See No Evil

The heavily armed, trained killer was “under stress” when he raped, then murdered a 14-year-old girl and tried to burn her body, after having murdered her parents and 7-year-old sister.

“Hes my Steve. You cant stop loving someone.”

Here are the two poles of our existence, the human condition stretched between them, as taut as it can go, perhaps. How do we embrace a crime such as this – we, as Americans, who underwrote it? We want to push the accused into the deepest corner of our forgetting, but we cant quite do so.

The aunt, who attended the recent trial of former Pfc. Steven Green, at a civil court in Paducah, Ky., still loves this boy and told reporters, after his sentence to life in prison without parole, “We did not send a rapist and murderer to Iraq.”

And I believe her.

I believe her without minimizing the crime, without blocking my ears to the wailing remorse of the surviving family members who traveled from Iraq to witness the trial and testify at the “impact hearing” and who wanted Green to get the death penalty. And I believe her in spite of the medias stalled impasse of consensus expertise that explains and dismisses the actions of Green and two fellow GIs, James P. Barker and Paul Cortez, on March 12, 2006, in the village of Mahmoudiya, as further examples of the stress our soldiers are under in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are bad places. They lost it, yknow?

To my mind, such locked-in know-nothingism, such refusal to make obvious connections, makes the mainstream U.S. media fully complicit in the conspiracy to evade, indeed, shatter the whole concept of, responsibility for the consequences of our wars of conquest and occupation.

Robert C. Koehler |