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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
Susan Babbitt
Don’t Raise Liberalism From the Dead (If It is Dead, Which It’s Not)
Uri Avnery
Palestine’s Nelson Mandela
Fred Nagel
It’s “Deep State” Time Again
John Feffer
The Hunger President
Stephen Cooper
Nothing is Fair About Alabama’s “Fair Justice Act”
Jack Swallow
Why Science Should Be Political
Chuck Collins
Congrats, Graduates! Here’s Your Diploma and Debt
Aidan O'Brien
While God Blesses America, Prometheus Protects Syria, Russia and North Korea 
Patrick Hiller
Get Real About Preventing War
David Rosen
Fiction, Fake News and Trump’s Sexual Politics
Evan Jones
Macron of France: Chauncey Gardiner for President!
David Macaray
Adventures in Labor Contract Language
Ron Jacobs
The Music Never Stopped
Kim Scipes
Black Subjugation in America
Sean Stinson
MOAB: More Obama and Bush
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail