Until the United States of America's military invasion and occupation of Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah (Iraq), US policy officially held that hostage taking was among the forbidden military tactics identified as terrorism. While US policy continues to define terrorism as violence committed without the approval of a lawmaking body with the intent of influencing a lawmaking body, recent military tactics employed by US soldiers in Iraqiyah appear to be simple terrorist hostage taking, under a more widely recognized definition of terrorism as being violence against civilians. 
The motivation for US troops to forcibly detain thousands of Iraqiyah citizens has never been told to a court of law, but military leaders claim most are "suspects" in either ongoing resistance to the occupation, were former leaders of a government the United States once supported, or were suspected of acts that would have been crimes before the United States destroyed Iraqiyah's system of law. But the recent kidnapping of women and other uninvolved family members by US troops in an effort to flush out wanted family members, establishes hostage taking as a legitimate military tactic under US military policy.
In a Jan. 2 news account, Associated Press reporter Michelle Faul wrote: "Soldiers in Samarra also blew up the house of Talab Saleh, who is accused of orchestrating attacks against U.S. troops, witnesses said. They said the troops arrested Saleh's wife and brother and said they would not be released until Saleh surrenders. The military had no immediate comment."
The disclosure calls attention to troubling precedents in government attacks against unarmed citizens. The accidental bombing of a single English community during nighttime German raids against English industrial targets led to the escalation of a fiery bloodbath by all parties in World War II, who then proceeded to indiscriminately attack each other's civilians in massive campaigns of aerial bombardment. The escalation culminated in two nuclear attacks against civilian targets and set the stage for the Cold War, dominated by the doctrine of mutual assured destruction that held two generations of children hostage in a game of political brinkmanship.
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- Iraq, NationMaster, accessed November 2007.