Thursday, May 28, 2009

Abeer's family testifies before judge

Steven D. Green

May 7th, former US soldier Steven D. Green was found guilty on all counts for his role in the Iraq War Crimes from March 12, 2006, when Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was gang-raped and murdered, her five-year-old sister was murdered and both of her parents were murdered. May 21st, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead kicking in sentence to life in prison. September 4th, Green is scheduled to stand before US District Judge Thomas B. Russell for sentencing. Today AP reports that her family will provide testimony to Judge Russell on the damage and destruction to them as a result of the War Crimes and are doing that because they need to return to Iraq. The Army Times is usually better about keeping their AP stories up so if the link (to El Paso Times) doesn't work (and you're not checking the day this went up), click here.

During the trial, when it actually mattered, The Washington Observer-Reporter was the only one to editorialize. When it actually mattered. (The Courier-Journal rushed to do day after coverage and all of it was embarrassing, including labeling a photo of Abeer's sister as being a photo of Abeer leading AP to pick up the photo and service it around the world with the claim that it was Abeer. No retraction has been issued by either the Courier-Journal or AP.)

While editorial boards were silent, readers don't have to be. The Salt Lake Tribune runs "GI's sentence absurd:"

The decision by the jury for U.S. "soldier" Steven Green is absolutely outrageous ("Sentence for rapist-killer brings Iraqi outrage," Tribune , May 23). A life sentence is unimaginably unjust.
The conduct of the U.S. military members involved in this case is as horrific as any act committed by any small group of terrorists. It cannot be condoned; it cannot be tolerated. In essence, we are terrorists. These military members should never have been in Iraq in the first place.
I am embarrassed to be a U.S. citizen. I feel anguish for a family that was assaulted, raped and systematically assassinated by U.S. servicemen who scarcely deserve to be called human. Green and his cohorts should be executed. But apparently four murders is not enough.
Let us not feel any sorrow for Green, but rather for the members of the Janabi family who were unmercifully slaughtered: a 6-year-old girl; her 14-year-old sister, Abeer Qassim Janabi, who was gang raped and shot in the face by Green with an AK-47; and their parents -- all burned in their home near Baghdad.
If this is the price of freedom, who wants it?
Tony Frates
Salt Lake City

Yesterday's snapshot noted that Duane Wolfe had been identified by the Defense Dept as one of the three killed in the Falluja bombing on Monday. Leslie Parrilla (San Luis Obispo) reports on Wolfe:

"Technically, he didn't have to go on this deployment, but he decided to go," Geoffroy said.
Wolfe, 54 and a father of three, was assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Gulf Region Division, where he served as the officer-in-charge of the Al-Anbar Area Office. He was an activated Navy Reserve officer whose home unit was in Port Hueneme, according to the Defense Department.
Wolfe had worked as a civilian at Vandenberg Air Force Base for 24 years, Geoffroy said. He was in the reserve for 31 years after five years of active duty, Naval Base Ventura County Public Affairs spokeswoman Teri Reid said.
Wolfe and his staff were responsible for overseeing nearly $300 million in planned and ongoing construction projects that included a wastewater treatment facility for Fallujah, according to the Pentagon.
Wolfe's family declined to comment Wednesday when contacted at their Los Osos home, but did confirm that Wolfe leaves behind his wife, Cindi, and three children -- daughters Carrie and Katie and son Evan.

In today's New York Times, Timothy Williams' "Bomb Kills G.I. in Baghdad as Attacks Keep Rising" covers multiple topics (including corruption, the pipeline to Turkey, etc.). Williams notes that May -- a month not yet over -- is already the deadliest month for US troops in Iraq since September 2008 when the monthly toll was 25. Aamer Madhani (USA Today) also covers that news and notes, "Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has said that he would be willing to stay longer in hot spots, such as Mosul, if asked by the Iraqi government. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that he expects all U.S. troops to withdraw as scheduled." They will be staying in Baghdad -- a fact Williams forgets in his report today despite the fact that his colleague Rod Nordland already reported on that for the Times.

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