BEIJI, Iraq -- Investigators believe American soldiers spent nearly a week plotting an attack in which they raped an Iraqi woman, then killed her and her family in an insurgent-ridden area south of Baghdad, a U.S. military official said Saturday.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said the attack appeared "totally premeditated" and that the soldiers apparently "studied" the family for about a week before carrying out the attack.
According to the official, the Sunni Arab family had just moved into a new home in the religiously mixed area about 20 miles south of Baghdad. The Americans entered the home, separated three family members from the woman, then raped her and set fire to her body, the official said. The three others were also slain. A senior Army official who also requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing said one of the victims was a child .
U.S. officials said they knew of the deaths but thought the victims died due to sectarian violence. A local police official, Capt. Ihsan Abdul-Rahman, said Iraqi officials received a report March 13 alleging that American soldiers had killed the family in the Khasir Abyad district about 6 miles north of Mahmoudiya.
He said he did not relay that report to American forces.
The report is sketchy. I hope that the reporter simply omitted the soldiers killing the woman in question after raping her and before setting her on fire, not that they doused her with alcohol/lighter fluid and burned her alive.
Two soldiers in the same platoon who did not participate in the crime have produced testimony implicating five men in the crime, though only four are still in Iraq. One of the men in question has confessed. It is not explained why the Iraqi police official did not report the allegations to the Army, whether because he did not believe them, did not think it would do any good, or else feared retaliation for having knowledge of the crime. Given the Newsweek report on the Afghan who was detained and tortured after having saved the life of an American Special Forces soldier, you can't really blame someone for not wanting to come forward.
Why are we keeping our troops in a no-win situation where those who are criminals knowingly commit atrocities like this or like Abu Ghraib, and those who are not are put into situations where they must choose between bad and worse, such as the soldiers manning the checkpoints?
This is the Republican plan for leaving Iraq. Keep our troops there, exhausted and surrounded, let them fight it out with the local population, deny crimes when they happen, and shrug off the maiming and killing of the troops. See if you can gin up another war to keep polls high (even when the polls just go down and down), then run away as soon as you can foist the mess off on someone else.