The investigation is the fourth into suspected killings of unarmed Iraqis by American soldiers announced by the military in June. In May, it was disclosed that the military was conducting an inquiry into the deaths of 24 civilians in Haditha last November.
The alleged rape and killings took place March 12 in the vicinity of the volatile market town of Mahmudiya, an insurgent stronghold about 20 miles south of Baghdad. The killing of the family was originally reported by the military as due to "insurgent activity," American officials said.
A senior police official in Mahmudiya said in a telephone interview that he received a report of the killings in March. The victims were a woman, her child, her husband and the husband's brother, he said. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said a sheik from the family's tribe immediately reported the episode to the police...
The alleged rape and killings came to light after a soldier felt compelled to talk about it in a "counseling-type session," after the discovery of the bodies of his kidnapped colleagues, The Associated Press reported. The soldier who originally disclosed the alleged killings had heard about them but had not taken part in them, The A.P. said.
One soldier has admitted his role and has been arrested; others have had their weapons taken away and are confined to their base in Mahmudiya, American officials said. The soldiers under investigation are apparently from the same platoon as the three killed in Yusufiya.
G.I.'s Investigated in Slayings of 4 and Rape in Iraq
By EDWARD WONG
Published: July 1, 2006
New York Times, may require registration
Other reports have hinted, though it is murky, that the kidnapping and torture slaying of the two Army men in Yusufiya may have been done in retaliation for the rape/murders being investigated in Mahmudiya.
This is what "staying the course" for the next two and a half years will mean. More violence against civilians, more retaliation against US troops, more opportunities for Iran and bin Laden to win otherwise moderate Iraqis over to their camps.