U.S. Soldier Convicted of Rape and Murder of 14-Year-Old Iraqi Girl

Following up on Jill’s post from the other day, the news has just come in that Steven Green was convicted for his heinous rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, Abeer Kassem al-Janab.  Thank god.  Sentencing for the 16 counts on which he was convicted will begin on Monday.

h/t to Gillian in the comments


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21 Responses to U.S. Soldier Convicted of Rape and Murder of 14-Year-Old Iraqi Girl

  1. Tonya says:

    Thank goodness he was convicted. I don’t care what any soldier has been through, NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING excuses rape and murder. The fact that he bragged about raping a 14 year old girl is appalling and disgusting. Hopefully he doesn’t get paroled early.

  2. chava says:

    Good. Sadly, this is the reality of war, and I don’t know if the conviction will stop this sort of thing in the future, better not to go to war at all.

    HOWEVER, I am extremely happy that the bastard will rot in jail. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but that’s where I am on it.

  3. MikeF says:

    Hopefully he doesn’t get paroled early.

    There’s no chance he’ll be paroled, ever.

    What do people think of the death penalty in this case? Normally I’m against it, on the grounds that there’s always some small possibility that future evidence will exonerate a convict – killing criminals removes that last-chance protection that’s built into the justice system. I suppose I’m against it in this case as well; life in prison is plenty harsh. But given the nature of the crimes, I doubt I’ll really feel any disappointment if he gets the more severe outcome.

  4. Cara says:

    MikeF — there’s a reason I didn’t comment on the fact that he’s up for a death penalty sentence in the post. It’s because I can’t bring myself to support the death penalty for any reason. And because I also can’t bring myself to defend this piece of shit from it. And because in a country where people apparently do believe that the death penalty is somehow just, I would be appalled if it was decided that this guy didn’t warrant that apparently reasonable sentence . . . even though I think the death penalty is not at all just and am appalled by the fact that people think it’s reasonable.

    In other words, I hate when the death penalty is on the table in any circumstances. Because once it is on the table, I find all of this pretty irreconcilable.

    So I’m simply going to be relieved that he was convicted.

  5. Abyss2hope says:

    Chava, I don’t think this is a natural part of war anymore than torturing prisoners is just part of war. Once we start thinking like this it is easy to exuse those who violate the rules of combat.

    MikeF, I’m against the death penalty except in cases where that person simply refuses to refrain from murder even while incarcerated even though in a system with best practices.

    The problem with the death penalty is about more than wrongful convictions. Many times society-wide inequities are reflected in the sentences given.

  6. chava says:

    Abyss, we’re going to have to disagree on that one. The fact that I feel it is an unavoidable fact of what happens in way in no way means that I *condone* it. If anything it reflects the fact that I tend towards pacifism.

    We should strive towards having rules of combat. I just think that in the end, shit like this will always happen if you go to war (hence, the pacifism).

  7. Jill says:

    I think it’s perfectly consistent to be glad that this piece of shit was convicted and to hope he goes to jail for a long, long time while still opposing the death penalty and while still realizing that our criminal justice system is thoroughly flawed and not particularly just.

    I hope he doesn’t get the death penalty because (a) I’m opposed to the death penalty without exception, but also because (b) I don’t want to see any more of our resources squandered on this sorry excuse for a human being. The death penalty will mean years of appeals, and a whole lot of legal resources dedicated to a guy who just needs to be behind bars.

    More than my interest in vengeance, though, is my concern for Abeer’s brother, who as I understand it was the only family member to survive. I wish there were some mechanism to make sure that Green literally had to pay for that little boy’s care for the rest of his life. And I wonder if anyone from the U.S. government or military has done anything to make sure that the little boy is placed with extended family in a safe place.

  8. pandora says:

    Do we know when sentencing will be?

  9. Emily says:

    Regarding the death penalty – which I am against – I think whether someone is sentenced to death has a lot less to do with whether he/she is in some societally agreed upon way “the worst of the worst” and more to do with how good his lawyers are and how much money they are allowed to put into making a case for mercy. And what region of the country the trial occurs in.

    I can certainly personally feel that this guy has done something that is among the worst of the worst crimes. But I don’t think a verdict for life rather than death means that the jury didn’t recognize it as such. We don’t know exactly what evidence will be in front of them, but I don’t think second guessing a jury’s decision for mercy is productive. I’m really just responding to Cara’s “since it is an option, it’s hard to see why he wouldn’t merit it” argument. I oppose the death penalty not because I believe that no human deserves to die, but because (1) I don’t think we as a society can consistently determine who those people are – I think what is “worst” will invariably be different for different people and (2) I don’t think it’s good for US to be a people that kill as punishment. If a jury determines that they see a reason for mercy, I think that determination should be respected and not disparaged, even if I can’t imagine in my own mind what it might be in this case.

  10. Persia says:

    Personally, I want him to fry. But that’s why we have a justice system and I don’t personally get to judge all cases.

    But I’d like to ask that we please not derail this conversation with wank over the death penalty. He was convicted on all 16 counts, which proves to me the jury didn’t buy the ‘fog of war’ bullshit at all, which is a huge relief.

  11. Emily says:

    It is good to see the convictions. And apologies for contributing to thread drift. I noticed that right after I posted.

    From the article it appeared that the civilian penalties that Green faces are heftier than the court martial penalties faced by the others. Does anyone know if this is a difference between military/civilian courts, or because Green was the triggerman and ringleader, or because the others plead and received concessions for their pleas? Just curious.

  12. Cara says:

    While I can’t agree with Persia on the count of whether or not I “want him to fry,” I do agree on the count of not letting this thread get bogged down in the death penalty discussion. I think the fact that Green was convicted is the main point here.

  13. Cara says:

    Does anyone know if this is a difference between military/civilian courts, or because Green was the triggerman and ringleader, or because the others plead and received concessions for their pleas?

    I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of the second and third suggested factors; no idea with regards to the first.

  14. MikeF says:

    I do agree on the count of not letting this thread get bogged down in the death penalty discussion. I think the fact that Green was convicted is the main point here.

    Agreed; sorry if I derailed a bit with my earlier comment. I think the fact that a military court gave 90-110 years each to the other 3 perps pretty much sealed his fate. If the “fog of war” defense is deemed bullshit by the military, then no way will civilians accept it.

  15. evil_fizz says:

    Does anyone know if this is a difference between military/civilian courts, or because Green was the triggerman and ringleader, or because the others plead and received concessions for their pleas? Just curious.

    It’s not a difference between military and civilian courts: both the federal statute in question and the UCMJ allow for the death penalty. Green’s co-conspirators all plead guilty, and Green was considered to the be most culpable.

  16. evil_fizz says:

    While my other comment is stuck in the mod queue, the Wikipedia article explains what happened to the other soldiers involved with respect to the outcomes of their courts martial.

  17. There is justice after all.

    This case really affected me because a bit east and that was MY family, right down to the exact ages of the kids. I’m glad to see these men put away for a long long time.

  18. It’s about time that the US services starts holding their people accountable for the atrocities that they commit.

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  20. Ishtar says:

    Thanks for the link evil_fizz.

    This tragedy just makes me sick to my stomach.

    It’s mentioned that Green was diagnosed with a personality disorder. I wonder if he was diagnosed as a psychopath? If so, there is no treatment for him. Nothing works with psychopaths – neither medication nor counseling. My ex is a psychopath so I have an idea of how they operate. I shudder to think that this poor little girl and her family had to to encounter this animal and his friends.

  21. Emma says:

    A more nuanced take on this crime and the resultant convictions here: http://www.talkleft.com/story/2009/5/10/20915/5316

    Green may be sentenced to death, but his co-conspirators and fellow rapist will likely be out of prison in seven years.

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