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.
That is the Third Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. It was written partly in response to the British forcibly quartering troops in Colonial inns, pubs and other public places, as well as private residences. That was one of the Intolerable Acts mentioned in our Declaration of Independence.
We are now doing in Afghanistan the very action that helped to push our Founding Fathers to revolution. According to an interview with Niel Shea on Democracy Now!, our troops on days-long patrols in Afghanistan, when they find a relatively secure place to stop and set up camp, are forcibly evicting Afghanis from their homes temporarily if those homes just happen to be that place.
That wasn’t the focus of the interview…the focus was on how our soldiers are war-weary and at the end of their ropes psychologically. I’m sure many others will cover that in the months and years to come. What bothers me most is that the brutality of the war has turned us into a 21st century British Empire, complete with the intolerable acts that entails. I wanted to make sure that this one didn’t go unnoticed. There have been many other intolerable acts, too many now to count, but as Shea mentions in his interview, rebellion is built on thousands of tiny, horrendous events. That is what we are seeing now.
We have lost the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. It is time to cut our losses, come home and re-evaluate ourselves and our values.