Mahmudiya and Hamdania

Gang rape and murder–American forces at work

Perhpas a small percentage of the U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq carry out such atrocities as have come to light. But that does not go any way toward explaining or excusing these outrages, and anyone arguing that just the fact of these tepid courts-martial is proof of things “working” is probably delusional.

BBC News reports on the Mahmudiya case:

“A US Army soldier has pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and helping murder her and her family.

James Barker agreed to the plea deal at the start of his court-martial in the US to avoid the death penalty, his civilian lawyer said.

A criminal investigation began in June into the killing of the family of four in their home in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in March 2006.

Specialist Barker is one of four US soldiers charged with murder.

They are alleged to have helped a former private – who has since been discharged from the army – to plan, carry out and cover up the attack.”

Reuters updates the Hamdania case:

“In the case at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, Pfc. John Jodka, the second defendant sentenced in the April 26 death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, pleaded guilty last month to charges of assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Under a plea deal his attorneys hammered out with government prosecutors, Jodka will serve an 18-month sentence in the military brig — getting credit for about six months spent in confinement — if he agrees to testify against his squad mates and assist prosecutors.”

John Abizaid is trying to make people believe that somehow America is improving the situation in Iraq–but also, the burden needs to be shifted to Iraqis. As NPR reports:

“Gen. John Abizaid tells a Senate panel that the status quo in Iraq is not acceptable. But more U.S. troops might be needed, at least temporarily, to train Iraqi forces, Abizaid said.

The general also discouraged calls for a timetable to withdraw. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, said the security situation in Iraq is improving — and he does not see a need for more U.S. combat troops.”

“Sectarian violence remains high and worrisome,” Abizaid still admitted in front of Congress. Then he talked about “six [more] months.” How many times will the war be sold in installments of six “critical” months (the next six, always)? Why doesn’t he admit failure and urge withdrawal?

[photo: AP]

So what can be said about Iraq? Arthur Silber at is probably right:
And that is the ‘dreadful truth’: we have unleashed forces that no one can now control, probably not for years to come. Moreover, we are now, as we have been for several years, an inextricable and significant part of the problem as long as we remain. There is no point whatsoever in our staying, not in the sense that it will improve the situation.
Our governing class still searches for a miracle to save them. There will be no such miracle, and the chaos and death will continue into the foreseeable future. But they refuse to admit this — for one unforgivably shabby, despicable reason: they will not admit they were wrong.

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