PADUCAH, Kentucky (AFP) – A US Army colonel has testified that a former soldier on trial for the murder-rape of an Iraqi girl and the killing of her family told him months earlier he wanted “to kill all Iraqis.”
But Colonel Todd Ebel, who had been asked to assess the mental condition of former private first class Steven Green, said Tuesday he dismissed the soldier’s remarks as a venting of frustration and believed he “would be okay.”
He said he instructed Green’s superior officers to get him the help he needed including meetings with mental health counseling and chaplains.
Green is accused of being the leader of the gang rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by US soldiers in March 2006 in Mamudiyah, south of Baghdad, and of killing her, her father, mother and six-year-old sister.
Green, who was discharged for what was described as a personality disorder before the killing was discovered, is on trial in a civilian court.
Three fellow soldiers were sentenced to life in prison following military trials and a fourth was sentenced to 27 months for his role as a lookout.
Three months before the killing, Ebel talked to Green to assess his mental state following the murder the soldier’s sergeant and staff sergeant by an Iraqi man at a traffic checkpoint.
Ebel testified that Green told him “he wanted to kill all Iraqis” and “that he didn’t think the tactics used by the Iraqis in this war were fair.”
He said Green expressed frustration that the enemy would sometimes dress as civilians, making it extremely difficult to know whom to trust and whom to fear.
“I took that as his normal grieving,” Ebel said of Green.