Monday, July 03, 2006

Get Out Now

I hated to learn of yet another tragedy from the War on Iraq on this day before our Independence Day celebrations. But it's a story that must be told if we believe in those things that we'll commemorate on the 4th of July.

This morning, discharged soldier Steven Green of the Army's famed 101st Airborne Division, was charged with the rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager after killing her parents and young sister while serving as a soldier in Iraq. Three other troops are alleged to have been part of the crime occurring in March 2006. Abeer Qasim Hamza was apparently 16 years old when she was raped and killed.

And guess what? The family's killing was first attributed to the insurgency, naturally. That was the same modus operandi of the alleged killing of 24 unarmed civilians in Haditha from 2005. The bodies in this case were discovered burned. Abeer's sister Hadeel is believed to have been between 7 and 10 years old. Neighbor Omar Janabi was quoted by the Washington Post as saying Abeer Qasim's mother told him on March 10 the young woman had complained about advances made toward her by U.S. soldiers at a nearby checkpoint.

Last month alone, 12 other troops were charged with murder in two other cases, more than doubling the number of such charges during the war.

Before I get anyone too fired up, I want to say that I'm confident those who are pro-war in Iraq are equally appalled by this violence. I'm also confident that if Green and his conspirators are found guilty, they too will call for the same punishment of death for which I would seek. However, I have a broader question for those who remain in favor of this war. Is this and other recent appalling incidents not a sign that our troops are growing war-weary? That perhaps we've reached a point of diminishing returns in Iraq and redeployment is necessary?

On this Independence Day, I salute our troops and the fine work they generally do. I honor the bravery of those who have served in Iraq, and especially of those who died there. In fact, I applied for a commission to the U.S. Army J.A.G. Corps following law school and was prepared to go myself in that capacity. I respect our military more than any other institution of our government. But I also do not pretend our fighting forces are something they're not. I know personally several soldiers who have gone to Iraq. They're generally good people, but not perfect. They're probably capable of making mistakes under overwhelming pressure too, while hopefully not ones of this shame and magnitude. Because of the respect I have for our troops, I say let's stop putting them in a position in Iraq where they cannot win. Let's not pretend they're invincible and can defeat an enemy they cannot see for a cause that's not clear while winning the support of natives who have come to fear them. Our boys deserve better.

If you are guilty, Steven Green, may you die a painful death just like your victims. Because your crime is worse than that of any insurrgent. July 4, 1776 proved America would always hold itself to a higher standard. And the sacrifices of millions of American soldiers since have more than proved that true. May that those sacrifices always be for the health of this great nation. Happy 4th of July, America!


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?