Shooting Looters Redux

I raised a bit of a ruckus a few days ago.

In my article, Always Shoot the Looters, I illustrated one of the most important mistakes made by coalition forces in Iraq. By not acting to stop the looting, they signaled to the population as a whole that the rule of law was no longer in effect.

That signal was the single most destructive message anyone could have made, and it is a message that still plagues Iraq today.

Having said that, shooting looters would not have been anyone’s aim. In fact, coalition forces would have needed to work hard to shoot as few looters as possible. They would have had to give warnings, then shoot over their heads, and if no one responds… fire single shots in an attempt to wound.

Only when none of that worked should coalition forces have shot to kill.

No one should ever want to do this, and violence should never be the first option. But, taking away this option only increases violence.

If coalition forces had handled the situation correctly, several hundred looters might have been wounded, and only a few of them killed – and a country could have been saved. However, because coalition forces refused to exercise their authority, they indicated that there was no authority and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians died as a result.

I think that killing a few criminals that wouldn’t heed warnings is a small price to pay to save a hundred thousand lives. Don’t you think?

Governments exist to protect us from each other. They exist to defend us from those who do not acknowledge any moral authority that does not wield a gun.

Remember also that there is a difference between public and private morality. We are not allowed to take money by force, but the government must be able to. We are not allowed to punish misdeeds ourselves, but the government must be able to. We are not allowed to engage in acts of violence, but the government must be able to.

If we do not provide a government with the ‘right of violence’ while denying this right to ourselves… well, we condemn ourselves and our children to the kind of chaos that Iraq is experiencing today.

In the final analysis, no one should ever use lethal force to stop looting until every other option has been expended. But, once you determine that the only remaining option is a lethal one, you must never flinch from its use.

Because there are people who will only respond to violence and the threat of violence.

1 thought on “Shooting Looters Redux”

  1. I couldn’t agree more… We as a nation have learned from our own experience that in a crisis situation like a power black out, natural disaster or any other opportunity for looting occurs that keeping law and order is one of the first priorities. The National Guard is usually one of the first teams on the scene because if the masses see that law is no longer in effect, crime rises so quickly that it often takes law enforcement tremendous resources to restore order.

    Not taking action in Iraq has most certainly cost many lives. Let’s try to not forget this the next time… yes; there will be a next time as history will continue to repeat itself until Christ returns to claim his church. Then it will get REALLY interesting for seven years. If you’re interested in getting more information about what the seven years could and will look like, I recommend a series of books called “Left Behind”. It’s a novel of Earth’s last days written by a biblical scholar Tim LaHaye and a talented fiction writer Jerry Jenkins. By the end of this series, you will clearly understand actual biblical prophecy and Jerry Jenkins paints a picture of the return of Christ that will astound you but you have to make it to the end of the series. It is worth it!

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