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Patricide: Another Legacy of the Iraq Occupation

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strikeby Jacob G. Hornberger

Yesterday’s front page of the New York Times provides yet another horrible legacy arising out of the U.S. invasion, occupation, and war of aggression against Iraq, a country that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.

Last month, an Iraqi named Hamid Ahmad was killed. At first blush, that obviously doesn’t seem very extraordinary. After all, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Iraq, both by the U.S.-enforced sanctions before the invasion and by the invasion and occupation themselves.

What was different about this particular killing and what makes it particularly horrible was the identity of the killer: Hamid Ahman’s very own 32-year-old son, Abdul Haleem.

What motivated Abdul Haleem to kill his father? His father was working with the U.S. military and supporting its occupation of Iraq. His son, on the hand, was an insurgent, an Iraqi who was committed to ousting his country of a foreign occupier.

“Everybody hated him because he worked for the Americans,” said Abdul. “I wanted to fight the Americans, to kick them out. I didn’t say anything to him. I just pulled the trigger and shot six or seven bullets.”

American interventionists, of course, tend to view the U.S. military as a benign force, one that invaded Iraq out of love and concern for the Iraqi people. “We had to get rid of Saddam,” they repeatedly point out. “He was a brutal dictator.”

One big problem, however, is that when foreign regime wages a war of aggression against another country and then occupies that country, there are going to be a certain number of citizens in the invaded country who are going to oppose the invader/occupier and with force. Such insurgents are going to view themselves as the patriots and are going to view their fellow citizens who cooperate with the occupier as treasonous Quislings.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that that phenomenon has occurred in Iraq.

The situation really wouldn’t be much different if Americans were faced with the situation that the Iraqis have been faced with. Suppose China started a war with the United States and that its military forces succeeded in defeating U.S. forces. Suppose millions of Chinese soldiers, reinforced by soldiers from North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, began a long-term occupation of the United States.

Everywhere Americans went within the United States, they would encounter foreign troops, who wielded the same omnipotent power that U.S. troops wield in Iraq: the power to arbitrarily stop people and search their belongings, or to enter their homes whenever they wanted and subject all family members, including wives and daughters, to complete searches, to jail people for as long as they wanted, to torture and abuse them, and to confiscate any weapons they found.

Undoubtedly, there would be a certain percentage of Americans, both women and men, who would recognize the handwriting on the wall — that the Chinese had won the war and were going to be occupying America for the indefinite future. They would become the cooperators, the Quislings, the ones who would exhort their fellow citizens to support the new order of things.

Another percentage of Americans would remain neutral, just going with the flow of things.

But a certain percentage of Americans, perhaps small, would become insurgents. They would decide to risk their lives and well-being by taking on the occupiers, attacking them and killing them with the aim of ousting the United States of the Chinese, North Korean, and Cuban communist troops and officials.

Who would be the patriots in such a situation? The American cooperators would consider themselves the patriots, pointing to the good things the Chinese, North Koreans, Cubans, and Venezuelans would be doing in America — e.g., bringing order and stability to American society. The American insurgents would consider themselves the patriots, pointing out that America was no place for foreign occupiers.

Of course, it’s impossible to know whether Hamid Ahmad would be alive today if the U.S. government had not invaded and occupied Iraq. But one thing is for sure: he would not have been killed by his own son for having cooperated with the U.S. invasion and occupation of his country.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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