Wednesday, June 04, 2003

I meant to post about this a few days ago, but I'm afraid life sometimes interferes with blogging. I've gotta do something about that.

The U.S. is seemingly relaxing its civilian disarmament program in Iraq.

"Iraqis can keep their assault rifles
U.S. retreats from previous policy. Military officials have said it's hard to disarm people who fear for their safety"

Well well well. Looks like someone's bene not only reading about history, but learning from it. There wouldn't be a U.S. military if a bunch of civilians who feared for their safety didn't make it hard to be disarmed in 1775.

"BAGHDAD, IRAQ – In a significant retreat from U.S. efforts to seize weapons held by Iraqi citizens, U.S. and British officials said Saturday that Iraqis would be allowed to keep AK-47 assault rifles in their homes and businesses.
While U.S. officials gave no public explanation for amending what had been a much tougher plan to rid postwar Iraq of heavy weapons, military officials have said they recognize the difficulties in disarming citizens at a time when Iraqis feel their personal safety is still at risk."

That means the military realized that Iraqis were willing to fight intrusive invasions & weapons confiscations. which I sincerely hope they remember should they ever try civilian disarmament here.

"The civilian disarmament policy is central to efforts by the U.S. and British occupation authorities to reduce the high level of violent street crime here. The policy is also aimed at stopping sporadic guerrilla attacks like those that have killed or injured U.S. soldiers in recent weeks."

All that's missing is the obligatory 'for the good of the children' excuse. The only reason to disarm any population is to control that population.

"The disarmament policy was announced in general terms May 22 by L. Paul Bremer, the top civilian administrator in Iraq.
According to a draft of the directive given to leaders of Iraqi's main political groups, the original plan sought to impose a broad ban on the owning or trading of "automatic firearms of any caliber" by civilians. The directive, however, did allow Iraqi civilians to retain some lighter arms."

So they weren't foolish enough to attempt a complete disarmament all at once. First the automatic weapons, then once they're used to that th semi-autmatic weapons, then... Hey, that strategy has been working here hasn't it?

"At the time, the list of automatic weapons to be banned specifically included AK-47 Kalashnikovs, the Russian assault rifles that are nearly ubiquitous in Iraq. But that approach came under heavy criticism from many Iraqis, who argued that families and business owners badly needed the weapons to defend themselves from looters and organized criminal gangs."

Not to mention the armed resistance to the idea. I guess that'd qualify as 'criticism'.

"That criticism apparently had an effect. Under a two- week amnesty program that begins today, Iraqis are being urged to voluntarily bring in prohibited weapons to police stations around the country. But an Arabic-language flier now being distributed says Iraqi citizens can keep certain automatic weapons inside their homes and businesses.
Asked Saturday whether Iraqis would be allowed to keep assault rifles in their homes, a spokesman for Bremer said, 'Yes, they will be allowed to keep their AK-47s'."

Translation: its foolish to disarm a people who don't want to be disarmed, so we'll attempt to save face by saying we're 'allowing' them to keep their AK-47's. Truth is, we don't have enough troops over here to take them away unless they let us.

"It is not a program for the disarmament of the Iraqi people," added the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It is a weapons-control program."

Translation: we tried a disarmament program, calcualated the number of body bags we'd need & reconsidered the whole notion. Now we just want their RPG's & we hope they'll comply.

Alternate translation: Of course we want them defenseless, but they're not so we can't force it on them.

Analogy: our attempt at civilian disarmament is merely weapons control. Similarly our attempt at state sponsored religion is not directed at the people - think of it as God control.

The object of any 'weapons control program' is not control of the weapons, but control of the people. Control of the weapons is the only effective means at ensuring the control of the people.

"The nuances are confusing to many members of Baghdad's new police force. At a police station in the Dora neighborhood Saturday, Iraqi officers said they had learned only the day before that an amnesty program for weapons was to begin."

[Iraqi policeman on being given the details] They're gonna take away the what from the who??? man, I gotta crack open a lukewarm one & watch this!!!

"Many officers struggled to interpret the instructions on the new flier. Some said the flier seemed to permit only automatic weapons with a caliber of less than 7.62 mm, which is the caliber of a standard Kalashnikov. Others said the directive seemed to give a more general approval for keeping automatic weapons at home."

So lemme get this straight, an AK-47 is o.k., but a less powerful 9mm Uzi is banned?
[First iraqi officer] We must confiscate the prohibited weapons. It is our duty.
[Second Iraqi officer] Duty hell! That'll be our ass! I say we let them keep what they got as long as they don't shoot at any innocent bystanders, expecially us!

"Iraqis will still be allowed to keep handguns, rifles and shotguns. But the new instructions contain a lengthy list of much heavier weapons that would be prohibited to most people: machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-fired missiles, antiaircraft guns, mortars, land mines and grenades."

[U.S. Beaurocrat] I know..let's make it look like we're letting the Iraqis keep their personal arms. That might take away the heat from our failed attempt at disarmament by force!

"The new weapons policy appears to be the outcome of a debate among top military officials in Iraq. Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of U.S. and British land forces in Iraq, told reporters two weeks ago that he was skeptical about simply trying to disarm Iraqi civilians.
"For one thing, I don't think it would be enforceable," McKiernan said at the time.
But Bremer, keenly aware that his political priority in Iraq is to restore law and order, strongly suggested that he wanted to prohibit most weapons in civilian hands.'

So the General realizes that an armed people will kill a lot of soldiers if they attempt to forcibly disarm them. While the Politican doesn't care since he won't be the one getting shot. It seems we have been succesful in exporting our domestic policies haven't we?

Hopefully this won't be a temporary set back in a grand scheme to disarm the Iraqis. The worst thing one can do is deprive a free people of arms. Seems like some of our military is deserving of the credit given them, while as usual their political bosses are not.

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