Occupation and the physical presense of the troops

Lueko Willms Lueko.Willms at t-online.de
Tue Aug 19 13:43:08 MDT 2003

   Recently I argued here against the idea to see the slogan "End the
occupation!" as more advanced or radical than the demand for the
withdrawal of the troops, and pointed to the fact that the US
occupiers deny that they are an occupation force and that they
occupied the conquered country. 

   There are some more arguments. Several tens of thousands of US
troops are stationed in Germany (although currently many, if not the
majority of them, are actually "on duty" in Iraq), but is it an

   How about Turkey? South Korea, where still 37'000 US troops are in
the country, is it under occupation? How about any other country in
the world with US bases on their territory, are they under

   Is Britain under US occupation? 

   So you see, "occupation" is a political concept, describing as set
of relations between the foreign military force and the population
and government of the "host country", or occupied country. 

   Germany right after the previous world war was a country under
occupation. When did that change? With the formation of the first
local governments? The division of the country by the formation of
the west German separate state, and the formation of the GDR in
response? The 1955 "Deutschlandvertrag"? West Germany's entry in
NATO? In the UNO? The reunification and the 2+4 treaty? 

   You see, if the relationship of the foreign troops and their "host
country" is to be called an occupation can be debated, and there can
be transitions between occupation and sovereignty. 

   So, while I think it is good, to agitate against the USuk
occupation of Iraq, and explain that it is an occupation, and that
this occupation has to be ended, the DEMAND should be the one which
a) is verifiable, since the actual physical presence of US and UK
troops in Iraq can be verified without debate, and which b) touches
the backbone of a regime of occupation, and that is the presence of
troops in the country. 

   That is why, in my opinion, supported by the experience of the
fight against the Vietnam war, the DEMAND to physically remove the
has to be in the center of all agitation and action against the
occupation, however it might be packed into a slogan -- "Troops out",
"Out now", "Bring the boys and girls home now", "Get them out", or
"Ami go home". 

Lüko Willms
/------------------------------------ http://www.mlwerke.de 
Frankfurt/Main, Germany 

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