If you’re a typical American, you probably read the big American newspapers and maybe a local paper or two. Most Americans don’t read newspapers from overseas, which means that they have missed a huge story about the disgusting treatment of people at the hands of American citizens. Two stories have recently come to light about just how inhumane the American soldiers have been. It is the story of rape and random killings.

We saw the photos of Abu Ghraib that the government wanted us to see, but there were worse photos to be seen. These were deemed so terrible that our fragile little “America is the best nation ever” eyes could not see. At least that is how the government thinks. If we had seen, heard, read about the rape and torture, particularly women, in Abu Ghraib, the nation would have turned against the government and demanded all troops return home immediately. Instead, we’ve been kept in the dark about what really happens there.

Lima Nabil, a journalist who now runs a home for on-the-run girls, sips coffee as the boiling Jordanian sun frowns through the window at us. “In Abu Ghraib,” she says, “women were tortured by the Americans much more than the men. One woman said she witnessed five girls being raped. Most of the women in the prison were raped – some of them left prison pregnant. Families killed some of these women – because of the shame.”

While many do not understand the reasoning behind honor killings, the fact is that many of these women would not have been subjected to honor killings if they had not been raped and/or tortured by Americans. Seymour Hersh wrote several articles for the New Yorker on the matter in 2004, but they seem to be long forgotten.

The troops who committed these terrible acts should be tried in Iraqi courts. These are war crimes and they gave up any kind of immunity they had when they threatened, beat, tortured, and raped these women.

Every single prisoner, regardless of what crime the American troops decided they had committed is a human being. Most of the people were rounded up and later found innocent. These people just want to live their lives. They don’t care about the oil that Americans want. They just want food and a decent life and American soldiers are destroying lives when they set themselves above the law.

Added to the humiliation of women and their families is the latest story of American soldiers who are killing Afghanis for sport, with some collecting their fingers as trophies. Twelve soldiers face charges of being part of a secret kill squad and five of those are being tried for sport killing.

According to investigators and legal documents, discussion of killing Afghan civilians began after the arrival of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs at forward operating base Ramrod last November. Other soldiers told the army’s criminal investigation command that Gibbs boasted of the things he got away with while serving in Iraq and said how easy it would be to “toss a grenade at someone and kill them”.

The Army Times reported that a least one of the soldiers collected the fingers of the victims as souvenirs and that some of them posed for photographs with the bodies.

The killings came to light in May after the army began investigating a brutal assault on a soldier who told superiors that members of his unit were smoking hashish. The Army Times reported that members of the unit regularly smoked the drug on duty and sometimes stole it from civilians.

The soldier, who was straight out of basic training and has not been named, said he witnessed the smoking of hashish and drinking of smuggled alcohol but initially did not report it out of loyalty to his comrades. But when he returned from an assignment at an army headquarters and discovered soldiers using the shipping container in which he was billeted to smoke hashish he reported it.

Two days later members of his platoon, including Gibbs and Morlock, accused him of “snitching”, gave him a beating and told him to keep his mouth shut. The soldier reported the beating and threats to his officers and then told investigators what he knew of the “kill team”.

The disgusting part of this story that many people are missing is that this fresh out of basic soldier was willing to keep his mouth shut about the kill team, but not about the hashish. He didn’t report the murders until after he was beaten for tattling about the hashish. So, essentially, he reported his fellow soldiers because his pride was hurt. He is just as culpable as the rest of his unit.

Unfortunately, there is little in the US press about what is happening. What has been reported is painting Specialist Adam Winfield, who reported the killings, as some sort of hero. He may not be as honorable as he looks. We are not getting the whole story and the US press is withholding information. If it’s not reported, then the American people don’t have to worry that something so horrible is really happening. They can paint this guy the hero and say, “It’s just a few bad apples and look at this nice boy who reported them.” The bad apples are quickly multiplying.

While it comes as no surprise that atrocities happen in war, why are we so willing to accept it when it’s our fellow countrymen who are committing these unspeakable acts? Psychopaths come from every nation. Our response, while admirable in the case of the kill team, is the right one, but it’s not enough. If we can try these soldiers for the murders of innocent civilians, why do we allow systematic rape and torture to go unpunished? Why do we allow it to happen to our own female military personnel? Why is it, seemingly, acceptable to rape and torture women?

Do we need to wonder anymore why so many countries hate Americans so much? Haven’t we gotten enough revenge yet? If we really want the world to view us as the good guys, we need to get the hell out of their countries and stop raping and killing innocent people.