Should U.S. troops abide Iraqi law while they are on Iraqi ground?
It would be wrong for America to expect others to obey our laws while they are in our country if Americans thought that it was all right to go into another country and disobey their laws without fear of punishment or imprisonment for our actions while we are in their country. We, after all, expect them to obey our laws when they are here, and America will enforce the law on them while they're here.
If our troops and our military are to maintain good relations with any country that we currently have bases in, then we need to abide by the laws of that country. U.S.A. does not stand for "Do what ever you want because we are the most powerful nation on the earth". It stands for freedom,honesty,integrity and peace.
U.S. troops must abide by Iraqi laws when they are in Iraq. The country belongs to Iraqis, and it is up to the Iraqi people to decide on the laws of the land. The law of the land must be respected and, to do otherwise, shows disrespect for the host country, and sets a bad precedent.
It is a measure of respect that we, as Americans, demand in our own country. Why should we not give the same respect to others, when on foreign soil? To do otherwise is to show disdain, and only serves to widen the cultural rift. It sets a dangerous precedent for future dealings with that country.
The whole point of us still being in Iraq is to teach them to be an independent country that can run itself. If they are laying down laws for their country, U.S. soldiers should abide by those laws, in order to prove to everyone else that no one is exempt from the law.
A tourist would be expected to obey the laws of the country they are in; so would a businessman or construction worker. In fact, anyone who goes onto any sovereign territory is expected to obey the laws of that land. Soldiers are no different. Unless they are a hostile force they should be obeying the laws set out in front of them for the good of everyone - even if they don't agree.
Let's ask ourselves this question: if Iraqis were to be stationed in the US for any given reason, then wouldn't we want them to obey the the same laws we do? It certainly wouldn't be fair to us as a nation if they were given their way and were to take advantage of our govermental system as well as the laws we as citizens obey.
Iraq is an independent country and not ruled by U.S. anyway. Though U.S. troops are in Iraq, their objective is only to establish peace in the territory. Hence, they have to abide to the Iraqi law as long as they are on the Iraqi ground. But, there can be exceptions according to the International law.
Would we not expect the same of any foreign military while they were on American soil? We are not at war with the country of Iraq. We are at war with cell groups of militants, rebels, and so-called "terrorists". If we are to set an example for Iraq to follow then the first step has to be our military's ability to follow the laws of the Iraqi government. After all, they are our only visible example of American discipline on Iraqi soil.
You cannot disregard the laws of the country you are in. In order to show respect for the rule of law, then even soldiers must follow the laws of the country they are in. Otherwise, the example set is a bad one, one that teaches people that soldiers have a disregard for law, that the country they are in doesn't deserve their respect. This is setting a horrible example not only to the citizens of the country they are in but to the whole world.
All visitors in our country are required to abide by our laws. So were should do the same when in other countries. If a foreign person was in the United States and broke one of our laws they would be held responsible for it, then deported once they served their time in prison.
We need the Iraqi people to appreciate what we are trying to do over there and that can be achieved much easier if we respect and abide by their laws. This will help to build mutual respect.
Troops on the ground in Iraq should follow the Iraqi laws as long as they are there. They are not guests of the country, they are people who invaded them, and are forcing them to change their way of life for the perceived betterment of the country. Although some laws may differ vastly, I believe just as an Iraqi in the US has to abide by our laws, so should individuals in the military have to abide by theirs.
We are at war in Iraq not with the Iraqi military or even, for the most part, with Iraq natives. Further, we are not there at war on the behalf of Iraqi citizens or the nation of Iraq, but for reasons all our own, so it's not as if we're doing them any favors. Therefore it seems the least we could do as we wage war in their country against our own foes is to abide by their laws so far as possible, or at least not go out of our way to disregard them.
Imagine an area in Iraq where non-secular views dominate local laws and courts. Could an American soldier be breaking laws that in the near future could theoretically be written and enforced by groups of people who may not be real big on religious toleration nor women's rights? Will reading the Bible in the open be viewed as blasphemy? Will a female soldier doing PT in shorts and a t-shirt be viewed as a great sinner, needing to be punished? When a person breaks down the potential ramifications, what seems like an obvious question becomes much more murky.
Although the U.S. troops are indeed in another country, their first duty and obligation is towards that of their native country. This does not mean that they are not to be respectful towards Iraqi laws though. They should be mindful of how the Iraqis live, but their foremost responsibility is to obey the laws of the U.S. and the American military.
U.S. is a sovereign nation in Iraq at their request to assist them. Our soldiers are full citizens of the U.S. and are governed by their military chain of command. They are not tourists or guests, they are soldiers there to do a job. If it is convenient for them to follow the laws, and more importantly if they have been given instructions by their commanders to follow certain laws, so be it. A soldier must have only one source of command to obey, his commanding officer.
If U.S. troops were to abide by the full extent of Iraqi law, it would be difficult to concentrate on, and successfully execute, the war effort. Iraqi law, even in the post-Saddam era, is oppressive to women and follows a strict Muslim interpretation. It is important for troops to be respectful of the people's religion and codes, but they should not be subjected to the nation's penal code.
U.S. troops should not have to abide by Iraqi law while they are on Iraqi ground, because this is a war, governed by the Geneva Convention. In a war, it is reasonable to use the most expedient means available to contain the enemy. The U.S. troops went into Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a threat to the area and was killing his own people. Now, terrorists are a threat to the area. Those terrorists do not abide by Iraqi law. The only way to contain terrorists is to operate on their level.
Agreeing to let a foreign government control U.S. troops with their laws opens letting foreign governments abuse the soldiers. The U.S. has no official say in what laws Iraq can pass, and if they agree to follow their laws, it opens them up to being refused the right to carry a weapon. A normal Iraqi citizen can't carry a rocket launcher, so under normal law, would a U.S. soldier? Why take the chance? It is okay to respect the laws of the land you are in to keep the peace, but it is another thing to force a soldier to obey them over the orders of their superior officer.