Monday, December 24, 2007


To give you an idea of coverage available in alternative sources but rarely found, if at all, in the major mass media, Democracy Now! headlines a story from Army Times about the refusal of an Army unit to carry out orders after an IED attack in Iraq. It's mutiny. You'd think there would be something on the "news" shows on cable and the networks. But no. Indeed, there is hardly any mention of this story anywhere in the MSM -- or Blogtopia for that matter -- apart from a few briefs here and there.

The story is complex, of course, and it is hard to summarize in a few pithy lines. The "mutiny" happened, yes, but the Army's response was to make believe it didn't happen for public consumption and to punish the mutinous platoon by breaking it up, sending its non-coms to other units, and "flagging" all platoon members: no promotions, no awards, no favorable actions. Much worse could have been done to the men of the 2nd Platoon, but in its mercy, the Army thought this was enough punishment for disobeying a direct order to patrol a neighborhood in Baghdad where the company had lost so many men in the course of the occupation.

Why did they disobey? Because they were angry with their commanders? Because they were afraid of the Iraqis? No. Because they were afraid of what they would do to the Iraqis in revenge for the losses they had suffered over the last year as occupation troops.

A closing comment on Democracy Now!by Kelly Kennedy, the author of the piece in Army Times, sums up the feeling:

It just seemed like every time they made progress, it was slammed back down again. They just weren’t getting anywhere...

This sense of frustration and futility has long been a feature of the occupation of Iraq, and it has its parallels in the British occupation after WWI during which time the modern state of Iraq was cobbled together from the tattered remnants of the Ottoman Empire.

The Iraqis don't want them there, any more than they wanted the Indian Auxiliaries who were the actual occupation troops for the British. It took a while, but the Iraqis got the British to leave. And today, they are pushing the British bit by bit out of the southern provinces. Americans are no more welcome -- indeed, they are much less welcome -- in the northern regions of Mesopotamia, and like the Lilliputians tying up Gulliver, they are gradually tying up and quarantining the American troops as well as encouraging them to tie up themselves, quarantine themselves, so as to leave Iraqis alone. Odd that. These Natives were supposed to be so glad to be "subdued" by their Betters. As have all Natives, during past occupations.

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