Indian Country

Published on Znet, by Scott Starr, August 24, 2007.

Beyond the Green Zone in Iraq

An excerpt out of the midst: … During the first Gulf War, Brigadier General Richard Neal, briefing reporters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, stated that the U.S. military wanted to be certain of speedy victory once they committed land forces to “Indian Country.” The following day, in a narrowly publicized statement of protest, the National Congress of American Indians pointed out that 15,000 Native Americans were serving as combat troops in the Gulf. Since General Neal’s comment, however, the term “Indian Country” has become military slang that is often used by troops and leaders on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was also used in the Viet Nam war. I have heard it occasionally used in T.V. news interviews and documentaries with and about military personnel.

You see, beyond the “Green Zone” one encounters a “terrorist”-infested territory- a wilderness as dangerous to the “justice bearing liberators” as the lands inhabited by by “Redskins” with the resistance they offered during the Indian wars- wars that opposed the conquest, the theft, rape, murder and cultural genocide and treaty breaking mendacity of the allegedly Christian colonizers.

This linguistic use of the term “Indian Country” speaks volumes about the intellectual ignorance and dishonesty of many in the United States’ self image of the soul of America.


It reveals an often willful ignorance of the perception of the rest of the world. It bespeaks of arrogance, hubris, and self imposed paternalism, exceptionalism and imperialism.

On Monday, March 24, 2003 Christian Broadcasting Network’s news program CBN reporter Paul Strand, traveling with the Army’s Third Infantry Division in Iraq, stated in a dialog with Pat Robertson:

Everywhere we’ve gone we have seen artillery ahead of us and then artillery behind and we’re getting reports that there’s fighting in all of the cities that we’ve already been through. So I guess if this were the Old West I’d say there are Injuns ahead of us, Injuns behind us, and Injuns on both sides too, so we really don’t want to give the enemy any hints about where we are“.

As an American Indian I can state unequivocally that this telling catch phrase that projects the warzones of the “wars on terror” as “Indian Country” is as deeply offensive as it is counter-productive to the stated mission in Iraq. My immediate thoughts- the first time that I heard the reference to the war torn streets of Baghdad as “Indian Country”- was that after 515 years of conquest- in the minds of Imperial America- the First … (full text).

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