http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/storie...ME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-08-08-11-17-26 Soldier Tells of Combat Stress in Unit By RYAN LENZ Associated Press Writer US Soldiers Face Hearing for Rape of Iraqi Girl EXCERPT BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Frequent deadly attacks by insurgents sapped morale and raised combat stress in a U.S. Army unit that included soldiers accused of raping and murdering a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, a private testified at a military hearing Tuesday. Pfc. Justin Cross recounted the "mentally draining" living conditions of the unit in the third day of the hearing to determine if five U.S. soldiers will be court-martialed in the March 12 assault near Mahmoudiya. The girl's parents and sister were also slain. "It drives you nuts. You feel like every step you might get blown up. You just hit a point where you're like, 'If I die today, I die.' You're just walking a death walk," Cross told the hearing. He said soldiers often drank Iraqi whiskey and took painkillers to relieve the stress of not knowing whether the day would be their last. One such drinking session preceded the rape and murders, the hearing was told by another witness on Monday. Spc. James P. Barker, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard are accused of rape and murder. If convicted by a court-martial, they could face the death penalty.