I'm waiting for the NRA to get involved in this. I mean, this is just plain unconstitutional (and this is also tongue in cheek, I support this measure)
Allies to Begin Seizing Weapons From Most Iraqis By MICHAEL R. GORDON
AGHDAD, May 20 — Iraqi citizens will be required to turn over automatic weapons and heavy weapons under a proclamation that allied authorities plan to issue this week, allied officials said today.
The aim of the proclamation is to help stabilize Iraq by confiscating the huge supply of AK-47's, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons that are used by criminal gangs, paramilitary groups and remnants of the Saddam Hussein government.
Iraqis who refuse to comply with the edict will be subject to arrest. Only Iraqis authorized to use military-type weapons because of their police or military duties will be exempt.
"We are in the final stages of formulating a weapons policy to put rules on who can and cannot possess a weapon," Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, the chief allied land commander said in an interview. "We want to get explosives and AK's out of the wrong hands."
The weapons proclamation, which is to be issued by L. Paul Bremer III, the chief allied administrator for Iraq, and General McKiernan, is part of a broader effort to improve security in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.
The need to secure Baghdad and provide security elsewhere in the country is expected to slow the pace of American troop withdrawals from Iraq, allied officials said. The United States has about 165,000 troops in Iraq. It is likely to have 100,000 in the fall, more than American planners had projected just three weeks ago.
Among other steps to strengthen security in Iraq, American forces are deploying a 4,000 strong military police brigade and more Humvees to improve the ability to conduct patrols. They are also repositioning American forces in the capital.
Allied officials are also considering a plan to bring Britain's 16th Air Assault Brigade to Baghdad. If approved by the British government, the British forces would be charged with training the Iraqi police and helping to safeguard the Iraqi capital, allied officials said.
Allied forces, however, do not plan to change the rules of engagement to encourage the shooting of looters, officials said. Allied commanders are eager to avoid an armed confrontation with Iraqi civilians.
There are some circumstances in which looters can be shot under the existing rules, but the main emphasis is to enable American forces to protect themselves against attacks.
Since allied forces toppled Mr. Hussein's government last month, they have struggled to fill the power vacuum in Baghdad and provide security in this capital of 4.5 million people. American military officials insist that the capital is safer than it was a month ago and that progress has been made in restoring essential utilities like electricity and water.
"Looting has gone down and violent crime has gone down," General McKiernan said. "The trend is down."
But robberies, looting, kidnappings and attacks by paramilitary forces are still frequent, prompting allied forces to step up their efforts to secure the country.
The weapons proclamation is an important part of that endeavor. The intention is to reduce attacks against allied forces, reduce crime and stop violent fights among rival Iraqi groups, allied commanders believe.
While General McKiernan talked about the ban in broad terms, other officials provided details.
Iraqis who are in the military, the police or an authorized security organization supervised by the allies will be authorized to carry automatic or heavy weapons. But other Iraqis will not be allowed to possess weapons, and open-air arms markets, common in Baghdad, will be banned.
Iraqis will be allowed to keep small arms at home for protection.
For a nation as dangerous as Iraq and as rife with weapons, total disarmament is impractical, allied officials say. But Iraqis will not be allowed to take their weapons outside their home without a special license.
Those who do obtain such licenses — security guards, for example — will not be allowed to carry concealed weapons.
To ensure that Iraqis are aware of the new policy the allies will saturate Iraqis with leaflets, use loudspeaker announcements and radio and television broadcasts. The edict will establish an amnesty period during which weapons can be turned in without fear of arrest.
The proclamation will also prohibit celebratory and other weapons firing within city limits, a measure that is likely to prove hard to enforce given the shooting that is often heard at night.
The weapons policy is just one element of the security plan. Allied officials are also trying to rebuild the Iraqi police forces. Some 7,000 police officials have indicated that they want to come back to work in Baghdad. But allied officials say they need to be retrained.
In the past, they say, the Iraqi police showed little interest in patrolling. Last night, there were just four police patrols conducted jointly by Iraqis and Americans, the first such patrols in the capital.
If the British forces are deployed in Baghdad, as expected, they will play an important role in the training. To avoid any association with the security forces of the former government, the police will wear blue uniforms instead of olive green. The original plan called for them to wear white shirts, but the Iraqis complained that that was unmanly and made them look like nurses.
Beyond that, allied planners are trying to reconfigure and reposition the allied force in Baghdad to improve security in the coming months. The main elements of that force include the First Armored Division, which is starting to arrive in the capital. The division has left artillery and air defense units behind and is being equipped with additional Humvees so that it can patrol the capital.
The Second Armored Cavalry Regiment is also being deployed. All told, it will have more than 300 Humvees, Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, the V Corps commander, said.
The Third Infantry Division withdrawal was halted for security reasons, but some units are expected to begin withdrawing as they are relieved by the First Armored Division.
How do you say "From my cold, dead hands" in Arabic, anyway?
"You may be wondering why I have been making so many references lately to Fox News. The reason is that it is now my cable news network of choice -- because if I’m going to watch the news and be lied to, I want it to be ridiculously obvious that I am being lied to." -- Center for an Informed America, Newsletter #34
They are doing this because they are establishing a police state/dictatorship in Iraq. They can sugar coat it all they want, but that's what we are really doing (we are an occupying force, whether we call ourselves that or not). When you want to rule a land, with a 'my way or the highway' attitude, you must collect all the guns. People are so much easier to rule if they have no means to defend themselves.
Now, I don't think the model for Iraqi government would be a good model here, but maybe that's just me.
That's pretty much on target. There's no way to pussyfoot around it. Can it be justified? Yeah, I suppose it can be. Once Iraq gets its elected government off of the the ground, then they can decide about gun ownership. ...though I wouldn't bet on that.
These Democrats up in Texas — they may not be patriots, but they did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.-Rep. Tom DeLay on the "fugitive" Texas Democrats
It's a necessary task if they're going to make Baghdad (and Iraq as a whole) stable and ripe for governing. You can't have millions of people running around using, buying and selling guns in a war-torn country if you intend to restore peace and order.
This would definately give Powell a high-profile ticket out of the administration, while potentially keeping his head above water if he ever decides to jump into a run for office..... * * * * * * * Psst! Is Powell Bound for the World Bank?