In March 2006, a gang of US soldiers took a liking to a young girl who passed through their checkpoint every day. When she rejected their advances, they threatened her - then went to her house, murdered her family, raped her, shot her, and set fire to her body. Today, the ringleader of that atrocity, Steven Green, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime. Justice has finally been served.
At the same time, I'm struck by the disparity in sentence between this and other US crimes in Iraq. Over the course of the occupation, dozens of US soldiers have been prosecuted for killing Iraqi civilians and prisoners. If they even make it to trial - and most don't - they typically receive a slap on the wrist with a wet bus-ticket, even for pre-meditated murders, and even when they have tortured their victim to death. This time round, these war criminals received a more normal sentence. Partly that is because Green was tried before a civilian rather than a military court, and his jurors were ordinary people rather than military thugs. But three other co-conspirators were given life sentences by the military justice system. It's hard not to conclude that what made the system work properly in this case was the rape - and that if these thugs had merely killed her and her entire family, they would have walked, just like all the others.