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Mercy to the rapist soldiers February 23, 2007

Posted by dorigo in news, politics.

I read in the news today that after James Barker, recently sentenced with 90 years of imprisonment, now a second soldier, sergeant Paul Cortez, will do 100 years of time for the horrendous crime they committed in Iraq, where they raped and killed a 14 years old girl, after killing the three members of her family. 

Three other soldiers, Steven Green, Jesse Spielman and Bryan Howard, are still on trial. The first, being no longer in the military, will appear in front of a federal court, where he will face charges punishable with the death penalty.  

These five men committed a horrible act. I am against the death penalty, but I have no objection to a long time sentence in cases such as this one. However, by reading the story, I cannot help feeling that the soldiers themselves are, in some way, victims. Sacrificial ones, to be clear.

The US waged war to Iraq motivating it with the false claim that the Iraqi regime possessed weapons of mass destruction – a fact that, even if proven true by itself would have meant nothing, given that no less than nine countries own nuclear weapons, US included. The United States are responsible for a horrible civil war (yes, we can say civil war now: many thanks to the Bush administration for allowing us to call it for what it is) which is killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians.

In the face of the astonishing level of death, destruction, and grief that the Bush administration has caused, the horrendous act of the five american soliders may well be put in perspective. Of course, it is tough to justify with the harshness of their job conditions the amount of violence they unleashed. But today, with a cold mind, one can say that if the five soldiers face 100-year charges, then those who sent those soldiers and tens of thousand more to bomb, destroy, kill, occupy and rule Iraq, should be charged with much more than that.

My job today is to think positively – the hard punishment of these soldiers is an act of democracy and justice. In the back of my mind, though, I can’t repel the thought that these sentences stink of a clumsy way to attempt to pacify our souls by showing us  that the United States are a civil, democratic country, and that their army soldiers are indeed punished if they commit crimes abroad because they deserve it, and not for propaganda.

It still aches to remember the Cermis tragedy…



1. Tony Smith - February 23, 2007

Tommaso said “… The US waged war to Iraq motivating it with the false claim that the Iraqi regime possessed weapons of mass destruction … if the five soldiers face 100-year charges …[for raping and killing Iraqis]… then those who sent those soldiers and tens of thousand more to bomb, destroy, kill, occupy and rule Iraq, should be charged with much more than that. …”.

To see the real motive for USA capitalists to support the Iraq war, you just have to be able to do basic mathematics with basic facts.

In what follows, I will use very rough oil and dollar figures, but I think that they are close enough to reality to illustrate what is going on.

Iraq has 100 billion barrels of oil.
At $50 per barrel, that is $5 trillion.
If the price goes to $100 per barrel, that is $10 trillion.

If Iraq’s 100 billion barrels of oil is pumped out over a 10-year USA military occupation,
if it costs the USA $200 billion per year to control Iraq and its oil,
the USA will have bought for $2 trillion an asset worth $5 to $10 trillion.

If Iraq has so much profit potential,
why is opposition to the war in the USA congress growing, and why are the British planning to leave ?

In my opinion, it has nothing to do with anything like morality, because the horrors of war being inflicted on the Iraqi people have been well known for years during which the same USA and British politicians supported the war.

It has everything to do with the question of whether or not the USA will be able, with its military, to control Iraqi oil production and sale
it is now appearing that the USA military is unable to maintain that control under present conditions
to continue the $200 billion per year military adventure may be an unprofitable waste of money.

There are 2 alternatives:
1 – stop the war and let Iraq go its own way;
2 – change the conditions so that the USA can control the oil.

Some USA politicians, along with the British, seem to be going for alternative 1.

Bush seems to be going in the direction of alternative 2,
so it is fair to ask whether the USA military is strong enough to change such conditions (i.e., to end the flow of money, weapons, and men into Iraq from Iran etc, and to establish a sufficiently large occupation force within Iraq).

The strength of USA military is dependent on USA policy decisions,
increasing if the USA is willing to draft a million or so soldiers for Iraqi occupation duty
increasing if the USA is willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran etc,
decreasing if the USA underestimates the effectiveness of Iranian missiles (supplied by China and Russia) that can sink surface ships and hit USA air and ground bases in the Persian Gulf region.

I don’t know what will happen, but it may happen soon. I wish that it could be regarded as an interesting geopolitical experiment to determine who will control the Persian Gulf oil for the rest of its productive life (maybe a decade or so), but that would omit the horrible cost in lives and suffering. As my favorite USA military hero, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, said: “War is Hell.”.

Tony Smith

PS – As an aside: A lot of the horrible bloodshed of the USA Civil War would have been avoided (i.e., the war would have been a very quick Union victory) if Lincoln had started out with a competent military commander. In fact, Lincoln tried to do that in 1861 by asking Garibaldi (who in 1860 had conquered Sicily and Naples) to be the Union commander, and Garibaldi said he would do so on two conditions: 1 – Garibaldi would have complete command with no political interference; and 2 – Lincoln would free the slaves. Lincoln did not then agree to free the slaves, and so began the war with incompetent Union commanders whose mistakes allowed the war to drag on for years with much suffering.
when Bush was told by USA generals that occupation of Iraq would take at least 300,000 soldiers, he made a polical decision and fired the generals and went in with a bit over 100,000 (being all that he could get without resorting to a politically unpopular draft), which was sufficient for a blitzkreig taking of Baghdad but (as the generals had said) insufficient for occupation of the country,
early incompetent military decisions again led to prolonged horror and human suffering.

2. Fred - February 23, 2007

The ‘ol can ‘o worms agin, eh? I must need another beer.
Remarkably, this situation has happened too many times and will continue to happen til the end. We will never be able to stop ourselves. It simply boils down to opportunity and desire. Our species is a distortion just like any justice system is which we can create. The purity of early American societal justice was forged with fire and brimstone, so, to truly expect anything else from this country, at this point in time, is unrealistic. From an international perspective, the face of George Bush represents America, says it all. Realistically put, at this very moment, THAT IS US! Even the ‘lefties’ leadership here espouse death to others as a form of retribution. As an understatement, like the rest of the world, most of us here are not happy with our actions abroad. Disregarding intelligent thought and action, it’s going to take ONE dominant S.O.B. to effect positive change, … temporarily. Jean Toomer reflected years ago in his poem,


There is a natty kind of mind
That slicks its thoughts,
Culls its oughts,
Trims its views,
Prunes its trues,
And never suspects it is a rind.

3. dorigo - February 23, 2007

Dear Tony,

your matter-of-fact analysis of the economy of the iraq war is quite clear, and I learned something from it. Thank you for your insight, which I have gotten used to pride myself of hosting here.

And the example you make with the US civil war, about every wrong decision falling on the head of the innocent, is inspiring. But I think that 300k soldiers on iraqi soil would have been worse than 100k – I do not believe the US would have been able to eradicate insurgency. Armies are made to fight other armies, and are ill-at-ease with organized guerrilla.


4. island - February 23, 2007

1% of the world population owns 99% of the world’s wealth.

The graph that I saw on this was done over the span of a football field, and for 99 yards the line held flat against the ground, until it reached that point and skyrocketed through the atmosphere and past the moon.

Think about that the next time that the world players pit ideologies against each other to convince people think that they know who the real evil is.

Maybe one of you who think that GW is totally at fault here can tell me why Ted Kennedy never stood trial for murder, or why the Republicans were legally allowed to put Admiral Poindexter back into a high-level government position after being convicted of felony crimes like, fraud and conspiracy, lying to congress… etc…

Can somebody explain to me why your wonderful and fearless liberal leaders of both sides don’t hold each other responsible for the same crimes that would put the rest of us on a road gang?

You guys that are SO convinced that the other side is all completely dead wrong… are the worst disease that the world has ever known, next to them…

Run rampant my little extremists…

5. dorigo - February 24, 2007

Dear Island,

what I wrote in the post above did not in any way single out GW from the long list of leaders who have caused great sufferings and losses to whole peoples. The act of governing a country and taking decisions is always likely to have dramatic consequences if the decision is not the correct one, and we are all humans.

My point was that I do not think it is right for our leaders to disclaim liability. Bush and his advisors should pay for what they have done, and so should the next democrat in GW’s seat if he or she (most likely she) creates somewhere else in the world, through bad judgement or private interests, a tenth of the havoc in Iraq.

That said, I must also say I think you went too far if you called me an extremist. Others here can speak for themselves…


6. dorigo - February 24, 2007

Hi Fred,

I had to take out my dictionary, but the poem you pasted above is really beautiful, and I thank you for that.


7. Arun - February 24, 2007

The US invasion of Iraq is not entirely about oil. It is in part because of an attitude like this, that found public support after 9/11: “”Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”

Further, I’d suggest reading the following two:


by Roger Morris, that, by looking at ex-Secy. Defense Rumsfeld’s career also provides some general insights into where this war came from.

8. jeff - February 27, 2007

300k versus 100k? Wars are not only a matter of numbers of soldiers or guerrillas but of policy and politics. When shove comes to push and push comes to shooting you should turn Clausewitz’s truism around and remember that “Politics is the extension of war”. I will save you my comments on Iraq. We might share opinions of how bad Bush skrewed thinks up but I feel we would then diverge apart.

9. dorigo - March 1, 2007

Hi Jeff,

well, sure… I know we have better argue about physics than politics, me and you 🙂

Hi Arun,

thanks for the links, I will give them a look when I am back from Mexico.

Cheers to both,

10. A smart one - August 4, 2007

These soldiers are oportunistic slobs that tortured and killed a young child and her family, it has nothing to do with oil, their being victims of the war by being sent over there (please). When two amercians hold a child down to be raped repeatedly, they are no more than animals, and animals is too good a word for these bums, for animals would show their prey more mercy. Let’s not confuse the issues here, rape and american greed in wartime are two very different things. You men try spending some time in a max security prison with a bunch of horny sexual degenerates, and see how fast you’ll learn to properly differentiate.

11. A smart one - August 4, 2007

you must be some kind of a moron to even put the two together in a sentence. mercy of any kind for those pigs? What are you a like minded individual? Very odd

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