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Nov 24, 2004

Your House Is My House


Something has been nagging at me as I look at pictures of the Fallujah operation. I always feel a little uncomfortable about the occupation of Iraqi homes and mosques for U.S. military operations.

I remember a shot I saw last week of three marines in the living room of a nicely furnished upstairs apartment. The soldiers were brandishing their weapons as they peered at the street from an upstairs window. What primarily stood out to me, however, was that they were standing on top of the couch. In examining pictures of the Iraqi campaign over the past few weeks, I just can't help noticing the casual and apparently unselfconscious way in which our military avails itself of the intimate spaces of the Iraqi people. At the same time, not being versed in these matters, I just have a lot of questions. Here are just a few things I've been wondering about:

If soldiers are in need of rest and a mosque is unoccupied, is it appropriate for them to camp out there? If so, are there any guidelines for which parts of the building might be more appropriate to utilize than others? If our military does decide to camp out in a mosque, is there any consideration or discretion paid regarding whether photographers should document it?

If soldiers need to occupy a private house, are there any rules or guidelines for the treatment of that house -- especially if there is no immediate threat of hostility?


If soldiers are in need of rest and they have access to a residence, is it appropriate to sleep on a couch as opposed to the floor?

Is it appropriate to sleep on a bed as opposed to a couch?

Is it appropriate to get in the bed, or just sleep on top of it?

Is it appropriate to use the pillows or not?

And, if it's deemed appropriate to use someone's bed, is there any protocol as to whether one should remove one's boots first?

(photos: NYTimes -- Ashley Gilbertson; LATimes; USA Today -- Scott Nelson, Getty Images)


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What asinine questions...the only consideration is to security of self and unit.~H

Asinine is right! BTW, it has been reported by soldiers and Marines that many Fallujahns leave behind notes welcoming them to use their homes and their beds.

The civilians are lucky the marines are only sleeping on things. In high-intensity urban warfare, you often move about by breaking or blowing "mouseholes" between adjacent buildings because the streets aren't safe for movement.

There are plenty of residential areas in Iraq (in fact, I'd venture to say most of them) where marines and soldiers don't sleep in people's houses. These also happen to be the areas where the local civilians have not, in general, decided to offer sanctuary to foreign and domestic terrorists.

There is a lesson to be learned there, and I think the Iraqi people have taken note of it. I'm not implying that our marines and soldiers are doing this to spite residents; it's just a cost of urban combat, one some of those civilians are probably willing to pay now that they have lived under the insurgents.

A Vietnam vet once told me you never take your boots off in war. Anything can happen, and you don't want to be trying to lace up your boots when you should be running or shooting.

I do find the premise of this post interesting...if somewhat odd. I mean, we're basically talking about being polite here. War is not polite...the Bush administration made a policy decision not to be polite. I mean, if the US were being polite, these marines wouldn't be shooting anyone and they would knock on the door of these apartments before entering...and if no one came to the door, they wouldn't go in. It's sort of absurd but very telling to examine manners in the context of a shooting war.

2nd the Vietnam vet comment about boots. Soldiers keeping their boots on for long periods (weeks, months) was a historic cause of "trench foot" in other climates in other wars.

My husband was in the military for 12 years and still leaves his clothes and shoes next to his bed every night! Sad but true- its conditioning (for a reason)

Everybody relax....I'm sure those questions weren't serious. The author is clearly parodying blue state morons who value our enemies over our own troops. They are ashamed to be americans and they project that onto situations like this. I think a lot of them are unconsciously rooting for the enemy to succeed so Bush will be discredited and we'll become more like Old Europe.

U.S. Constitution, Amendment III - Quartering of soldiers. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Sam, I wish it were true. But I'm afraid this idiot REALLY IS that self-absorbed, smug, trite, and clueless.

It's a WAR ZONE, not the morning after a 3-day rave. Moron.

Deb, I seriously doubt that the Iraqis have embraced the US Constitution...

Where does this fall under 3rd Amendment:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Or is it Ok, because it's somebody else's country?

Actually, scaryduck, yes, since it is someone else's country, the third Amendment doesn't apply. The Bill of Rights is checks on the U.S. government's power against the citizens of this country.

Actually, Scaryduck, yes... since it is somebody else's country, the 3rd Amendment doesn't apply. The Bill of Rights is a list of checks of the U.S. government's power against citizens of this country.

That, and, the 3rd Amend. is applicable during a "time of peace," which Iraq clearly is not in right now.

So you're wrong on two counts.

d'oh... i missed that "or in a time of war" part...

but it's still not the US so my overall point stands

this thing needs to move more quickly to prevent multiple postings. sorry 'bout that.

Great; so now every Iraqi is an enemy, and all the spoils of war go to the conquering army. Very democratic, except the mission was 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' not 'Operation Iraqi Massacre.' All the talk about how Liberals favor 'the enemy' over the troops is bullshit. The military is doing it's job, but it's the job itself that's flawed; no nation in the history of this planet has conquered a country, humiliated its people, and devastated its infrastructure, without then being despised by those very people thay claim to have 'liberated.' Where is the Democracy so arrogantly promised, when the liberated become the enemy?


Thank you!

Prego :)

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Isaiah 32:17

Wow. So someone please show me a link or proof that Fallujans welcomed in US Soldiers? Because I'm not buying it, and all those wailing and crying Iraqis don't seem to make me believe that either.

I can't believe the wingnuts don't get the point of this-- or understand the reference to the 3rd Amendment.

Let me spell it out. Actually, let Thomas Jefferson spell it out; the first mention of quartering soldiers was in the Declaration of Independence.

Ever read the thing? A whole paragraph of lists the details of the outrageous tyranny that King George III foisted upon us. The most egregious one? Quartering Soldiers.

So. This pissed off the colonists enough that they committed treason and declared war against their own King. That's a pretty big gripe.

And here we are: seizing people's houses and putting up our soldiers there.

How would you feel?

Is this winning hearts and minds?


This is the "culture of responsiblity". Blame my ass. Take responsibility for your actions. Fuck up people's houses and they will hate you, and take arms against you, and throw of the yoke of your oppression, they will eject you from their country by killing you.

You had some creepy commenters back when.

I remember seeing film clips and movies where GI's (ours) had to take out snipers, etc., in France and Belgium during WWII. They had no compunctions about going into churches or houses if they were abandoned. In movies, of course, they asked the occupants to make room, but it was understood that they really had no choice. Why should it be any different this time? I don't think the appropriateness is the question, rather, this is war like all other wars. Our attempt to make it something different is beside the point. Even now that it is an occupation.

please nobody yell at me this is just my opinion
i think that all of that is wrong.
i was actually looking for pictures for my project on the constitution for the amendment in the bill of rights-- quartering troops
if that works in usa, shouldn't it work in places usa goes?
ah, i know i'm not making sense, but it makes total sense it my head...
just sayin....
heyy i just realized i'm not the only one who thinks this.
thank you whoever you are Publius and Scott Shelton and Deb and Sulayman and whoever else i missed who thinks like me.......
Well this doesnt make any sense but thanks whoever wrote this, cuz now i have a good picture for the third amendment.

Hey. Reality check.

Is it wrong to attack, invade, and occupy another country that did not attack your country?

Isn't that the real question here (yes, does miss the point often)???

And I'd say the answer to my question is-- yeah, it's wrong, it's called an imperial war of aggression, and it's a blatant violation of the international law the US government pays hypocritical lip service to and then itself does whatever suits its own interests at the moment.

That's why they hate us (like any other empire).

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