The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Rape and murder in Iraq:
The brutality of war and occupation

Jul 10, 2006

On July 7, former U.S. Army Pfc. Steven Green was indicted for crimes he committed while stationed at a checkpoint in a small Iraqi town 20 miles south of Baghdad. Green and at least two other members of his unit are charged with taking a man, woman and their 7-year-old daughter into a room at gunpoint and shooting them to death. He and at least one other soldier raped their teenaged daughter, killing her and setting her on fire. Green’s accomplices now admit they planned the rape and murders. Other soldiers have also been implicated directly or indirectly.

How did the U.S. army deal with this horrific crime? They covered it up as long as they could and shuffled Green out of the service quickly. Today army officials claim they thought at the time that Iraqi “insurgents” were responsible. A complete pack of lies, because if the U.S. army had thought it could pin blame for something this horrible on Iraqi insurgents, it would have proclaimed it loudly to the entire world.

In fact, what forced the story to come apart was that the entire neighborhood knew what had happened to this Iraqi family. The teenager murdered had already told others about the sexual harassment she experienced from U.S. soldiers at the checkpoint.

Now the U.S. high command is trying to minimize the impact of the brutality carried out by its troops. Those responsible always claim it was just a few “bad apples.” Green may have had a homicidal “personality disorder” even before he joined the army – as the army now says. Nevertheless he was handed weapons, trained and given the authority to use them in Iraq by this same high command.

This hideous treatment of an Iraqi family is just one story that has come to light. How many more girls and women have been raped, although their stories have not yet been made public? And there will be more such brutal attacks. It is the exact consequence of this – and every – war and occupation, especially when an occupying army is fighting against the population.

The main task of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops occupying Iraq and Afghanistan today is to try to repress the opposition of the population to the occupation of their country by the U.S. To repress such opposition requires systematic brutality, which U.S. troops are organized to carry out.

Green and his buddies are not the only soldiers to become brutal animals. Even those who don’t are often harmed psychologically by what they have been forced to do. Such atrocities won’t end until the troops are gone.