guy you sent to Iraq was just a casual mischief-maker, and a confused kid with no plans, focus, or passion for what he wanted to do and be. The military took advantage of this because it needs kids that are suited to being collectivized and desensitized so that they will blindly follow orders without reservation.