Thursday, February 22, 2007

Soldier Pleads Guilty To Raping, Murdering, Torching 14 Year Old

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Feb 21 (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier under court-martial at a Kentucky military base broke down in tears on Wednesday as he described how he and others planned the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, murdered along with her family.

Sgt. Paul Cortez, 24, is the second U.S. soldier to plead guilty to raping the girl and killing her and her family in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in March 2006. The soldiers then poured kerosene on the girl's body and lit her on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Cortez, wearing a dress green uniform and flanked by his civilian and military lawyers, described how he, Spc. James Barker and a since-discharged soldier, Pvt. Steven Green, planned the attack over liquor and a game of cards.

This obviously isn't the administration's fault directly. But, when we wonder why Iraqis aren't greeting us as liberators in a cake walk, stories like this should get big play. Our military is our ambassador overseas. When they follow orders to torture, we are thought of us as torturers. When bad seeds rape and murder children, we are thought of us as child molestors and murderers.

The US media of course plays it's role by trying to put a spin on things for domestic consumption. When this story came out, many reports listed this 14 year old as a "woman" or "young woman" as if to minimize the horrors of breaking into a house under the color of authority, raping, murdering, and burning the bodies. I suppose if she was 23 or so, that would have been ok.

We need to know that people acting in our name could over some cards and a few belts plan this thing. It's part of the context of why Iraq is a never ending quagmire as long as we stay.