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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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31 Responses

  1. Cara
    Cara May 6, 2009 at 9:25 am |

    But of course, “we shouldn’t be surprised” doesn’t translate into “we shouldn’t punish them.”

    Yes, this. There are things I read about every damn day that don’t surprise me in the least — police violence, for example, rape in all contexts, for another — but horrify the hell out of me. Knowing well enough to realize that culture perpetuates certain attitudes that lead to horrific actions is one thing, and certainly important if we’re ever going to do anything about those horrific actions on a large scale.

    But understanding a wider context does not make the action less horrific, and it also does not remove culpability from the individual perpetrator(s). Not even fucking close.

  2. Ali
    Ali May 6, 2009 at 10:44 am |

    Thanks for this post, Jill.

  3. MikeF
    MikeF May 6, 2009 at 11:08 am |

    I hope Green and the other men who raped and killed Abeer and murdered her family rot in jail for a long, long time.

    The other 3 were sentenced a while ago after accepting plea bargains; they each got between 90-110 years, with parole possible after 10-20. Green, as the ringleader, and not having taken a plea bargain, will probably be executed.

  4. Star
    Star May 6, 2009 at 11:59 am |

    Good Post.

    This case bears resemblance to Abu Ghraib, which made my stomach turn. To this day. In the case of Abu Ghraib the blame was placed on some convenient scape goats whilst most of the culprits (despite documentation on photos) got away more or less.

    I too hope they rot in hell for a long time. It is incredible how people can commit such heinous crimes and then play the “not guilty” card.

    So yeah, I am not buying this either. But at least they can’t claim they didn’t get a fair trial.

  5. Melanie Eggers
    Melanie Eggers May 6, 2009 at 12:29 pm |

    I think those men should rot in hell also and i hope they get what they deserve in jail. Remember what goes around comes around. Now im 17 and i hate hearing about this shit it makes me wana cry and go help the women and little girls who are abused and raped everyday. They dont deserve and as a girl i would take a stand. I really hope those men do rot in fucking hell where they belong

  6. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 6, 2009 at 12:58 pm |

    I hope these dogs are put away for life. What they did was disgusting.

    And you know, I hope some of the scum at the top that started this war, based on lies, find themselves in a world of legal trouble as well.

  7. fretboardz
    fretboardz May 6, 2009 at 7:20 pm |

    What those guys are accused of doing is horrible. I find it hard to believe that Green, an E-3 (his rank), at the time was the “ring leader” also involved in this plot was a sergeant and other guys who outranked Green. I can tell you from my experience in the Army, that E-3’s are NEVER the ring leaders. They are usually told to “shut the F*ck up” and follow orders. So that claim in BS. Again, I strongly believe that what they did was horrible and put a bad name on the rest of the infantrymen that are fighting over there (where the Iraq war is right or wrong the soldiers go and fight and make huge sacrifices on our behalf).
    It’s interesting but not surprising that most posts here on this subject seem to focus soley on the rape. Had they just went in to that house and waxed everyone, would it have gotten as much attention?
    From serving in a combat zone and talking with others who have “been there/done that” I can understand these soldiers frustration with the enemy, their deployment, the Iraqi poplulation, and losing close friends.
    There is no excuse for what these guys did, but their circumstances are not the same as a group of people in the US commiting the same crime(s). I know I’m gonna catch some flack for this and anyone who has been to a WARZONE is free to challenge me.

  8. Miley
    Miley May 6, 2009 at 8:38 pm |

    I hope they find him guilty and, after that, whatever they do, I won’t shed any tears for him. I’ll cry for Abeer and her family, not for the war criiminal.

  9. Rebecca_J
    Rebecca_J May 7, 2009 at 2:43 am |

    Fretboardz, in regards to the rape getting this story more attention, think of it as the difference between “just” being shot in the head, and being tortured in a particularly nasty way and then shot in the head. Also the fact that the story even came to light…I’m wondering how many more Abeers there are out there.
    Also, this whole “if you were there you’d understand” BS really gets on my nerves. I’ve never been to a WARZONE!11!! but I can provide some context: Man is presumably aware that war involves both making friends and having those friends be blown up. Man nevertheless voluntarily joins army. Man makes friends, friends die. Man murders an entire family and takes part in the gang rape and murder of a child of said family.
    Gosh, I just don’t know! Am I missing something in there?

  10. Ishtar
    Ishtar May 7, 2009 at 8:03 am |

    According to one news report I read, a relative of Abeer’s said that Green had been watching Abeer for a considerable period of time prior to the rape and murders. Green made several comments to the parents about how desirable their daughter was.

    He (and others) harassed this girl before they finally acted out their heinous deeds. Abeer and her family were afraid of Green especially, as he was the one who seemed fixated on Abeer. He’d stare at her when she walked by and made comments to her.

    Also, Green was reported to have laughed and bragged about his actions afterwards, saying something to the effect that “it was awesome!”.

    He and his friends make me sick to my stomach. In my opinion they’ve disqualified themselves from the human race.

  11. Marti
    Marti May 7, 2009 at 9:27 am |

    I am nervously waiting for the verdict. In my worst dreams, I see him walking. Hopefully that will not happen.

    C.I. has done strong coverage of the trial.

    http://thecommonills.blogspot.com/2009/05/closing-arguments-in-war-crimes-trial.html

    And she’s also pointed out that Evan Bright has covered every day of the trial

    http://trialcoverage.blogspot.com/

    Who is Evan Bright?

    http://thirdestatesundayreview.blogspot.com/2009/05/evan-bright-puts-big-media-to-shame.html

    An 18 y.o. high school senior doing the job the media should have.

  12. Gillian
    Gillian May 7, 2009 at 11:55 am |

    “In my worst dreams, I see him walking.” I know. I have that fear too. That the jury will buy into the ‘complex’ nonsense. Thank you, Jill, for writing about this. I keep checking Google News to see if the jury’s reached a verdict. Justice for Abeer.

  13. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan May 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm |

    Had they just went in to that house and waxed everyone, would it have gotten as much attention?

    From serving in a combat zone and talking with others who have “been there/done that” I can understand these soldiers frustration with the enemy, their deployment, the Iraqi poplulation, and losing close friends.

    I think you kinda answered the first question in the next paragraph. Killing, especially in a combat situation, can be done for lots of different reasons ranging from “acceptable and encouraged” to “illegal and utterly reprehensible” while rape doesn’t have an excuse under any circumstances. If you’re scared and angry and holding a gun that *explains* (if not excuses) shooting somebody. If you’re scared and angry and holding a gun you don’t start *raping and murdering little girls.* I feel like part of it is just the difference in mindset these men had versus the other soldiers who kill innocent people (accidentally or not.)

    Ishtar’s info makes it even more different… *stalking* and murdering a family has intent written all the fuck over it and really sets itself apart from “just” killing a bunch of innocent people for whatever reason. (To clarify: killing everyone is still *awful* and *illegal* and deserves a life sentence but the added layers of torture and planning and intent and just plain hatred exhibited make it worse, in my opinion.) Despite my best intentions reading stuff like this makes me want to believe in either the death penalty or hell; as it is I just have to hope he gets life with no parole and rots in prison for the rest of his long and miserable and lonely existence with no hint of pity from anyone he interacts with.

  14. exholt
    exholt May 7, 2009 at 2:11 pm |

    Man is presumably aware that war involves both making friends and having those friends be blown up. Man nevertheless voluntarily joins army. Man makes friends, friends die. Man murders an entire family and takes part in the gang rape and murder of a child of said family.
    Gosh, I just don’t know! Am I missing something in there?

    There are plenty of 17-21 year old young adults IME who either never thought about how war involves the possibility of having friends/oneself maimed, killed, and/or blown up……..or who may be aware of it….but the reality does not fully hit them because they are at an age where they think they are invincible and “it happens to the other guy, not me.” It is probably one reason along with
    greater reflexes/energy that militaries prefer 17-26 year old recruits.

    Knew plenty of childhood classmates and acquaintances who related this to me when they first joined up at 17-19….and who later learned very differently.

    Also, it is a good question how voluntary joining the military is for many when they join because of economic circumstances and/or the lack of viable career options in their areas. After all, not everyone has the chance to gain admission to a decent college, much less earn a near-full/full scholarship to it…..or a desire to pursue further higher education at that point in their lives.

    That said, this only explains why encountering traumatic events such as being wounded/maimed or having friends killed in combat can be the first time those realities actually sink in.

    It does not excuse rape or any other war crimes and for anyone to offer this explanation up as an excuse is a complete cop out.

  15. Valerie
    Valerie May 8, 2009 at 8:05 am |

    I feel as much disgust now as I did when I first heard about this crime and this man DESERVES to die. Using the argument that it wont bring back the victims is pointless because punishment of any kind will not do that. If this is about what he DESERVES then give him the same regard that he had for his poor victims. I am so sick of reading about men who brutalize women and children because they find them too beautiful and so must defile and destroy them afterward to protect THEIR precious hides. People, if you think the solution to crimes such as this is to lock up, house, clothe, feed, guard, etc. these monsters for the rest of their lives, it’s only a matter of time with our increasing population before the decent, law abiding, tax paying citizen is working just to support the prisons that are full of this kind of scum. Execute him and be done with it. Of course, with all of the appeals that he will have it will take 20 years and millions of dollars anyway. (at which time his current lawyer will plead that this is NOT the same person who committed the crimes of 20 odd years ago and that he should not be put to death) Better yet, now that he’s been convicted, let the Iraqis have him.
    As for the guy who wondered why the focus on the rape, clearly this person has no concept of what hell this 14 year old (no doubt virgin) suffered from being gang raped before her execution. Let me tell you that she was probably ripped apart down there.
    As for the G.I. who feels that anyone who hasn’t been in combat isn’t qualified to speak, you are full of it. This guy wasn’t even in the military at the time and didn’t have to be there. He wanted to be there because he felt ENTITLED to do as he pleased there while cloaking himself with the U.S. flag. I’ll bet he is guilty of a lot more than we will ever know. That being said, there is NEVER an excuse for rape and murder, war or no war.

  16. Gillian
    Gillian May 8, 2009 at 9:16 am |

    Well said Valerie. I just saw that Green was convicted by the jury on every count and breathed a sigh of relief. He is sentenced Monday and the defense apparently plans a big show and will be deploying his family to the court after keeping them out during the trial.
    I’m going to look to see if there’s a new thread on this but I want to just ask: Am I the only one who thinks if rape weren’t among the crimes, the press would have covered this story 24/7?
    Look at what Valerie has to explain and the dismissal of rape period. I really think if this had been four murders we would have had CBS Evening News and everyone else parked outside the court house. Instead, they pretty much all stuck their heads in the sand.
    I think when the issue is rape, a lot of our media would rather play dumb.

  17. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers May 8, 2009 at 10:03 am |

    Am I the only one who thinks if rape weren’t among the crimes, the press would have covered this story 24/7?

    No, actually I think the rape is the only reason it’s being covered at all. There have been several other cases where American soldiers just plain murdered Iraqi civilians for no reason, including breaking into a house and shooting a family that included a woman with an infant, and… nada. We hear about them once and then nothing.

    In war it’s too easy for murder to be excused. Soldiers can say “we thought they were insurgents” and that’s enough. People understand, though, that rape has no excuse… which is why the strategy in dealing with rape accusations is to usually pretend it wasn’t rape (she deserved it, she wanted it, she was drinking, etc, etc.), not to say there was a good excuse for rape. (The defense this guy was trying to muster was not a good excuse, not in the way that “we thought they were going to kill us so we killed them first” is a good excuse.)

  18. Valerie
    Valerie May 8, 2009 at 10:06 am |

    The poor dead mother of the child who was raped and murdered knew what was going on in the minds of the men who harassed her daughter, but had no idea apparently, how quickly they would act, like wolves surrounding their intended victim. Rape alone is a horrible crime leaving the victim ripped apart and if it’s a child usually causing internal injuries not to mention the mental scars that the victim carries for life, waking from nightmares, fearing intimacy, not being able to make eye contact with people, the shame or guilt of somehow feeling to blame or even aids, stds, pregnancy or infertility, etc. As a prelude to being executed I cannot even IMAGINE the brutal callousness required to commit such an atrocity. Any men out there who want to minimize the crime of rape need to study the effects of it more if for SOME reason the image of having someone force themselves on YOU isn’t enough.
    Thanks Gillian for your affirmation.

  19. Cara
    Cara May 8, 2009 at 10:11 am |

    People understand, though, that rape has no excuse… which is why the strategy in dealing with rape accusations is to usually pretend it wasn’t rape (she deserved it, she wanted it, she was drinking, etc, etc.), not to say there was a good excuse for rape.

    Well I think we’re likely on a tangent at this point, and this is also likely a quibble, but I actually strongly disagree. In a legal sense, those defenses may indeed be arguing that the rape wasn’t really rape. But I think that saying a the rape of a woman who was drinking (and so on) isn’t really rape because she was drinking is the exact same thing as making an excuse for it.

    I mean, I wish desperately that we lived in a world where people understood that rape has no excuse. But in a world where people literally say all the time “well she was a tease,” I vehemently disagree that we do.

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  21. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig May 8, 2009 at 10:17 am |

    I’m surprised it went to trial, and even more surprised that he got convicted. Go jury! I agree with Val. If more rapists were executed, less men would rape.

  22. pandora
    pandora May 8, 2009 at 10:56 am |

    1. Calling for the death penalty on rapists is reactionary and simplifying an extremely delicate and complicated issue. Yes, what this man did was horrible, in some eyes inhuman. Calling for his death will not bring those people back. Calling for the head of anyone accused of a horrible crime expediates and reaps the benifits of a non perfect judicial system. Its mob mentality. Its the same knee jerk reaction that lynch mobs had, it is unproductive and can potentiall harm more than it helps.

    2. Capital punishment is government sactioned murder, just like war is.

    3. Using the “its a volunteer military” as a reason to dismiss unpleasant reactions of those who have been in a war zone, is child like in its logic.
    a. the military is the only option for a lot of people looking to better thier circumstances, and to discount that is class privelge.
    b. the military is filled with men and women who do extrodiary jobs in extrodinary circumstances and an exceptionally young age. to sum up thier experiences in sound bites is unfair, and reflects a narrow priledged view of the world.
    c. people who don’t truely understand how the military works, should be more thoughtful in their critiques and asks more questions before passing judgement. The military is not civilian life. You do not have the same rights and or freedoms as you do as a civilian. Once you sign that contract, you are basically not your own person anymore. So saying that you would never do something blah blah blah, you can’t speak becasue you have never been in that situation, or anything even close to it.

    3. I wish people would remember the vast majority of the military is staffed by people, not monsters. Remember they wear the uniform, with little thanks, little pay, so you can sleep safe at night. Now, if someone in the military takes advantage of that position, then they should be held accountable, but treating them like a civilian is not fair, or acurate.

  23. Nicole Puerner
    Nicole Puerner May 8, 2009 at 12:06 pm |

    i believe that what ever he did to that girl, deserves to be done to him. what kind of fucking sico decides to kill somebody like that for no reason and kills the parents and the six year old kid and than rapes the girl before killing her as well. this guy will rot in hell for the shit that he has pulled. I don’t care if you were apart of the army, you make the rest of the soldiers that are over there fighting the war look bad along with the rest of out country. You know some people have family members like me who are over there fighting for their countries freedom and you make everything worse by number one committing the crime and number 2 not admiting you did it and saying your not guilty. HEY STEP UP AND BE A FUCKING MAN FOR ONCE AND ADMIT YOUR MISTAKES. YOUR LIFE ON THIS EARTH IS VERY LIMITED.

  24. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers May 8, 2009 at 12:17 pm |

    Um, really? Because I’m pretty sure that’s not actually true. Are sexual assault rates significantly higher in countries where there is no death penalty and lower in places where rape is a capital crime?

    Yeah, I agree. I think if we executed more rapists, more rapists would not be charged, or would not be convicted, or their victims wouldn’t even *bring* complaints, and meanwhile more innocent men of color would be executed for crimes they didn’t commit while the men who did commit the crimes went on to commit more.

    The death penalty is well known to have no deterrent value on crime whatsoever, because people who commit crimes don’t think ahead to the possible consequences. It’s highly unlikely that it would deter rape when it doesn’t deter murder. However, given that women are socialized to be compassionate, that most rapists are people the victims know, and that law enforcement tends to assume that women are lying vindictive bitches *anyway*… what would really happen is that women wouldn’t bring charges if they thought their rapist could die for what he did, and when they did bring charges, they would be even *more* frequently dismissed, slut-shamed, or otherwise treated badly, because the people who defend rapists would have even stronger motive if the rapists were at risk of dying. At the same time, pretty much any time there was an interracial rape, the cops would probably pick up some guy who had nothing to do with it just to pin it on *someone* and call it solved (which they do now), and since men of color are disproportinately executed in capital crimes, it would be *frequent* that innocent men would be executed for rape, while the actual rapist would remain at large.

    The main change I think we’d need to make to the justice system to lower the rate of rape would be to make sentences for rape longer, and time off for good behavior less frequent, fully fund prompt DNA testing for all rapes, and mandate that in rape cases, prosecutors read a script to the jury which basically points out that in a civilized society men are expected to act in a civilized way, so whether or not you think a woman was negligent or stupid in getting drunk, dressing in skimpy clothes, or letting a man in her apartment, it is still a crime if he raped her. Apparently, frequently juries believe that the woman was raped but think that her “stupidity” in the acts that made her vulnerable to being raped somehow exonerate and excuse the rapist.

  25. Henry
    Henry May 8, 2009 at 10:41 pm |

    “And Pandora, give me an effing break. I don’t care what circumstances you’re operating under, or how stressful they are: There is no excuse for gang-raping and then murdering a 14-year-old girl and her family. That is sick and wrong, and it’s not a matter of context.”

    Absolutely correct. This was not a reaction under fire, or a stress induced break. This wasn’t even a revenge killing. This was a premeditated stalking, rape and murder by people who thought their position would cover them. Green wanted this girl and thought he could just take what he wanted by virtue of being on the right team. I’ll be very surprised if they don’t kill him, if only to send a message to the Iraqis.

    And fret, you can consider yourself properly challenged. In this instance, the circumstances between combat troops and civilians is exactly the same. We can make arguments all day about the mitigating factors in revenge killings, but in a rape (with the murder of a whole family to cover it up) there is no argument to be made. No discussion, no empathy, nothing. Green did this because he’s a scumbag, not because he was under stress. Chances are he’d have done something equally heinous as a civilian.

  26. Merryn
    Merryn May 11, 2009 at 1:05 am |

    The death penalty for rape would just lead to more murdered victims. Why leave the victim alive to identify the rapist if he’s facing the death penalty anyway?

  27. fretbordz
    fretbordz May 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm |

    Pandora – good post , great points.

    Valerie, who are you talking about?
    “” This guy wasn’t even in the military at the time and didn’t have to be there. He wanted to be there because he felt ENTITLED to do as he pleased there while cloaking himself with the U.S. flag. I’ll bet he is guilty of a lot more than we will ever know. That being said, there is NEVER an excuse for rape and murder, war or no war.””

    Rebecca J –

    “” Man is presumably aware that war involves both making friends and having those friends be blown up. Man nevertheless voluntarily joins army. Man makes friends, friends die. “”
    Your presumptions seem a little naive.

    Exholt explains it well

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  29. Ani
    Ani May 21, 2009 at 11:53 pm |

    Would it wrong in saying a lot of people going into the army because they don’t want to fight for justice or peace but to let loose their violent and sadistic behaviours. All evidence suggests this was a planned attack not something that happened as a result of mental war injuries,

  30. fretboardz
    fretboardz May 24, 2009 at 9:58 pm |

    Ani – “Would it wrong in saying a lot of people going into the army because they don’t want to fight for justice or peace but to let loose their violent and sadistic behaviours. ” Not only would it be wrong to say that, but also completely ignorant, prejudiced, and unappreciative as well..

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