14 year old Iraqi Girl Raped and Killed by 5 American Soldiers
Armies commit atrocities. That is a given. It is easily understood when one considers that an army, any army, is nothing but a group of violent young men given the license to kill by their government. There are some rules of the game. You cannot kill noncoms, you cannot kill with massive violence like dropping a nuke on villagers firing at you with tommy guns, you cannot kill unless provoked, you cannot enjoy killing. Follow these few rules, more or less strictly, and you have a government killing machine that is perfectly legal.
Armies have always been atrocious. Raping women has always been one of the most attractive spoils of war. Next comes wanton murder of civilians whose defeated army dared to oppose the victorious army. Lastly we have looting, arson, random acts of violence, rampage, hard drinking, lampooning, sex, lies and videotapes – all good spoils of every war mankind has ever waged.
Greeks committed large scale atrocities in those ancient wars they fought. The Peloponnesian war is historically notorious for war crimes. Romans were probably worse; they had a streak of violence unmatched in the civilized world. Asian hordes like the Huns, Tartars, Mongols – each army killed people wantonly, raped women and left behind destruction in their wake. In the world wars, the Germans committed terrible atrocities when they were winning; when they were losing, the Allies committed terrible things. It is well known that in post-war Berlin, beautiful German women were made into prostitutes by Russians and Americans alike.
So the American military of today is hardly alone in committing atrocities in their wars.
However, there is a difference. This is, after all, the modern age. Our world is at the peak of its communicating abilities in all its history. If a Greek soldier raped someone, someone had to run 29 miles from Marathon to report it. Today, an American soldier rapes a minor in Iraq, its on youtube in 5 minutes. Another American soldier kills 3 civilians for fun, its national and international headlines.
American soldiers, I am sure, are aware of the power of the Internet. They should know something the Germans did not know in Poland or the Allies in Berlin – that if they commit a crime, they may escape punishment, but they will not escape public and social scrutiny. The fact that many of them still commit these atrocities tells us a few things about them that makes them different from other armies of the old world.
First, this American military is the most powerful fighting machine in both the ancient and the modern world, and by a large margin. In a non-nuclear war, the combined armies of the rest of the world may not be a match for this American army – and soldiers know it. It gives them a sense of false invincibility and power when it comes to committing crimes like those at Abu Gharib and elsewhere. They seem to think that they are untouchable.
Secondly, that same sense of invincibility makes them unaware of the power of the media. They think that if they rape a 14 year old girl in some remote military outpost in Iraq, that the media will not know, or will not care. This is wrong, as we have seen many times; however, this may also be correct for those we have not seen or caught.
Third, Americans are supposedly fighting one of the few righteous wars in our sad history. Moral scrutiny must be stronger in this war. Despite that, depraved young soldiers are committing one crime after another – and we are convinced that what we know is just the tip of a sordid iceberg.
These few things make these war crimes unpardonable. It becomes obvious to the rest of the world that there will be little justice. A soldier who murders 3 civilians just for the fun of it and gets a life sentence with parole in less than 9 years – why, an armed robber in the United States gets more time than that. Germans killed and raped civilians in WW2, but were either killed or hung at Nuremberg for their crimes. There was an accountability at the end. But we don’t see any sudden end to this, we don’t see any accountability. That is the most disturbing aspect of this.
To be impartial, the atrocities committed by Americans in the last 100 wars they fought in the previous 3 centuries are probably nothing compared to what the Germans did in a single war, or the Japanese did over a span of 50 years across Asia. However, Germany and Japan were defeated, Germany and Japan were not fighting a righteous war according to the rest of the world. But those Iraqis who welcomed the conquering American forces in 2003, they thought they were welcoming freedom and justice. In return they got this.
This destruction of hope is the worst moral crime committed by elements of this army. They have lost their moral superiority while retaining their military superiority. That is, indeed, saddening.
Disclaimer – This does not apply to the American Army in general. However, a group cannot escape the moral responsibility of crimes committed by its members. The great thing about American media is that, unlike almost anywhere else in the world, they dare to stand up and criticize themselves.