Second Rape by Iraqi Security Forces

The WaPo headlines this story Rape of Second Sunni Woman by Iraqi Security Forces Alleged, but the lede is "An Iraqi police official in the northwestern city of Tall Afar said Thursday that a military officer and three soldiers had admitted to raping a Sunni woman and recording the act with a cellphone camera." After a confession and a recording, "alleged" is rather silly.

Anyway, Prime Minister Maliki continues to assert that the first woman who came forward is lying "to exacerbate sectarian tension and undermine a U.S. and Iraqi security plan to pacify the capital." Seems to me that Maliki is doing more to exacerbate tensions by calling the woman a liar, calling her accused attackers heroes, and behaving like a dictator, because his pig-headedness has resulted in "300 insurgents hav[ing] volunteered to conduct suicide operations to avenge the woman who came forward Monday" if she won't get justice any other way.

Especially now that there is a second rape on record that even the rapists don't dispute, it's important for Maliki to be reasonable. Like, for instance, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who issued a statement saying the courts are "the only legitimate place to examine such allegations" and warning that the government should avoid "inflam[ing] sensitivities and creat[ing] mistrust," a sentiment seconded by Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi.

Meanwhile, we're making a huge mistake by staying out of it, "even though many Iraqis view the Americans as the only potential impartial arbiter." U.S. officials "initially said they would issue a statement on the case but later said discussing it would violate patient privacy guidelines," which is a pitiful excuse for not wanting to get involved, after the woman went public and Maliki's been emailing her medical records all over creation. What's the point of withholding the truth? It's not like the situation is just going to go away if the Americans don't say anything; if an eruption of violence is inevitable, at least the truth should be part of that equation.

Smell the freedom spreading.

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