This morning as I quickly skimmed through my daily e-mail of news headlines from the Washington Post, a title caught my eye – “Soldiers Plan to Argue Rape Tied to Distress”.
I gasped in horror as I read that attorneys representing the Army soldiers who confessed to raping and murdering a young Iraqi girl, want to argue that the crime was committed due to “extreme emotional distress;” basically excusing these soldiers from any responsibility for their actions. I guess it was the war’s fault? Or it’s the government’s fault that five men raped a girl who is reported to be less than 15 years old and then murdering her and her family? So I guess this makes it okay for any soldier under extreme emotional distress to destroy a child and her family’s life?
While I can imagine that wartime is an extremely stressful and soul-destroying experience, I do not believe that the psychological effects of wartime should even be considered as an excuse to rape fellow soldiers or the civilians (excuse me – children!) you are supposed to be protecting. At some point in all of our lives, we undergo extreme distress, violence, depression, whatever, but a lot of us choose to refrain from taking someone else’s life in exchange for our pain. Keyword – “choose” – it’s a choice. Something that I hope that whoever participates in this trial will deeply consider.
This has so many complications, one I am thinking of is the race issue - how the lives of brown skinned Muslim people - especially women - are considered worthless by those in power in the United States. This is probably how the Iraqis and other people around the world see it. And it’s very sad. I hope (and pray) that this Iraqi girl and her family receive justice.
- Nicole Player, Communications Asst.
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