FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Liberating Iraqis from Their Homes

by DAVID LINDORFF

 

As the U.S. Army’s Seventh Combat Support Group, a unit of the Third Infantry Division, moved northward in the Arabian desert west of the Euphrates River towards the town of Najaf on March 26, the commander, realizing his exhausted men faced shortages of food and water, was looking for a place of refuge. He found it in the form of two Bedouin families.

Drew Brown, reporter from Knight Ridder News Service who was embedded with the unit, reported that Col. John P. Gardner ordered the two families to leave their land and turn it over to his men. He reportedly gave them “receipts” for the tents, dogs, chickens, bowls, pots and other possessions they left behind–receipts that neither he nor anyone else could tell them how they could redeem–and sent them off “befuddled” into the desert.

If any incident illustrates the true nature of the Anglo-U.S. invasion of Iraq, this one is it. A modern army unit, bristling with the latest in high-tech, high-powered weaponry, purportedly in the country to “liberate” the natives from the tyrant who “enslaves” them, summarily casts two defenseless groups of men, women and children out of their homes into the barren desert, handing them worthless IOUs for their trouble.

Obviously Col. Gardner the liberator didn’t do much studying of American history or he would have known that the Third Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the one that bans the billeting of troops in private households, was a direct result of the British practice of taking over colonial farms and households at will for the quartering of Redcoat troops. It was this obscene imperial behavior, perhaps more than the issue of “taxation without representation”, that really fed the fires of rebellion in the U.S. colonies. Brown doesn’t tell us what the two “nomad” families felt or said as they were driven by Gardner and his men from their homes and lands, but it’s a fair bet they weren’t awash with feelings or gratitude at their liberation.

As this war continues to look more and more like a quagmire, this and other actions by the army of liberation are likely to cause problems for the liberators.

Take the U.S. attacks on Iraqi television and on the telephone headquarters in Baghdad. Under the doctrine of reciprocity, a country that suffers any type of attack during a war is entitled to respond in kind, even if the initial attack was outside the bounds of normally acceptable rules of war. This means that should Iraq decide to respond by sending sappers to the U.S to blow up the headquarters of CNN or Fox TV, for example, such attacks would not be acts of terrorism, but of war.

President Bush said he was invading Iraq to make America safe. In fact, by going to war in Iraq, he has, legally speaking, made the entire U.S. a potential battlefront in this war, inviting Iraq to send its agents into the country, or to get sleeper agents already here activated.

It’s unlikely that Iraqi sappers would be billeting themselves in American households, but should they do so, in an effort to hide from Ashcroft’s minions, or simply to seek temporary refuge, they could always cite the precedent of Col. Gardner, and say they were just behaving reciprocally.

Hopefully, if they force any American families out of their homes, those Iraqi agents will be as thoughtful about providing their unwilling hosts with receipts as was the Seventh Combat Support Group.

Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. A collection of Lindorff’s stories can be found here: http://www.nwuphilly.org/dave.html

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:
May 31, 2016
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Imperial Blues: On Whitewashing Dictatorship in the 21st Century
Vijay Prashad
Stoking the Fires: Trump and His Legions
Patrick Howlett-Martin
Libya: How to Bring Down a Nation
Uri Avnery
What Happened to Netanyahu?
Corey Payne
Reentry Through Resistance: Détente with Cuba was Accomplished Through Resistance and Solidarity, Not Imperial Benevolence
Bill Quigley
From Tehran to Atlanta: Social Justice Lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani’s Fight for Human Rights
Manuel E. Yepe
Trump, Sanders and the Exhaustion of a Political Model
Bruce Lerro
“Network” 40 Years Later: Capitalism in Retrospect and Prospect and Elite Politics Today
Robert Hunziker
Chile’s Robocops
Aidan O'Brien
What’ll It be Folks: Xenophobia or Genocide?
Binoy Kampmark
Emailgate: the Clinton Spin Doctors In Action
Colin Todhunter
The Unique Risks of GM Crops: Science Trumps PR, Fraud and Smear Campaigns
Dave Welsh
Jessica Williams, 29: Another Black Woman Gunned Down By Police
Gary Leupp
Rules for TV News Anchors, on Memorial Day and Every Day
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail