…Abeer’s mother told her relatives before the murders that, whenever she caught the soldiers staring at Abeer, they would give her the thumbs-up sign, point to her daughter and say “Very good, very good.”
…On March 12, 2006, the soldiers (from the 502nd Infantry Regiment) at the checkpoint had been drinking alcohol and discussing plans to rape Abeer. In broad daylight they walked to the house (not wearing their uniforms) and separated Abeer and her family into two different rooms. Steven Green then murdered her parents and younger sister, while two other soldiers raped Abeer. He then emerged from the room saying “I just killed them, all are dead”. He then raped Abeer, shot her in the head and proceeded (along with the other soldiers) to set fire to the house and bodies.
– From the Wikipedia entry on 2006 Mahmudiyah killings in Iraq
Steve Green, the primary accused in the case, later said, “I didn’t think of Iraqis as humans.” I came to know about this horrific incident on Reddit, as the whistleblower who brought this to the attention of the media – Justin Watt – is holding an ask-me-anything session there.
Looking through the flak Watt is receiving on Reddit (and elsewhere) – he mentions numerous death threats so far – I continue to be baffled how human beings, even when faced with such a heinous crime as this, can even think of labelling him as ‘a traitor’ who ‘outed his brotherhood’. Higher-ups in the US Army tried to cover up the incident – and it’s these things that make people hate America in the Middle East.
Three weeks ago I posted a link to another Reddit ask-me-anything thread, purportedly by a cancer patient who was going to be euthanised. A lot of vitriol has flown online since then, as it turns out that the thread was probably a hoax.
Many have said that even though the premise might not have been true, they were touched by the words of a stranger online and that’s all that matters. But then by asking to do that and ignore that it might be a lie, this becomes a question of faith whether you want to believe it or not – and whether it ‘touches’ you if you find out it’s a lie. Like believing in God, for instance.