The attack took place when former Army Pfc. Steven Green and three others abandoned their checkpoint and headed to Abeer’s house. Most changed out of uniform and some had been drinking. According to case documents, Green murdered Abeer’s parents and younger sister while other soldiers raped the teen. After Green announced the family members were dead, he raped Abeer and shot her in the head; her body was then set on fire, the documents state. The soldiers said the attack had been perpetrated by Sunni insurgents.
The Fallout: Months later, an insurgent attack on members of Green’s unit sparked suspicion that it was for retaliation to the rape and killings. After the military criminal investigators took over the case, the FBI arrested Green, who had been honorably discharged just before the allegations surfaced because of a "personality disorder." Green pled not guilty but was convicted of rape and murder. Though his trial was the first capital punishment case under a 2000 law allowing federal criminal courts to try crimes committed overseas by former members of the military, according to The New York Times, Green was spared the death penalty. He received a sentence in 2009 of life in prison without parole. The other four charged pleaded guilty or were convicted in military courts for their roles in the bloody raid; most received long prison terms, and all will be eligible for parole within the decade.
The Drowning of Iraqis in the Tigris. (IRAQ, 2004)
The Incident: Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman had commanded some 800 soldiers in the heart of the insurgency in Iraq. Then 40, The New York Times reported Sassaman had stood out as one of the most aggressive officers. Now he’s best known for deciding to cover up the drowning of an Iraqi by men who forced two detainees to jump into the Tigris river. Iraqis Marwan and Zaydoon Fadhil were pulled over by American troops near the river while racing to beat the curfew. They were taken to a riverbank and told to jump in. One reportedly drowned, and an Iraqi search party said it found his body. Defense lawyers contended that Zaydoon’s funeral was faked and that he was alive but in hiding.
The Fallout: 1st Lt. Jack Saville, an Army platoon leader involved in forcing the Iraqi civilians into the river, was sentenced in 2005 to 45 days in a military prison and given a $12,000 fine. Staff Sgt. Tracy Perkins, who gave the orders for the forced jump into the river, was acquitted of manslaughter but convicted of assault and obstruction of justice and sentenced to six months jail time. As for Sassaman, his decision to cover up the incident ultimately led to a stinging rebuke from the military of his “wrongful, criminal” conduct which basically ended his career. He then retired.
Abu Ghraib Scandal. (IRAQ, 2003)
The Incident: The scandal involving the treatment of Iraqi war prisoners and U.S. troops at the now infamous Abu Ghraib prison has become a symbol of abuse and a black mark for the U.S. internationally. In spring 2004, photographs depicting prisoner abuses and sexual humiliation were leaked to the media, which sparked a media firestorm and calls for then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign.
The Fallout: The U.S. military ultimately closed the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and launched several major investigations into the abuses. Ultimately, then-brigadier general and commander of Abu Ghraib, Janis Karpinski, was demoted and removed from command. Karpinski maintained she and her troops were just following interrogation guidelines approved by senior officials. A second officer, Thomas Pappas, was relieved of duty and fined in May 2005 due to his involvement as commander of the military intelligence unit assigned to Abu Ghraib when the offenses occurred, according to CNN. Seven low-ranking soldiers were convicted, sentenced to military prison, and dishonorably discharged. Then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz described them as "bad apples.”