US Soldiers Bulldoze Fruit Orchards

Dear god, I read this story and pray it is not true. UK’s Independent is reporting that US soldiers have bulldozed fruit groves in Iraq to punish farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops.

The children of one woman who owned some fruit trees lay down in front of a bulldozer but were dragged away, according to eyewitnesses who did not want to give their names. They said that one American soldier broke down and cried during the operation. When a reporter from the newspaper Iraq Today attempted to take a photograph of the bulldozers at work a soldier grabbed his camera and tried to smash it. The same paper quotes Lt Col Springman, a US commander in the region, as saying: “We asked the farmers several times to stop the attacks, or to tell us who was responsible, but the farmers didn’t tell us.”

Now all we need to complete the picture is Rumsfeld in a press conference, laughing about it as he does all such horrors. “Fruit trees are not more important than security. It was obvious the trees were Saddam loyalists.” This is shocking behavior. Here’s an acid test for those folks who rave about America’s “liberal media” – let’s see when or if any US news outlets pick up this story and what they say about it. A liberal media should be all over this. A right wing media will either ignore it completely or present it as something other than our troops overstepping the bounds of reasonable conduct.

We are in Iraq to “reduce the threat of terrorism.” Does bulldozing farms decrease terrorism, or give rise to a whole new group of people who have every reason to become terrorists? I find it unbelievable that the people prosecuting this war are not aware of this.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.