US Army calling those in NOLA, ‘insurgents’

From Zeni Jardin at Boing Boing whose reporting on New Orleans has been incisive and quite amazing.

An article in the Army Times is referring to American citizens in New Orleans as “the insurgency”.

While some fight the insurgency in the city, other carry on with rescue and evacuation operations. Helicopters are still pulling hundreds of stranded people from rooftops of flooded homes.


Update: Many readers have written in to ask why I find the use of the word “insurgency” alarming in this context. Let’s start with the definition:

an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict

We often hear the term used by military leaders or politicians to refer to armed entities in Iraq and other war zones overseas.

We are talking about fellow American citizens here — in America.

Not insurgents. Not refugees. Not enemies. Americans.

Tell that to the military

Many in New Orleans described nights at the mercy of rapists and murderers. They complained security forces sent to guard them at the city’s convention center were trigger happy and killed innocent people.

“They killed a man here last night,” Steve Banka, 28, told Reuters. “A young lady was being raped and stabbed. And the sounds of her screaming got to this man and so he ran out into the street to get help from troops, to try to flag down a passing truck of them, and he jumped up on the truck’s windshield and they shot him dead.”

Shooting an unarmed man who was probably screaming Help indicates the military is treating NOLA like a war zone and everyone is the enemy. They are also banning reporters and photographers from entering the area. This does not bode well for anyone still in the area who wants to get out.

Why is that Sri Lanka, a poor country, successfully helped their citizens during their much worse tsunami – while a vicious civil war was going on, no less (both sides agreed to a cease fire to help the victims) – yet the US wasted days before responding to Katrina, now has hugely over-reacted and appears to be treating anyone in the area as the enemy.

While the whole world is watching.

The mask has dropped. Perhaps now many in the US are beginning to comprehend what other countries have been saying for decades about US occupation and imperialism. Bringing the war home, indeed.