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Monday, October 13, 2003

Collective Punishment
According to this article from the Independent, US forces have destroyed orchards in central Iraq because their owners wouldn't give information about guerrillas attacking US troops.

The destruction of the fruit trees took place in the second half of last month but, like much which happens in rural Iraq, word of what occurred has only slowly filtered out. The destruction of crops took place along a kilometre-long stretch of road just after it passes over a bridge.

Farmers say that 50 families lost their livelihoods, but a petition addressed to the coalition forces in Dhuluaya pleading in erratic English for compensation, lists only 32 people. The petition says: "Tens of poor families depend completely on earning their life on these orchards and now they became very poor and have nothing and waiting for hunger and death."

This is completely despicable. Our troops have placed Iraqi people in an impossible situation. Forcing people to choose between losing their livelihoods or becoming collaborators (aka traitors) is something worthy of Nazis, not a supposedly free and democratic nation. This sort of behavior would violate the Geneva conventions even if the invasion were in any way justified. The US needs to get completely out of Iraq ASAP.