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05/10/2003 Archived Entry: "US calls itself "occupying power""

The Associated Press reports, "In proposing a U.N. Security Council resolution on sanctions, the United States and Britain for the first time refer to themselves as "occupying powers'' rather than ``liberating forces'' in Iraq. Here is a look at the main responsibilities of being an "occupier'' under the 1949 Geneva Conventions on humanitarian law, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross based in Geneva."

"An occupier must:

Restore and ensure public order and safety.
Provide the population with food and medical supplies.
Cooperate with aid and relief operations, if needed.
Ensure public health and hygiene.
Faciliate work of schools.
Uphold criminal laws of occupied territory, unless they constitute a threat or contradict international humanitarian law.

"An occupier cannot:

Loot.
Compel residents to serve in its armed forces.
Forcibly transfer residents out of occupied territory to its own territory.
Exploit resources of occupied territory for own benefit."

The United States military has dropped the guise of being a liberator and has become a self-acknowledged occupying force. For how long? "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday it is not possible to know how long U.S. forces will have to remain in Iraq and suggested that stabilizing the newly liberated country could take longer than a year." Given: 1) that Vietnam began with predictions of the military presence lasting a "few months," months that expanded into "over a decade" (depending on how you date it); 2) Iraq's almost obscenely rich oil resources are the prize; and, 3) the US needs secure military bases in that region...this will probably be a long occupation. I have a prediction. A draft will be instituted in the next year or so. Serving in an occupying force is the most dangerous and unpleasant military duty possible. Dealing with hostile indigeneous populations, controlling angry crowds, being accused (sometimes accurately) of firing at protestors and killing children...that's not duty for which soldiers willingly leave their families and back-home lives. If the US is going to remain a military presence of any size for any significant duration, a draft will probably be necessary.

According to reports, the US/British resolution "attracted early support from crucial swing voters on the 15-nation Security Council, leaving Russia and France isolated." To block the resolution, Russia or France might have to use a veto...a move that either would make with extreme reluctance given how harshly the US would react.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, an Oakland high school "teacher called the Secret Service on two 16 year old Oakland students because the alluded to offing Bush in a fired up conversation in their class about how Bush is killing people all over the world." One of them apparently had said only "Bush is wacked," slang for crazy or deranged. that was enough for English teacher Sandy Whitney to call the authorities and, a few hours later, U.S. Secret Service Agents Julie Pharo and Eric Enos showed up, pulled the two boys out of class, and grilled by the federal agents without legal counsel or their parents present, just the principal. "When one of the students asked, 'do we have to talk now? Can we be silent? Can we get legal council?' they were told, 'we own you, you don't have any legal rights'." No comment beyond the federal agents statements are required.

Best to all,
mac

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