Ever since the news came out last month that the soldiers allegedly involved in the rape-murder of a young Iraqi and her family were from the same unit as the soldiers kidnapped and savagely killed, there's been a question (though not articulated in US media) about the relationship of the two incidents. Was revenge for the former the cause of the latter? The Sunday Telegraph, a conservative London newspaper, confirms it and warns of more revenge killings to come, quoting one of the family's neighbors: "We went to visit the cousin of the family who lived about half a mile away to tell them the news. He said, 'Please keep it secret and we will take revenge on the Americans the quiet way'."
Saba Shukr, 44, a Sunni sheikh at al-Aziz mosque in Mahmoudiyah, said: "We knew about this crime but the mujahideen brought revenge when they kidnapped two American soldiers in Yusufiyah. They are still waiting to kidnap and kill another eight soldiers, as the price of the death of the girl should be the death of 10 Americans.
"I am sure about this. The mujahideen promised us revenge."
US media largely shied away from pursuing the connection, though the Los Angeles Times did report last week on the Army's own investigation, quoting one of the investigators: "I cannot fathom the audacity it would take to do such a complex attack. What sort of rage exists in the populace? Are they saying, 'We aren't going to take this from people who do this to our women?' " The LAT also notes that the alleged ringleader, Steven Green, was officially discharged because of a personality disorder,
But unit commanders removed Green because they feared he posed a threat to Iraqi civilians, said the military official, citing documents produced by investigators.
Various details remain muddled. The rape victim, initially reported as a 25-year-old woman and schoolteacher, could have been as young as 14. Her family members killed with her, were her parents and younger sister, not a husband and child. It's not that the details make the crime any "worse" or "better," any more than understanding the revenge motivation behind the attacks on Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker in any way excuses their deaths or the brutality of their deaths.