According to the BBC:
A US military hearing has examined testimony of how three soldiers took it in turns to try to rape an Iraqi girl aged 14 in Mahmudiya in March.
The girl and three family members were allegedly killed by four US soldiers. The four are alleged to have helped a former private – Steven Green, who has since left the army – plan, carry out and cover up the attack.
Mr Green has pleaded not guilty in a federal court and will be tried separately in the US. A fifth soldier is alleged to have lied to cover up for his colleagues.
On the day of the attack the soldiers had been drinking Iraqi whisky mixed with an energy drink and practising golf strokes at a checkpoint south of Baghdad, Mr Barker’s statement said. One of the soldiers, Steven Green, said he “wanted to go to a house and kill some Iraqis,” it alleged.
And just who is Steven Green? According to MSNBC and Newsweek:
Even before he went to Iraq, Steven Green scared people. Growing up in oil-rich Midland, Texas, a small community full of pumping jacks, pickup trucks and fast-food restaurants, Green was known as a petulant loner and a hard-drinking druggie. Mostly what people remember is his seething, seemingly random rage. In high school, Green would jump on other kids for offenses like wearing a green shirt, or using a white cigarette lighter—anything he’d arbitrarily claim to hate. His best friend, Mike, recalls remarking to Green once that he wanted to punch another kid standing nearby. “I’ll do it!” Green said, and ran over and socked the boy. Another friend remembers the time when they were hanging out at his place and Green wanted to play a Guns N’ Roses CD. When the others said they wanted to hear something else, Green put the disc on anyway, blasting the music at full volume until people left, one by one.
[T]he Army seemed to offer everything Green lacked: money, friends, a place to stay, possibly even fame. Boot camp, Green later told friends, was great. He bragged about being a part of the world’s most powerful military, and he was excited to get to Iraq. “He wanted to be a hero,” says Hugh Bailey, 54, a Vietnam-veteran Marine who befriended Green. When he enlisted in February 2005, Green exultantly told Mike and others, like the mother of one of his friends, Alma Thomas: “I’m gonna go over there and kill ’em all.”
Wow, what a great attitude to take to an allied country where we’re spreading freedom and democracy! So how did someone like this get into the Army in the first place? Again, according to MSNBC and Newsweek:
In 2005, about the time Green was accepted, the Army raised the limit on the so-called Category 4 recruits it would allow, the designation for soldiers with the lowest scores on its aptitude test. (Green’s score is not known.) The Army has also been handing out more waivers—including case-by-case exceptions for criminal offenses—which increased by 3 percent last year. Basic training has slipped as well. In years past, basic was geared to “wash out” those unfit for the stresses of military life. Now it has been reformulated to keep as many recruits as possible. “What you’re seeing is the reverse of what made the Army so effective,” says Sen. Jack Reed of the Armed Services Committee.
Well, at least they’re driving all the queer language experts out of the military at any rate.
A fish rots from the head down. Although his apologists will cry foul, this is Rumsfeld’s fault. And in the interests of being fair to the embattled Secretary of Defense, let’s not forget that he serves at the pleasure of the person currently occupying the White House.