A US soldier accused of raping, murdering and burning the body of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl may finally face his day in court. Though I'm opposed to the Iraq war, I recognize that this type of war crime is not unique to Iraq. Soldiers dating back to the Middle Ages, and likely even earlier, have used combat to cover for more personal crimes, and were sometimes rewarded for their efforts. Goya's classic art series "The Disasters of War," from the 1800s, chronicles countless atrocities committed by soldiers. The motivation of this particular soldier in Iraq is unclear, but it appears to be a mixture of opportunity, a conquering warrior syndrome and a sense of entitlement. He saw a helpless young woman who was a member of an enemy nation and took advantage of her, then burned the evidence and killed the witnesses, the girl's family. The only thing that makes him and the brutality of his crimes different from an ordinary rapist and murderer is his military status, and the enemy status of the victims. If he was a civilian living in the United States, he'd likely be executed for the same actions.
Scooter Libby won't be going to prison, because "President" Bush thinks that a 30-month sentence is too harsh for leaking the identity of a CIA agent, thereby endangering her life. But he claims that with the fine and the "damage" to Libby's reputation, Libby will not get off free. I'm not inclined to trust George W. Bush after what he's done with his presidency, and this feels like cronyism and currying favor among the conservatives he's alienated, as some have suggested. The fact that the CIA agent's husband, a US ambassador, was a vocal critic of Bush's Iraq policy leads to more suspicion of just how aware Bush was of Libby's crimes and how much he allowed to happen. There are rumors that Libby will get a full pardon, and while this won't be the first questionable presidential pardon, from Ford pardoning Nixon to Clinton letting Marc Rich off the hook and Bush Senior absolving Iran-Contra criminals, it will be another black mark on Bush Junior's presidential record.
Personal note: DC's Summer Masquerade Ball is less than two weeks away, and I still don't have an outfit. I'll be using my day off tomorrow to hit the stores in hopes of finding one, and waste time today when I should be working searching online for inspiration. But whatever I end up wearing, I can't wait for SMB. All the years I've gone, I've had an amazing night, and it looks like this year will be bigger and better than ever, with three floors and a rooftop deck, bands, models (including the goddess Julie Simone), fetish carnival games and the usual crew of kick-ass DJs and my good friends. And I might get to bring the latest object of my adoration, one I have high hopes for. I just hope this one doesn't turn out to be one in a long string of disappointments.