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Iraqi Leaders Discover the Value of the 2nd Amendment,
(Even if They've Never Heard of It) 

[COMMENT:  Pretty much speaks for itself...   See also .    E. Fox]


[Posted July 12, 2007]

Politicians Urge Grassroots Citizens to Arm Themselves against Terrorist Savagery 

Amidst unrelenting and harrowing terrorist carnage, prominent Iraqi politicians are resorting to an idea prominent in the minds of America's own Founding Fathers, and explicitly enshrined in our Constitution - the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms for their own defense. 

These politicians' pleas that civilians arm themselves reflected their growing recognition and frustration that Iraqi police and American troops simply cannot be omnipresent to prevent terrorist butchery. 

Even more fundamentally, however, their pleas recognize the basic fact that free citizens, whether in Iraq, America or any other society, possess a pre-existing right of self-defense. 

Day after day, even as the American military surge cleanses anarchic areas that it has reached, new corpses of tortured and mutilated men, women and even children are found scattered across Baghdad and other violent areas.  In fact, the al Qaeda savagery has become so horrific that it has undermined its own cause, creating a grassroots disgust and consequent armed revolt. 

This unsurprising recognition of reality spans both Shi'ite and Sunni factions, each beset by gory kidnappings and violence.  For example, Shi'ite Turkman politician Abbas al-Bayati announced this week that the Iraqi government, unable to provide enough security forces, should help citizens "arm themselves" for their own protection. 

His sentiment was echoed by Taraq al-Hashemi, Iraq's Sunni Vice President, who stated that "people have a right to expect from the government and security agencies protection for their lives, land, honor and property."  He continued, however, "but in the case of [the government's] inability, the people have no choice but to take up for their own defense."  He proceeded to add that the government itself should provide local communities with money, weapons and training for this self-protection. 

As reported by the Associated Press, the concept of citizens organizing to arm themselves against predatory kidnapping, torture and murder has gained increasing support after Sunni tribes in Anbar Province recently drove al Qaeda terrorist elements from their towns and villages.  Based upon this success, Lieutenant General Ali Gheidan stated that the Iraqi army seeks to raise volunteer forces in Diyala Province, where American and Iraqi troops have expelled al Qaeda terrorists from its capital city Baqouba.  According to the AP, he reported that 3,800 citizen volunteers had already been recruited. 

American officials concurred, saying that they hope to repeat what they labeled the "Anbar Model" in other parts of Iraq.  For some time, American commanders have questioned whether regular Iraqi army and police could prevent terrorists from returning once American troops had departed.  Thus the realization that armed Iraqi citizens constitute the best long-term answer against elusive terrorist elements. 

This sentiment, of course, would be quite familiar to our own Founding Fathers, who recognized the pre-existing right to keep and bear arms against lawlessness and tyranny, whether individualized or governmental.  Like many Iraqis today, most Americans at the time lived in remote areas or otherwise lacked a sufficient professional police force.  Accordingly, the framers of our Constitution specifically included the Second Amendment as a declaration of the fundamental right to protect one's safety and liberty. 

Indeed, English common-law commentator William Blackstone observed even earlier that that individual citizens' right to keep and bear arms was auxiliary to the natural right of self-preservation.  In turn, that right to self-preservation meant the right to defend oneself against attacks by both individual criminals and a tyrannical government. 

One needn't recall the Founding Fathers, however, for illustrations of the Second Amendment's value in American history.  More recent American experience also reflects the wisdom of the Iraqi politicians' pronouncements. 

In the 1992 Los Angeles riots, for instance, Korean shopowners were targeted for looting and murder based solely upon their ethnicity, just as Iraqi Shi'ites or Sunnis are targeted for theirs.  Americans everywhere will recall that these Korean immigrants were able to protect their lives and precious property in the absence of police protection only because they armed themselves and stood atop their rooftops against the rioters. 

The Warsaw ghetto uprising in  1943 against Nazi oppressors serves as yet another example of oppressed citizens taking up arms to defend themselves against tyranny. 

Simply put, the lesson that citizens possess a pre-existing right to arm themselves for protection against individual terror and governmental tyranny is repeated again and again throughout history.  Whether in colonial America, 1943 Warsaw or 2007 Iraq, law-abiding citizens must remain vigilant in protecting this right.  Where they fail to do so, terror and tyranny often follow. 

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