From BBC News [26 June, 2003]:

Within two hours, Sergeant Tim and the five other members of the Royal Military Police would be dead…

…attempts by troops to seize weapons in house searches in the two months since the dictator was toppled had started to incur the wrath of locals, many of whom see the possession of weapons as a fundamental right, particularly amid the insecurity that has plagued Iraq since the war ended.

Which makes sense given the instability in post-war Iraq, at a bare mininmum Iraqis need weapons of sufficient power to fend off those who would attack them. To be weaponless in Iraq is equivalent to being a surgeon with your hands chopped off.

The army’s use of sniffer dogs, an animal regarded by the Shia as unclean and therefore offensive, is thought to have exacerbated the tensions, as is the fact that troops would have seen unveiled wives and daughters as they carried out their raids – breaking a taboo among the Islamic faithful….

Observe that if Saddam did this they would not have reacted in the same manner–this is not because they liked Saddam, but they “respected” or rather feared him. If sniffer dogs are necessary to keeping the peace, then silly religious dogma has no say in the matter.

…When British troops initially entered this town, a Shia stronghold which had suffered greatly under the rule of Saddam Hussein, they were treated as liberators.

Apparently a mob of stone throwers had confronted a British patrol, which led to shots being fired and four people being killed. The British patrol “extricated” themselves from the mob, but left “six colleagues were training Iraqi police nearby” whom they apparently forgot about; unfortunately the mob did not:

According to the 25-year-old Mr Bairphy, who spoke to several British newspapers, two of the British policemen went up on to the roof to try to fend off the attackers, while the others took up positions on the ground floor. He said that after he told Sergeant Tim that there was no radio, he begged the British men to flee with them through the back of the building.

But they refused him. Sergeant Tim, he said, told him it was the duty of the British policeman to hold their ground.

It appears they did just that for two hours but by 1pm, all six were dead, “executed”, according to one army spokesman. The exact nature of their deaths may never be clarified, but the burnt, bullet-ridden and bloody shell of the building where they died is testimony to the post-war carnage which could be unleashed in a town which did not see a single bullet fired during the conflict.

The proper response to this is that until law is established the British must use enormous and “overwhelming” force and martial law until a stable Iraq society can be created. The idea that Iraqis can gather together as a mob and attack the British troops should not be considered even a remote possibility in the minds of Iraqis. However, British leaders must not try to disarm Iraqi citizens leaving them without the proper means of defending themselves.

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