Steven D. Green, 21, has been charged with rape and murder in a tragic, horrible case involving five U.S. soldiers in Mahmoudiya, Iraq.
This news only came out because of the guilt that some in the detachment felt after two of their military buddies were recently kidnapped, tortured and beheaded — perhaps as retribution for what Green and his collaborators did.
As we think about the state of our democracy on July 4th and think what it took to achieve not only independence but a rules based system of checks and balances as well as for the first time in human history, as Lafayette reported, a fundamental commitment to “the inalienable rights of man.”
Steven Green, if convicted of this heinous crime, has only adds to the roster of horrors that we have already seen in GITMO, Abu Ghraib, and Haditha. There will be more sadly, but Rumsfeld remarkably still has his Pentagon key card.
So much for feeling proud this weekend. Green, Pace, Rumsfeld, Cheney and others have robbed Americans of any right to feel proud at this moment in our history. We were challenged by terrorists — and America needed to respond, but we undermined our morals and principles in the way we have gone about occupying and settling old scores in Iraq.
There are noble people out on the front lines — and they should not be held accountable for what Steven Green and others have allegedly done. But what he has done demonstrates how out of control the emotional climate is in the military services — and what we are seeing are cover-ups, hostility to the press, and slowness from the Pentagon in doing what needs to be done inside the military services to instill more humane and noble norms than Green and his detachment demonstrated.
It’s a good lesson to think if your family members had been raped and shot like this. Or your close friends. Think of the rage. What gets instilled in a community when something like this happens — what seeds that sit and slowly grow until they have a chance to blossom into some form of violent revenge?
This engagement in Iraq will not be over when bugles, politicians, and pundits say that it is over. There will be “blowback” for years and years ahead.
There will be because if your or my sister was raped and shot in the head, along with a five year old child and parents, we would probably behave exactly the same way.
It is essential to keep the thought of the brutally slain and innocent woman and her family in mind as we celebrate our nation’s big birthday tomorrow.
— Steve Clemons