U.S. troops raped, killed Iraqi woman and her family?

posted at 12:26 pm on June 30, 2006 by Allahpundit

Allegedly, and then burned her body to destroy the evidence. Five stand accused, and according to a source, one of them’s confessed. Good Christ.

They’re from Tucker’s and Menchaca’s regiment. The timeline isn’t crystal clear, but it sounds like it happened before the two were kidnapped:

The official said the killings appear to be unrelated to the kidnappings but that a soldier felt compelled to report the killings after his fellow soldiers’ bodies were found.

The killings appeared to have been a “crime of opportunity,” the official said. The soldiers had not been attacked by insurgents but had noticed the woman on previous patrols.

Whom to blame? Bush, obviously — the placing of panties on a detainee’s head at Abu Ghraib established a “culture of rape” that trickled down to the 502nd regiment in Iraq — but also, how about … “Hadji Girl”? Granted, it was a joke, and it doesn’t involve rape, and it was sung by a Marine to other Marines whereas these five were Army, and trying to connect the song to murder would involve the same logic that leads people to sue heavy metal bands for their kids’ suicides. But you know someone on the other side’s going to make the connection anyway, don’t you?

I had a post planned on the outrageousness of this E&P analysis finding “chilling links” between Haditha and My Lai, but since it pales in comparison to the news about the rape, I’ll just pass it along. If you’re disinclined to read all of it, the “chilling links” derive from the fact that in both cases:

1. A U.S. soldier was killed, and shortly thereafter his unit killed civilians.
2. Photos of the bodies were leaked to the press, which started asking questions, which in turn led to a military investigation.

Chilling, as is the fact that E&P cites the L.A. Times’s story on the Bargewell report from June 21st while selectively omitting the fact that it found no evidence of a deliberate cover-up. “[I]n today’s overtly partisan atmosphere,” concludes E&P, “most readers will likely flock to positions without close attention to the evidence.” Indeed, as the man might say.

Time’s got a new mini-scoop about Haditha, too: apparently Sgt. Wuterich was promoted on January 1 of this year, some six weeks after the alleged massacre. Says Time, “That has led some Marine sources to suspect there was at least a failure to report relevant details up the chain of command.” But Murtha said there must have been a cover-up from the top down based on the fact that blood money was paid to the families’ relatives. Surely Time’s not saying Murtha’s wrong. Are they?

Update: Speaking of “Hadji Girl,” the boss says it sounds like the Corps has gagged Cpl. Belile. The president of the National Institute of Military Justice says he might have a First Amendment defense.

Update: Rusty calls BS.

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One of the great unfortunate realities is that our military is human. In a force of more than 100,000, there will be a few bad people. At the same or less proportion as you’ll find bad people in the rest of society; actually there are probably far fewer.

So crimes will happen. Rapes and murders. Such is life.

But sadly, if the allegations turn out to be true, the clueless and confused will use this unfortunate reality to paint the entire military with the same brush for political gain.

And it pisses me off. I’m already angry – because I know how the left will treat this. No matter how stupid and illogical it is, I already know what they’re going to say.

Professor Blather on June 30, 2006 at 12:35 PM

I retired after 21 years in the USAF (active and reserve), and I’m inclided to agree with Professer Blather. There are probably a lower percentage of the bad element of society in the military.

The USAF has a set of core values that we teach and re-enforce to everyone: “Integrity first, Service before self, Excelence in all we do”

As a supervisor I’ve had to coucil a subordinate on these and their failure to uphold them.

I can imagine that there are a few bad eggs in every branch, but they are GREATLY out numbered by the good, something lost on the left and the MSM.

rattrap47 on June 30, 2006 at 12:55 PM

Are we all going to fall that phooey again? This time I’m not buying.

dhimwit on June 30, 2006 at 1:04 PM

Same thing with the Haditha case, etc
Lets go to court and see what happens

Defector01 on June 30, 2006 at 1:36 PM

How many troops have spent time in Iraq–about a million I would guess. The surprise is not that this happens, but that it doesn’t happen more often. Get the facts, exonerate or punish as swiftly–and transparently–as possible. Then move on.

honora on June 30, 2006 at 1:39 PM


Allahpundit on June 30, 2006 at 1:41 PM

Yet again, instead of being OUTRAGED at this possible incident, you people turn the spin machine on high and point the finger of blame towards the left/media.

“Hearts and minds…”
“We will be greeted as liberators.”

better off blue on June 30, 2006 at 1:43 PM

Hilarious, blue. You complain that I’m overreacting to the left’s response — and then immediately start in with leftist spin of your own.

You’re a cartoon. Ask honora for lessons on how to behave like a three-dimensional liberal.

Allahpundit on June 30, 2006 at 1:48 PM

We do know that some inner-city gangs have been sending their “soldiers” to Iraq to get urban warfare training. We do know criminals with criminal tendencies enlist.

We also know they are a small fraction compared to the vast majority of good soldiers.

If this turns out to be a false accusation, we can rejoice in the fact that we’ve taught the Iraqis how to use our legal system against us, another tactic in the war on the west.

NTWR on June 30, 2006 at 1:48 PM

This sounds like a case of “deja vu all over again.” I will reserve (once again) my judgement on this. However, reading that the body was burned is odd. Isn’t that what Muslims mostly do to dead bodies?

moonsbreath on June 30, 2006 at 1:58 PM

What PB said. I also will hold my judgment, since I believe our soldiers have a right be be thought of as innocent until proven guilty. Too bad others don’t do that for them. Also, since the “stuttering soldier” (I can’t remember his name right now) supposedly “confessed” to murdering a couple of hundred people and then was proven a fraud, I’ll wait on proof of this other soldiers confession, too.

StephC on June 30, 2006 at 2:14 PM

How about we stop giving attention to these incidents until after a soldier is actually proven to be guilty. I’m really getting sick of reading about all these alleged atrocities commited by our troops. When it comes to this stuff I care about one thing: the decision of the court that tries the soldiers. All this speculation over something so hideous before any facts are layed out by a military court is hurting us. Follow the court proceedings, write it up, then stop. I care little for allegations and speculation where our fine men and women in uniform are concerned; regardless of what side of the aisle they come from.

Cary on June 30, 2006 at 2:19 PM

OUTRAGED at this possible incident

Outraged at something that MIGHT have happened?

Better off Blind, where is YOUR outrage at something that DID happen, like the jihadis butchering our two soldiers? Your hypocrisy is laughable.

speed647 on June 30, 2006 at 2:46 PM

Take it to trial and find out what happens
That’s all we say
We’ve heard a lot of fake accusations being thrown around lately so before I get outraged I’d like to see some proof.

Defector01 on June 30, 2006 at 2:48 PM

honora: Right.

Allah: Heh.

Cyanotic Blue You look like you need a deep breath. An honest liberal might have assumed outrage at the concept of rape and murder.

Is it wrong to hope this is not true? I think not, and recent history seems to indicate, sadly, that rumors of atrocities by our soldiers are greatly exaggerated.

Jaibones on June 30, 2006 at 3:18 PM

Wow, a raped and murdered woman in Iraq? Probably a lot more of them right here in the good old US of A thanks to liberal democrat judges turning criminals loose to offend again all the time.

No, the story really is that a liberal MSM would USE an unfortunate incident such as this to attempt to smear Bush, the US, and the rest of those there fighting and dying for other peoples freedom.

NRA4Freedom on June 30, 2006 at 3:26 PM

How many troops have spent time in Iraq–about a million I would guess. The surprise is not that this happens, but that it doesn’t happen more often. Get the facts, exonerate or punish as swiftly–and transparently–as possible. Then move on.

Holy Keeee-rap! Honora wrote that? HONORA? I was stunned after reading that; bamboozled; kerfluffled. I was living in a bizzarro world, where suddenly the senseless were making sense.

I needed a drink. Or a nap. Or both.

If even Honora could grasp the obvious – maybe there was hope for the world? (And kudos to you, Honora. For now I’ll pretend that global warming graph never happened.)

There I was, puzzled but pleased. Ready to jump to the end of the thread and say thank you to Honora for his/her surprisingly honorable post.

But then just two posts down – this gem:

Yet again, instead of being OUTRAGED at this possible incident, you people turn the spin machine on high and point the finger of blame towards the left/media.

“Hearts and minds…”
“We will be greeted as liberators.”

Ah – there we go. That’s the world I know. Thank you, BetterOffBlue, for reminding me of who you are and what you represent.

Whew. I feel much better. Honora had me all perjinxled (patent pending on that word) there for a second. But thanks to BetterOffBlue’s predictable knee-jerk non-thinking response, up is up again, down is down again, and liberals still hate their country. Situation normal, all !#$%ed up. I feel much better.

By the way, BetterOffBlue — I’m STILL waiting to hear about your military service. This is like the 12th time I’ve asked. You DID serve …. right?

Oh, what the hell, your usual tripe leads me to a couple obvious questions I just can’t help but ask: 1) Why would any thinking human be outraged at a “POSSIBLE” (to quote you) incident?, 2) could you point to where someone here said this story – if true – is not in fact horrible and outrageous, and 3) Do liberals just basically not believe in due process of law – or is it just you?

If BetterOffBlue actually ANSWERS any of the above questions, I really am getting a drink and a nap. That would be too much surprise for one day.

Professor Blather on June 30, 2006 at 3:41 PM

Honora asked a good question that got me thinking (no, seriously. I’ll get that nap later. And that drink). Anyway, I did a little research and discovered that the actual number of troops that have served in the Middle East post-9/11 is even higher than I thought.

This article cites a January 2005 figure that, including both Afghanistan and Iraq, almost 1.1 MILLION had served in theater up to that point. And that figure is now 1.5 years old; I’d guess its safe to assume we’re closer to 2 million at this point. Maybe 1.5 million.


Add to that hundreds of thousands of other coalition forces (75,000 British as of August 2005, for example).

Now compare that to Vietnam: “During the 15 years of the Vietnam conflict, around 2.4 million troops served there.”

Pretty surprising. To me at least.

But now to Honora’s point: EVEN if we assume that each and every allegation of misconduct has been true (which is laughably stupid), the rate of crimes and misconduct has obviously been amazingly low – probably the lowest in history for this scale of conflict.

For a comparison of just how much lower the rates of crime and misconduct are among our troops than they should be – check out the crime rates for 2004 for every state:


I’ll let you draw the obvious conclusions. Although you shouldn’t expect to see those conclusions reported in the NYT anytime soon.

Professor Blather on June 30, 2006 at 3:58 PM

NRA4Freedom, you got it exactly right. Very well written in my opinion. Wish there were more like you on our benches.

Cary on June 30, 2006 at 4:15 PM

My two cents is that something about this story stinks. Do troops committ crimes? Of course. Far less often than people like Aimee Allison* would say, but they happen none-the-less. I am aware the stoy says that one service member has already confessed…

BUT, some thing about this story strikes me as contrived. It is almost like it sounds like some hard-left, hate the military stereotype fantasy. It is just too over the top. I remember a couple of years ago when those photos of U.S. troops raping Iraqi women came out. Yet when it was investigated, it was shown that they were nothing but fabricated South American porno pics. Yet lots of people piled on that story, mostly in my opinion, because it was so scandilous that it HAD to be true. It was too good of a story not to be true. Honestly, this story sounds like something out of a movie, not real life. Murder, gang rape, burn the bodies/burn the village, cover up, oh my! If that is what an honest investigation reveals, I will stand corrected and hang my head in shame that some U.S. troops did this.

By way of explanation of why I am suspicious of this story, consider the following scenariso: If someone told me that he was framed by the LAPD and that they planted a bag of dope on him during a traffic stop, I would say that although I don’t believe that the LAPD goes arround planting dope on people as a matter of policy, I will grant you that it is conceivable that this happened.

But if the same guy said that they planted the dope on him to keep him from revealing the truth that the Secret Service, on orders from Karl Rove, had instigated the Tupac and Biggie Smalls slayings to forment a East Coast / West Coast Hip Hop war to cover up the future connection between a Valaire Plame, Scotter Libby and Dick Cheney sorid sexual threeway, well…. all I can say to that is extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Just sayin’.

*Remember, she supports the troops!

EFG on June 30, 2006 at 4:31 PM

When it comes to these kinds of allegations, “wait and see” is the watchword of the day. Even when supposedly there’s someone who “confessed.”

Wasn’t that one Marine – I forget his name now – who was not so long ago accused, but later exonerated, of committing a murder in Iraq also “implicated” by another Marine? Until it turned out that the guy making the allegations was holding some kind of grudge?

The problem I have with all such allegations is that in the era of our media’s new investigatory standards – “Fake, but Accurate!”(TM) and “It Could be True!”(TM) – I’ve been left with no choice but to take everything derogatory they say about the administration and the military with a boulder-sized grain of salt.

How many times have we seen our own “journalists” breathlessly speak and write of flushed Korans, or murder allegations, or wildly inflated civilian casualty figures, or telephone “datamining,” … only to see them tip-toe away from the same when they proved either false or exaggerated?

Too many times. Too many to take them for their word at face value anymore.

“We ain’t no thin red ‘eroes
And we ain’t no blackguards, too;
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you.
And if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow in to plaster saints.

An’ it’s Tommy this, ‘n Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
But Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!”

Spurius Ligustinus on June 30, 2006 at 5:50 PM

To hope the story is true … well … that’s just stupid. Our troops deserve the benefit of the doubt or that little thing that criminals here in the states get … what is it? Oh yeah, innocent until proven guilty. I would also imagine that the rest of our troops would want “their own” tried and convicted if they are proven guilty of any such atrocity.

On another note … how bout those UN peacekeepers? Does the American hating left keep track of what their up to? Just asking.

wytammic on June 30, 2006 at 5:52 PM

When it comes to these kinds of allegations, “wait and see” is the watchword of the day. Even when supposedly there’s someone who “confessed.”

Wasn’t that one Marine – I forget his name now – who was not so long ago accused, but later exonerated, of committing a murder in Iraq also “implicated” by another Marine? Until it turned out that the guy making the allegations was holding some kind of grudge?

My sentiments precisely.

EFG on June 30, 2006 at 5:59 PM

Where’s BOB to respond to his responders? Guess he’s off with his best buddy Neil.

Anyway, I’m not surprised by these charges – if you look at the way the Marine Corps treated its Marines based on mere accusations (i.e. shackles, solitary confinement, and conviction in the media), then it’s no surprised that others in Iraq have been encouraged to “come forward” with their accusations of atrocities, as they know it will create instant outrage in our media circles and from haters like BOB.

Theses soldiers are absolutely innocent until PROVEN guilty.

I bet if our policy would have been to eradicate entire city blocks using MOABs then these soldiers and marines would have never had to worry about being in situations where they could be accused of these things in the first place. But such is our western fetish for “moral superiority”, which we allow to trump the need for “victory”. And so it drags on, and we will see more accusations like this, even though 99% of them are probably bull excrement.

thirteen28 on June 30, 2006 at 6:09 PM

Spurius Ligustinus writes:

Wasn’t that one Marine – I forget his name now – who was not so long ago accused, but later exonerated, of committing a murder in Iraq also “implicated” by another Marine? Until it turned out that the guy making the allegations was holding some kind of grudge?

Yes. Lt. Ilario Pantano was accused of murdering 2 Iraqis. His story is told in his book “Warlord : No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.”

I reading it now.

georgej on June 30, 2006 at 8:04 PM

Get a grip here folks and get real! The enemy is really getting smarter than I would like to think they are. Let’s see, choke the children today? Rape the nuns today? Kill the little children today? No, I’ve got it! Bomb the baby milk factory!

NEMETI IN SYRACUSE on July 1, 2006 at 12:18 AM

These are the facts as I see it:
1. The left are hell bent to discredit the military and in doing so cause harm to the war effort.
2. All reports of military atrocities todate have been unfounded.
3. The media has been eager to highlight any and all reports of artocities.
4. Each atrocity report has to be meticulously investigated tieing up resources that could be better used elsewhere
5. The enemy knows this and can easily fabricate evidence of atrocities since they are killing people almost every day.

Advantage: the left and the enemy – hard to tell them apart.

docdave on July 2, 2006 at 12:03 PM

While we have the left-over lefties of the Vietnam era still pushing their anti-war agenda no matter what the circumstance we will continue to have the Kerrys and Sheehans picking up any available club to beat over the head of the military-(showing their conflicted idealism). This is a story destined for Newsweek covers, Cnn polls/analysis, NYT editorials, and of course the ranted ravings of the Franken/Olbermann factor.
Our hope is: innocent until proven innocent.
But until the outcome is known, get in the face of anyone who tries to Murtha the entire military for the actions of a few.
Does anyone remember a year ago:

Doug on July 2, 2006 at 8:56 PM

Lost a comment-I apologise if it shows up repeating this.
Of couse we hope for innocent until proven innocent.
Whatever the outcome, don’t allow anyone in your presense to Murtha the war effort because of the actions of a few allegedly evil people.
Does anyone remember this?

Doug on July 2, 2006 at 9:00 PM

Of all the hundreds of thousands of our troops that are in Iraq and Afghanistan the tiny number that IF guilty are so few. There really are so few of them. And the rest of our military is totally awesome!!!!!!

If just once the MSM would be on the side of the military and America this kind of news would be ONLY handled by the military and the news of it would probably not even get out. They take care of things better then some freak behind a desk at one of the alphabet channels or any of the media.

God bless our military and keep them safe. The enemy they are fighting in this war is straight from hell and I am all for sending the enemy back to hell where they belong.

Wild Thing on July 3, 2006 at 1:55 AM