Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, February 18, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Moqtada speaks to the public and calls out Nouri, Nouri has a ghost written column in Foreign Policy, the assault on Anbar continues, War Criminal Steven D. Green is dead, and much more.

Moqtada al-Sadr continues to dominate the news cycle.  The cleric and movement leader announced his political retirement Saturday.  Today, World Bulletin reports, "Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr laid into Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday, describing him as a 'dictator and tyrant' and calling his government 'a pack of wolves hungry for murder and money'."  AFP adds, "The televised speech seemed aimed at establishing the cleric, who leapt to prominence with his fierce criticism of the 2003 US-led invasion, as a figure above the everyday Iraqi political fray."   Aref Youssef (Anadolu Agency) notes, "Al-Sadr asserted that al-Maliki's government had failed to improve public services and the country's dire economic situation" and that he also accused the Nouri al-Maliki government of utilizing  "a politicized judiciary against its partners."  UPI quotes Moqtada stating, "Politics became a door for injustice and carelessness, and the abuse and humiliation of the rule of a dictator and tyrant who controls the funds, so he loots them and the cities, so he attacks them, and the sects, so he divides them."

Al Mada reports that Moqtada declared Nouri is controlled by both the US government and the Iranian government and that the country is governed by those who left the country and waited (years) for someone to liberate Iraq before returning to the country.  He encouraged Iraqis to participate in the planned April 30th parliamentary elections to have a say in their country and -- no English outlet's reporting this -- he endorsed two politicians: the Governor of Baghdad Ali al-Tamimi and the Governor of Maysan Ali al-Douai.  He called on both to continue their good work.  NINA reports:

The officer of public relations and ceremonies at the office of the leader of the Sadrist movement, Amer al-Husseini stressed that the decision of Mr. Muqtada al-Sadr is irreversible and his followers have to obey this matter without discussion or demonstration .
Al-Husseini statement came after he received dozens of protesters who came from Sadr City to ask their leader to reverse his decision, showing their support.
Husseini told the demonstrators outside the home of cleric Muqtada al- Sadr, "Muqtada al-Sadr appreciates you for coming and values your position and confirms that the decisions made must obey and he insists on it, for the benefit of the people and the nation, and you should not discuss or protest ."

Duraid Adnan (New York Times) reports:

In the speech, Mr. Sadr, 40, encouraged all Iraqis to participate in elections so that they would be represented fairly. He criticized the current government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, saying it was behaving like a dictatorship and was using the army against the people.
“Iraq is under a black cloud, bloodshed and wars, killing each other in the name of law and religion,” Mr. Sadr said, adding that the country had “no life, no agriculture, no industry, no services, no security and no peace.” 
He said that though the Maliki government had gained power promising to improve the lot of Iraq’s Shiite majority, which suffered under the long dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, it turned out to be “a group of wolves hungry for power and money, backed by the West and the East,” and that “politics became a door for injustice and carelessness.”

In addition to the reporting cited above, there's also a lot of nonsense and a lot of stupidity.  I'll be addressing an e-mail from an analyst in a second, he was so convinced I was so wrong.  And I need to thank him for that false accusation because his false accusation meant I was focused all day on the topic of wrong -- mine or others.

Karl Vick (Time magazine) is repeating something in this passage that is wrong

Waiting anxiously to know is Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is seeking a third term in elections set for April. Sadr’s support was essential to Maliki securing office in 2010, and the cleric’s loyal, motivated and generally impoverished Shiite following stands to play a crucial role in any political calculus, especially given the polarized sectarian politics that has returned parts of Iraq to open warfare. Much of Anbar province, to the West of Baghdad, is now controlled by Sunni militants associated with al-Qaeda, whose return flows both from the rabidly sectarian nature of the civil war in adjacent Syria, and from resentment among Iraqi Sunnis at Maliki’s rule, widely seen as favoring Shiites.

Karl Vick is 100% wrong.  In fairness, he's repeating something many said yesterday.  But it's flat out wrong.

Moqtada al-Sadr was strong armed into supporting Nouri -- strong armed by the Iranian government.  His followers never supported Nouri.

More than that, they clearly rejected him.

Does no one remember what happened in 2010?

For one thing, immediately after the elections Moqtada threw it to his supporters 'who he should back?'

Have we all forgotten that?

From the April 7, 2010 snapshot:

That interview took place Monday and while there is no coalition-sharing government/arrangement as yet from the March 7th elections, Friday and Saturday, another round of elections were held -- this to determine whom the Sadr bloc should back. Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc won 40 seats in the Parliament. Kadhim Ajrash and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) report that Ibrahim al-Jaafari "won 24 percent of the 428,000 ballots cast in the internal referendum, ahead of al-Sadr's second cousin, Jafar Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, who obtained 23 percent, Sadrist spokesman Salah al-Ubaidi said today in the southern city of Najaf." Al Jazeera notes that Nouri al-Maliki received 10% of the vote and Ayad Allawi 9%. The US military invaded Iraq in March 2003 (and still hasn't left). Following the invasion, Ayad Allawi became Iraq's first prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari became the second and Nouri al-Maliki became the third. It's a little more complicated.
Nouri wasn't wanted, Nouri wasn't chosen. Following the December 2005 elections, coalition building took place and the choice for prime minister was al-Jaafari. But the US government refused to allow him to continue as prime minister. The Bush administration was adamant that he would not continue and faulted him for, among other things, delays in the privatization of Iraq's oil. Though the US had no Parliamentary vote, they got their way and Nouri became the prime minister. al-Jaafari had won the vote with the backing of al-Sadr's bloc, just as he won the vote that took place this weekend. The vote can be seen as (a) a show of support for al-Jaafari whom Sadarists have long supported and (b) a message to the US government. 

Stop lying that Nouri benefits from Moqtada dropping out.  He doesn't.

The Sadr bloc can't stand Nouri -- that's been obvious in Parliament for the last four years.

Moqtada's supporters can't stand Nouri either.  They remember his attacks on them in 2008 in Basra and Sadr City.  Moqtada is seen as supporting the poor, Nouri's done nothing for the poor.   BRussells Tribune carries an Al-Monitor article from last week by Amal Sakr which opens:

The head of the Model Iraqi Women Organization, Athraa Hassani, provided Al-Monitor with this information, quoting World Bank officials who discussed these statistics during a meeting in Turkey with a number of members of civil society organizations seeking to find a solution to the poverty crisis in Iraq.
Hassani questions the accuracy of the poverty rates announced by the Iraqi government, affirming that these rates are continuously increasing because of a rise in daily violence and spike in unemployment rates in addition to a weakening of the Iraqi economy.

Based on the World Bank’s figures, this would mean that out of Iraq’s 34.7 million citizens, more than 9.5 million individuals are living below the poverty line.

Nothing has happened since 2010 to increase Nouri's standing among Sadr supporters.  In fact, since 2010, the efforts Moqtada and Ayad Allawi have worked on have probably resulted in greater support for Allawi which has let Nouri fall even lower.  Probably.

But what is known is that Sadr supporters did not support Nouri in 2010.  They didn't support when the March 2010 voting took place and they did not support a month later in the poll Moqtada carried out.

I don't if it's xenophobia or stupidity.

Xenophobia may have some 'reporters' and 'analysts' declaring that Moqtada's supporters would automatically go to Nouri -- in some stupid and stereotypical vision of Shi'ites.

Or maybe it's just the sort of whoring Quil Lawrence did in 2010 where the press will repeatedly lie for Nouri.

But before Moqtada's speech today, his supporters were not going to back Nouri -- they made that clear in 2010 for any not too stupid to miss it -- and after his remarks today, it's even more obvious that they won't support Nouri.

The editorial board of The National are just another example of people who don't know what they're talking about:

And yet despite Mr Al Sadr’s violent past and erratic politics, his departure is bad for Iraqi politics and bad for Iraq. That’s because his Sadrist movement was the one Shia movement that could challenge prime minister Nouri Al Maliki for the votes of the majority Shia community. With two Shia parties fighting for influence, there was always an opportunity for one of them to reach out to the Sunni community, in order to gain more votes.
But with Mr Al Sadr gone, his movement will be severely weakened, leaving Mr Al Maliki’s State of Law party as the main political group for the Shia.

No, that's stupidity.

Moqtada did and does challenge Nouri.  But that's all that's true there.  Moqtada's 40 seats in Parliament matter.  But Ibrahaim al-Jaafari's National Alliance got more seats in Parliament.  They received 70.  Iraqiya won with 91 seats and Nouri got 89.

Iraqiya won't be running in the 2014 elections, it's splintered.  It did not just get Sunni votes in 2010.  It also got Shi'ite votes -- it was a non-sectarian list of Shi'ite politicians (Ayad Allawi) and Sunnis (Osama al-Nujafi).  Nouri's war against Iraqiya makes it very unlikely the Shi'ite voters of Iraqiya will now glom to him.

Ammar al-Hakim is the leader of the Shi'ite bloc Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (they're a part of Ibrahiam's National Alliance).  He's been a rising star of the last three years to many analysts (who apparently have now lost their voices).  He's been seen, by Western analysts, as the less criminal Moqtada.  (I'm not calling Moqtada a criminal, I'm noting he's seen as that by some.)  His increased popularity could benefit the National Alliance and Moqtada's departure might make that more likely.

I don't know what's going to happen.  I do know State of Law performed poorly in the 2013 parliamentary elections which indicates problems.  I do know Nouri's own image has taken a hit and his popularity dropped.  I do know that it is extremely stupid to assume Sadr supporters would embrace Nouri.

Those are the knows which can be backed up.

In yesterday's snapshot, I discussed a number of possible scenarios.  I did not declare any of them accurate.

But I received a lengthy e-mail from an Iraqi analyst (which can go up here in full if he gives his permission, I'm fine with that) telling me how wrong I was.

I stated one possibility was Moqtada's move could lead to him being prime minister.

This especially enraged the analyst who told me I was "stupid" and "wrong" because, he insisted, you have to run to get in the government.


Saleh al-Mutlaq is the Deputy Prime Minister.  He's right under Nouri al-Maliki.

How many ballots did his name appear on in the 2010 elections?

Any guesses?


His name was removed by the Justice and Accountability Commission's ruling that Saleh was a Ba'athist.

He's got a seat in Parliament but he didn't run for it.  He wanted to.  He objected to the disqualification of his candidacy -- we can go the archives and quote all that back but hopefully most people already know it's accurate. 2010 wasn't that long ago.

Saleh holds the post immediately under Nouri.

If you have to run for these positions, by getting elected an MP in the parliamentary elections, than Saleh wouldn't be Deputy Prime Minister right now.

In terms of what can and can't happen, in terms of the prime minister?

In 2006, the US government demanded that Nouri al-Maliki be named prime minister (the Parliament wanted Ibrahim al-Jaaffari).  In 2010, the US government demanded Nouri get a second term and brokered The Erbil Agreement to go around the Constitution and give Nouri the second term.

Point being, April 30th would be the third parliamentary election of the current government.  (I don't count the January 2005 elections.  This was before the Constitution was written.)  Who knows what's going to happen?  The Constitution hasn't been followed in either of the previous two elections.  Will it be followed this time?  Who the hell knows?

But I presented possibilities yesterday.  I didn't say any of them was what Moqtada was up to.  If you felt I was wrong, that's how you felt.  But the analyst who wrote the lengthy e-mail telling me I was wrong had nothing to back that up.  And his ignorance as to how the 2010 elections went indicate that he might want to refrain from calling anyone wrong for awhile.

Nouri's popularity has fallen and that's only more true as a result of the seven weeks of failure that has been his assault on Anbar.

Nouri had a column ghost written for Foreign Policy.  His NYT column last year was ghost written by the US State Dept.  This time round, I'm told they only helped with "about 40%" of the column.

It's a sign of just how much damage the assault on Anbar has done to Nouri's reputation.  Over and over, it tries to wrap ribbons and bows around his actions and insist that they had larger purposes.

In one of the more ridiculous passages, he/they write:

Winning the support of the people we defend is central to our strategy for defeating terrorism. Because al Qaeda is targeting all Iraqis -- whether Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, or Turkmen, among other groups -- we are seeking to unite all Iraqis against the forces of extremism[.]

And how do you win that support, Nouri?

By terrorizing a people?

Via War Crimes?

As we noted Sunday at Third in our editorial:

Last Monday, National Iraqi News Agency reported Falluja General Hospital was again shelled (by Iraqi military) and 1 person was killed with fourteen more left injured ("including a doctor and three nurses").  Tuesday?  NINA reported the military's mortar attack on Falluja Educational Hospital left one doctor injured.  Friday, NINA reported the Iraqi military bombed Falluja General Teaching Hospital doing substantial damage and this is "the third bombing of the hospital during the last 24" hours,
Wael Grace (Al Mada) reported Wednesday that Nouri was announcing victory in his assault on Anbar.  Alsumaria reported Nouri stated the government will inventory all the damage his assault did to private and public property and pursue reconstruction.  He went on to note the public property included bridges, hospitals and . . .  Yes, he's even speaking publicly about his military attacking hospitals.
We've gone beyond just War Crimes to admitted War Crimes.
But the White House is silent.  The western press is silent.

Bombing hospitals is how you win support?

Bombs slammed Bahgdad today.  BBC News notes, "At least 49 people have been killed in a wave of car bombs in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Hilla, officials say."  This morning, the Belfast Telegraph explained, "Four car bombs went off simultaneously in different areas in the southern city of Hillah, killing at least 11 people and wounding 35 others, police said."  Hours later, NINA was reporting an Aliskandariyah car bombing left 2 people dead and nineteen more injured (and noting that this was the 6th car bomb in Babil Province).  Babil Province?  Hilla is the capital, as Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) notes.

In addition, National Iraqi News Agency reports a Tal Afar battle left 2 rebels dead,  Joint Operations Command announced they killed 45 suspects today, the Iraqi forces shelling of residential areas in Falluja left 2 civilians dead and six more wounded, police member Ali Hussein Ali was shot dead at "a fake checkpoint in the village of Haji Ali" while he was on his way to work,1 person was shot dead in southern Baghdad (Zafaraniyah area), an armed battle in Mosul left 2 police members dead, a roadside bombinh southwest of Baquba left two police members injured, and 2 corpses were discovered dumped in Baghdad.

In other news, War Criminal Steven D. Green is dead.  AP's Brett Barrouquere, who has long covered Green, reports  the 28-year-old Green was found dead in his Arizona prison cell on Saturday and that, currently, the operating belief is that it was a case of suicide.

Monday July 3, 2006, Sandra Lupien broke the news listeners of KPFA's The Morning Show, "Steven Green who is discharged from the army was arrested in recent days in North Carolina and faces criminal charges in connection with the killings." It's the fourth news break of that day's broadcast and Steven D. Green is currently and finally on trial in Kentucky.  From the July 3, 2006 snapshot: "Lupien also noted the arrest of Steven D. Green. Green, is 21 and was with the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. Friday, in Asheville, North Carolina, he was arrested and charged with both the four deaths as well as the rape. According to the US government press release, if convicted on the charge of murder, 'the maximum statutory penalty . . . is death' while, if convicted on the charge of rape, 'the maxmium statutory penalty for the rape is life in prison'."
November 2, 2006, the US Justice Dept announced Green had been indicted: "A former Ft. Campbell soldier has been charged with various crimes for conduct including premeditated murder based on the alleged rape of an Iraqi girl and the deaths of the girl and members of her family, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David L. Huber of the Western District of Kentucky announced today. Steven D. Green, 21, was charged in the indictment returned today by a federal grand jury in Louisville, Ky., with conduct that would constitute conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual abuse, premeditated murder, murder in perpetration of aggravated sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse on a person less than 16 years of age, use of firearms during the commission of violent crimes and obstruction of justice. The potential statutory penalties for conviction of these offenses ranges from a term of years to life in prison to death." 

May 7, 2009 Steven D. Green  was convicted for his crimes in the  March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty.

Alsumaria explained, "An ex-US soldier was found guilty for raping an Iraqi girl and killing her family in 2006 while he might face death sentence.  . . . Eye witnesses have reported that Green shot dead the girl’s family in a bedroom while two other soldiers were raping her. Then, Green raped her in his turn and put a pillow on her face before shooting her. The soldiers set the body afire to cover their crime traces."

Evan Bright reported on the verdict:

As the jury entered the court room, Green(red sweater vest) let out a large sigh, not of relief, but seemingly of anxiety, knowing the weight of the words to come. As Judge Thomas Russell stated "The court will now publish the verdict," Green interlaced his fingers and clasped them over his chin. Russell read the verdict flatly and absolutely. Green went from looking down at each "guilty" to eyeing the jury. His shoulders dropped as he was convicted of count #11, aggravated sexual abuse, realizing what this means. A paralegal at the defense table consoled Green by patting him on his back, even herself breaking down crying at the end of the verdicts.
After Russell finished reading the verdicts, he begged questions of the respective attorneys. Wendelsdorf, intending to ensure the absolution of the verdict, requested the jury be polled. Honorable Judge Russell asked each juror if they agreed with these verdicts, receiving a simple-but-sufficient yes from all jurors. Green watched the jury flatly.

From the September 4th, 2009 snapshot:

Turning to the United States and what may be the only accountability for the crimes in Iraq.  May 7th Steven D. Green (pictured above) was convicted for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21st, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead kicking in sentence to life in prison. Today, Green stood before US District Judge Thomas B. Russell for sentencing. Kim Landers (Australia's ABC) quotes Judge Russell telling Green his actions were "horrifying and inexcusable."  Not noted in any of the links in this snapshot (it comes from a friend present in the court), Steven Dale Green has dropped his efforts to appear waif-ish in a coltish Julia Roberts circa the 1990s manner.  Green showed up a good twenty pounds heavier than he appeared when on trial, back when the defense emphasized his 'lanky' image by dressing him in oversized clothes.  Having been found guilty last spring, there was apparently no concern that he appear frail anymore. 
Italy's AGI reports, "Green was recognised as the leader of a group of five soldiers who committed the massacre on September 12 2006 at the Mahmudiyah check point in the south of Baghdad. The story inspired the 2007 masterpiece by Brian De Palma 'Redacted'."  BBC adds, "Judge Thomas Russell confirmed Green would serve five consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole."  Deborah Yetter (Courier-Journal) explains, "Friday's federal court hearing was devoted mostly to discussion of technical issues related to Green's sentencing report, although it did not change Green's sentence. He was convicted in May of raping and murdering Abeer al-Janabi, 14, and murdering her parents, Kassem and Fakhriya, and her sister, Hadeel, 6, at their home outside Baghdad."
Green was tried in civilian court because he had already been discharged before the War Crimes were discovered.  Following the gang-rape and murders, US soldiers attempted to set fire to Abeer's body to destroy the evidence and attempted to blame the crimes on "insurgents."  In real time, when the bodies were discovered, the New York Times was among the outlets that ran with "insurgents."  Green didn't decide he wanted to be in the military on his own.  It was only after his most recent arrest -- after a long string of juvenile arrests -- while sitting in jail and fearing what sentence he would face, that Green decided the US Army was just the place he wanted to be.  Had he been imprisoned instead or had the US military followed rules and guidelines, Green wouldn't have gotten in on a waiver.  Somehow his history was supposed to translate into "He's the victim!!!!"  As if he (and the others) didn't know rape was a crime, as if he (and the others) didn't know that murder was considered wrong.  Green attempted to climb up on the cross again today.  AP's Brett Barrouguere quotes the 'victim' Green insisting at today's hearing, "You can act like I'm a sociopath.  You can act like I'm a sex offender or whatever.  If I had not joined the Army, if I had not gone to Iraq, I would not have got caught up in anything."  Climb down the cross, drama queen.  Your entire life was about leading up to a moment like that.  You are a sociopath.  You stalked a 14-year-old Iraqi girl while you were stationed at a checkpoint in her neighborhood.  You made her uncomfortable and nervous, you stroked her face.  She ran to her parents who made arrangements for her to go live with others just to get her away from you, the man the army put there to protect her and the rest of the neighborhood.  You are one sick f**k and you deserve what you got.  Green play drama queen and insist "you can act like I'm a sex offender" -- he took part in and organized a gang-rape of a 14-year-old girl.  That's a sex offender.  In fact, "sex offender" is a mild term for what Green is.
Steven D. Green made the decision to sign up for the US military.  He was facing criminal punishment for his latest crimes, but he made the decision.  Once in the military, despite his long history of arrests, he didn't see it as a chance to get a fresh start.  He saw it as a passport for even more crimes.  What he did was disgusting and vile and it is War Crimes and by doing that he disgraced himself and the US military.  His refusal to take accountability today just demonstrates the realities all along which was Green did what he wanted and Green has no remorse.  He sullied the name of the US military, he sullied the name of the US.  As a member of the army, it was his job to follow the rules and the laws and he didn't do so.  And, as a result, a retaliation kidnapping of US soldiers took place in the spring of 2006 and those soldiers were strung up and gutted.  That should weigh heavily on Steven D. Green but there's no appearance that he's ever thought of anyone but himself.  He wants to act as if the problem was the US military which requires that you then argue that anyone serving in Iraq could have and would have done what he did.  That is not reality.  He does not represent the average soldier and he needs to step down from the cross already.
 AFP notes, "During closing arguments at his sentencing, Green was described alternately as 'criminal and perverse' and deserving of the death penalty, and as a 'broken warrior" whose life should be spared'."  Brett Barrouquere (AP) has been covering the story for years now.  He notes that Patrick Bouldin (defense) attempted to paint Green as the victim as well by annoucing that Green wanted to take responsibility "twice" before but that Assistant US Attorney Marisa Ford explained that was right before jury selection began and in the midst of jury selection.  In other words, when confronted with the reality that he would be going to trial, Steven D. Green had a panic moment and attempted to make a deal with the prosecution.  (The offer was twice rejected because the 'life in prison' offer included the defense wanting Green to have possible parole.)  Steve Robrahn, Andrew Stern and Paul Simao (Reuters) quote US Brig Gen Rodney Johnson ("Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command") stating, "We sincerely hope that today's sentencing helps to bring the loved ones of this Iraqi family some semblance of closure and comfort after this horrific and senseless act."

Green went into the military to avoid criminal charges on another issue.  He was one of many that the military lowered the standards for.

May 28, 2009, the family of Abeer gave their statements to the court before leaving to return to Iraq. WHAS11 (text and video) reported on the court proceedings:

Gary Roedemeier: Crimes were horrific. A band of soldiers convicted of planning an attack against an Iraqi girl and her family.

Melissa Swan: The only soldier tried in civilian court is Steven Green. The Fort Campbell soldier was in federal court in Louisville this morning, facing the victims' family and WHAS's Renee Murphy was in that courtroom this morning. She joins us live with the information and also more on that heart wrenching scene of when these family members faced the man who killed their family.

Renee Murphy: I mean, they came face to face with the killer. Once again, the only thing different about this time was that they were able to speak with him and they had an exchange of dialogue and the family is here from Iraq and they got to ask Steven Green all the questions they wanted answered. They looked each other in the eye. Green appeared calm and casual in court. The victims' family, though, outraged, emotional and distraught. Now cameras were not allowed in the courtroom so we can't show video of today's hearing but here's an account of what happened. (Video begins] This is a cousin of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl raped and killed by Steven Green. He and other family members in this SUV were able to confront Green in federal court this morning. Their words were stinging and came from sheer grief. Former Fort Campbell soldier Steven Green was convicted of killing an Iraqi mother, father and their young daughter. He then raped their 14-year-old daughter, shot her in the head and set her body on fire. Today the victim's family was able to give an impact statement at the federal court house the young sons of the victims asked Green why he killed their father. an aunt told the court that "wounds are still eating at our heart" and probably the most compelling statements were from the girls' grandmother who sobbed from the stand and demanded an explanation from Green. Green apologized to the family saying that he did evil things but he is not an evil person. He says that he was drunk the night of the crimes in 2006 and he was following the orders of his commanding officers. In his statement, Green said if it would bring these people back to life I would do everything I could to make them execute me. His statement goes on to say, "Before I went to Iraq, I never thought I would intentionally kill a civilian. When I was in Iraq, something happened to me that I can only explain by saying I lost my mind. I stopped seeing Iraqis as good and bad, as men, women and children. I started seeing them all as one, and evil, and less than human." Green didn't act alone. His codefendants were court-martialed and received lesser sentences. Green will be formally sentenced to life in prison in September. [End of videotape.] The answers that Green gave were not good enough for some of the family members. at one point today, the grandmother of the young girls who were killed left the podium and started walking towards Green as he sat at the defendant's table shouting "Why!" She was forcibly then escorted to the back of the court room by US Marshalls. She then fell to the ground and buried her face in her hands and began to cry again. The family pleaded with the court for the death sentence for Green. but you can see Green's entire statement to the court on our website whas11.com and coming up tonight at six o'clock, we're going to hear from Green's attorneys.

Steven D. Green was convicted of War Crimes.  He was sent to prison.  Saturday he was found dead.  Over four years after his conviction Green is dead.  He lived 8 years longer than Abeer and her family did.

Some will try to feel sorry for Green.  I don't.  I feel sorry for Abeer and her family -- especially her surviving family who did not see remorse in Green at the trial.

In his post conviction days, he allegedly found a new religion (he became Catholic) and understanding.  Really?  Because he kept lying.  He lied about how he entered the military -- leaving out the whole part about it was jail or the military following his January 31, 2005 arrest  -- and he lied about a great deal.

What the religious conversion really looked like was a way to head into an appeal looking sympathetic.  If you want to blame people for Green's suicide?  Start with his lawyers who didn't understand how gullible he could be and how he really thought he had a solid chance of victory on appeal.  As the reality began to sink in (the government wasn't going to lose on this -- there were no procedural errors and there was no way Green would look sympathetic), he is said to have gotten extremely depressed and some prison workers were said to have noticed disturbed sleep and eating patterns.

However, it may turn out that the death wasn't suicide.  But what is know is that Green was a War Criminal.
After his so-called conversion, he liked to whine about what he saw, about what he lost and how he saw people die.

Strange though, he never wanted to take accountability for the deaths of  David Babineau, Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker.
They died apparently as a result of what was done to Abeer and her family. 

When did it come to light? In June of 2006. Prior to that the crimes were committed by 'insurgents'. Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reported on how Justin Watt (who was not part of the conspiracy) came forward with what he had been hearing. This was while US soldiers Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker were missing and, though the two were not involved in the war crimes, they were the ones chosen for 'punishment' as The Sunday Telegraph revealed in December 2006. Mechaca and Tucker get no special requests to the court. Like Abeer, they're dead. Like Abeer, they were guilty of no crime.

From Colin Freeman's "Two dead soldiers, eight more to go, vow avengers of Iraqi girl's rape" (July 10, 2006):

The American soldiers accused of raping an Iraqi girl and then murdering her and her family may have provoked an insurgent revenge plot in which two of their comrades were abducted and beheaded last month, it has been claimed.
Pte Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Pte Thomas Tucker, 25, were snatched from a checkpoint near the town of Yusufiyah on June 16 in what was thought at the time to be random terrorist retaliation for the killing of the al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an American air strike two days earlier.
Now, however, residents of the neighbouring town of Mahmoudiyah have told The Sunday Telegraph that their kidnap was carried out to avenge the attack on a local girl Abeer Qassim Hamza, 15, and her family. They claim that insurgents have vowed to kidnap and kill another eight American troops to exact a 10-to-one revenge for the rape and murder of the girl.

War Criminal Green is dead.  His death neither redeems him nor does it bring back the many whose deaths he's responsible for.  If it indeed was suicide?  Then his death was just the final in a line of killings he committed.