The Iraqis, Their Weapons And Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

First in dealing with this subject, a bit of background is in order for my readers who were not around for my military coverage and commentary.  My son Daniel was in the 2/6 Marines and conducted a combat tour of Iraq in 2007 to Fallujah.  At this time, the foreign fighters were retreating from Ramadi due to robust Marine Corps (and other) operations there combined with the so-called tribal awakening.  Fallujah was a bad place, and the baddest of the fighters had ensconced themselves there.

The people were so aligned with the insurgents that upon the initial patrols by the Marine Corps, the Marines found themselves to be surrounded by the children of the city, carrying black balloons, the balloons being used to assist the insurgents to sight mortar fire.  As I said, it was a bad, bad place.  The people were willing to send their children out to assist the insurgents.  My son was a SAW gunner, and in addition to patrols and other city-wide operations, he shot insurgents crossing the Euphrates river attempting to enter Fallujah.

Robert Bateman isn’t limited to one idiotic article (indeed, he has written a multitude of them) – he has penned yet another one.

Way back in 2007, I personally invited Wayne LaPierre, the director of the National Rifle Association, to live in Baghdad. I had been there, less than 24 months earlier, and I thought LaPierre might appreciate the opportunity to live in a society which lived up to his standards. Surprisingly, he never took this offer up, nor did he ever visit the troops in Iraq, or Afghanistan for that matter, which is, well, normal for him. He likes his guns, but he is really not cool with being surrounded by them, like he would have been, had he ever visited our troops in Baghdad, or Helmand, or Kabul…or basically anywhere.

In Iraq, every single household (with a male that is) may have one assault rifle. This seems to be Mr. Wayne LaPierre’s ideal. And interestingly, we have a country (a couple, actually) where his vision exists. Iraq and Afghanistan.

This article isn’t really about Wayne LaPierre so much as it’s about Bateman’s false presuppositions.  So I talked with Daniel today and he gives me the following assessment.

Bateman is a dumb ass.  The insurgency in Fallujah ended because we locked down the city and made it to where the people had to deal with it or live in utter isolation from everyone else and with no means of transportation, with two ways into and out of the city.

Lt. Col. William F. Mullen (now Col. Mullen) was the unmitigated sovereign of the city.  Nothing happened without his approval.  The Iraqis may have had a right to automobiles too, but we took them away.  If Mullen had wanted to confiscate AK-47s from the folk we could have done that.  The chain of command in Baghdad left us alone, and we did what we wanted to do.

Every family had a fully functional, fully automatic AK-47.  It wasn’t a problem.  I was never shot at except by the insurgents, and mainly the foreign fighters – bad people from Syria, Egypt, Iran, blacks from Africa, and some fighters with slanted eyes from the Far East.  I looked in the face of every man I killed, and some of them had slanted eyes and were of Far Eastern descent.

We did confiscate some weapons caches, but only the ones hidden by the insurgents when the people gave us the intel.  The AK-47s were used by some of the people to fight the insurgents, but they weren’t used on us.  We were fighting the insurgents, and mainly foreign fighters.  We were not afraid of the AK-47s owned by the families.  The families helped us shut down the insurgency when we made it clear that they had to do that.

Now, it may be that this experience doesn’t apply to Baghdad, but that’s the point, isn’t it?  Guns are just machines, and can be used for good or ill.  Because Bateman cannot control people like he wishes (as the good social planner we wants to be, given that the Army has turned into a cadre of fruitcakes and social “scientists” – I use the word sarcastically), he wants to control their machines.

But this doesn’t work either.  The foreign fighters brought their own weapons with them.  The families would have been left utterly defenseless without their own AK-47s, which is the way Bateman wants us left.  Bateman wants us defenseless because that’s what the state wants.  The concern to them isn’t our own protection – it is the protection of the state from it’s people.

So that summarizes a brief conversation with my son.  Much more could be said, but I’ll leave it there.  Oh, and to Mr. Bateman, Daniel thinks you’re a dumb ass.  Or did I mention that already?

  • Veritas

    Bateman is an idoit. He doesn’t mention Switerland nor Finland or Norway. I wonder why that is. Nor did he mention the old commandoes of South Africa. Neither does he mention his paradises like NYC, Chicago, Dteroit, Fint, St Louis, New Orleans, Newark, etc. Could it be strict gun controls have little relation to the murder rate? Bateman is a drooling mouth breather who needs attention. If he is so brave I’d like to see him walk through Harlem at 2 AM alone and see what happens.

  • Jim


    You are wrong. He’s a “dumbass extraordinaire”.

    He’s a REMF trying to make Colonel.

    His tactics just might work seeing who’s running the White House and DOD these days.

    Thanks for your service and commitment to the Constitution.

    USAF (Ret)

  • michael

    If Bateman ever saw combat with that attitude he’d probably get it from his own. Idiots like him are rarely tolerated in a real battle field. he seems to be courting Obama for a Full Bird.

  • Carl Stevensonn

    Bateman is a moron and a traitor who’s trying to suck up to the Obama regime to get a promotion.

  • bill

    Agree the Bateman is playing to the left wing echo chamber. I suspect he is seeking executive leadership as SES in ATF or DHS once he retires from military. God help us if he is appointed to such a role…methinks he is re-incarnation of a Waffen SS or Gestapo officer with “unfinished business” in this world!

  • Don

    Mr. Smith,
    I wish you would leave your insight/response on the original posting by Bateman. It ran on the Esquire site and it’s just full of comments from his ilk.

  • Cletus O’Bannon

    Did you ever stop for just a minute and think… those insurgents as they are called might be nothing more than Patriots defending their nation from an invading military? The facts are in evidence that our invasion of Iraq AFTER the first ass whipping they got was not justified and there as NEVER been a taliban connection or any other terrorist group that has bothered us.

    I am former Navy and spent a career doing the bidding of my government only to realize that lately the bidding is for unjust reasons. I have no ill feeling towards the men and women in uniform, they are simply following orders under the false impression they are defending the nation. I sadly was subject to this as well. But I digress.

    The insurgents were doing EXACTLY what American citizens would do were our nation to be invaded by another without just cause. That is my opinion based on the facts I have gathered over the years. It’s not a popular one because that would mean a lot of lies would have to be faced by the nation.

  • Herschel Smith

    If you wish to debate the OIF you’re about ten years too late. You go to sleep and just wake up? If you want to comment, stick to the subject.

  • Paul B

    I dunno, but I wish another Navy Brat would get her shit together and realize she is just playing into the hands of the people who want to destroy this country.

    Thanks for your service, Cletus, but you are so off the mark on the OIF, or for that matter Bateman.

    I know for a fact WMD’s where found in Iraq, and I know for a fact most of the “insurgents” in Iraq where not native Iraqi’s.

    We are being fed so much shit by the MSM and our government I am taking out applications to be classified as a mushroom.

  • revjen45

    You are wrong. He’s a “dumbass extraordinaire”.

    Or, may I suggest “Asshat Emeritus?” (capitalized as being a title)

  • Mark

    Cletus, I’m soon to be retired Navy, and I would not presume to comment about events on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan because I never served there. I spend all of my seven deployments floating around on a carrier launching off aircraft to support those guys on the ground.
    What they all say is directly contradictory to what you are saying, and as they have been on the ground, looking the Iraqi men and women in the eye, I would believe them over someone like you.

  • Justsomeguy

    This article that was posted on TTAG gives another soldiers perspective. I’d like to delve into this issue a bit deeper. There’s obviously good information to be learned from this occupation.

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  • Stopped By

    Something anti-Second amendment people never mention that also undermines “dumbass extraordinaire” is that in a Country of 317 million people there are 200-250 million scary guns in private hands already. While you sit in your homes neighbors all around have guns. While you drive down the street many many drivers have guns. Walk down the sidewalk in an average city and there are guns everywhere. Just because you don’t always see them does not mean they are not there. And yet, there just doesn’t seem to be a mass slaughter everyday. There are murders and shootings by crazy people in “gun free zones” but the gun crime rate has actually been dropping for years. “Dumbass extraordinaire” is indeed not fit to wear his uniform and is certainly hoping for political appointment but he is selling the same tired fable that “some of the People” always buy: Put him in charge of everyones’ lives and the World will become Disneyland with fluffy clouds and rainbow farts.

  • slobyskya rotchikokov

    Now, let’s ease up on Bateboy – he’s just earning those official knee pads with the Obama emblem and the White House seal on them. They are usually reserved for ‘journalists’. And Obama promised him a lifetime supply of chap-stick, so his lips stay soft and supple.

  • ensitu

    I have read many of his “works” it is mostly self-centered, stream of consciousness, infantile rambling that would make any school teacher cringe.
    As such he is the perfect poster boy for the Progressives

  • Travis

    As a West Point cadet I had the fortune of having then CPT Bateman as one of my history instructors. I wish I could say that I had some sort of salacious story to tell, but that was 14 years ago and in the pre-9/11 political climate. I do recall that he had a HUGE ego. Looking back on it now, after three Iraq deployments in the infantry, his ego was unjustified to say the least. He thought he was a brilliant historian and great tactician. Perhaps he was great – at NTC or JRTC in 1996. From the photo posted of himself in battle rattle sticking his tongue out I notice two salient things. His “combat” patch is not that of a line combat unit; as best as I can tell from the photo it looks like a Multi National Force Iraq patch. Second, his gear is as sparkling clean as the day it was issued.

    I don’t think he’s an “operational” officer anymore. To explain that briefly, he’s not in line for any command positions and he hasn’t been since he was a captain. There are more Army officers than there are high level command and staff positions, so he is likely does powerpoint briefs and spreadsheet analysis. He’s being disingenuous by telling people how he’s a “manager of violence” and “inviting Wayne LaPierre to Baghdad”. Where he was in Baghdad was probably more secure than my home in the U.S. The bottom line is that he didn’t command a company or battalion in Iraq or Afghanistan. Yet, when a Ranger qualified infantry officer talks to the liberal nitwit press they get all slobberknockered that such a person would share their views. Very few people seem to know the difference between deploying to the Middle East and actually being in combat.

    Regarding gun control in Iraq, I’ve come to feel embarrassed at how we did our work there. In OIF II we were instructed that every family could have one AK-47 with a total of two magazines. Nothing more, no matter how absurd. The assumption was that everyone was an insurgent unless proven otherwise. For a 25 year old rifle platoon leader worried about the lives of his men, that meant that anyone could be a potential AQIZ terrorist.

    Forgive me for relating a short story. On a late June day in 2004 we were searching for a rocket launcher in a palm grove that was probably 10 klicks x 10 klicks. We entered a small hamlet and started searching through the people’s home. We found an AK and a pistol. The head of the family said he needed both. The pistol was to defend himself when he walked home from working the fields, because if he carried an AK in the open he knew that Americans would kill him. I gave him a choice of either. He gave up the pistol with regrets, while sobbing to us about his safety. I only had a dumb policy to follow. I’m embarrassed that we went through people’s homes and belongings and stole their things without cause. This happened daily in the name of fighting terrorists.

    We became desensitized to the idea of disarming people because of policy (some of my peers went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina…). Looking back on it 10 years later, the hypocrisy of going to a country to preserve the people’s liberty while simultaneously taking away their means to defend themselves escaped me. This was, essentially, according to arbitrary rules dreamed up by an MNC-I or CENTCOM staff (people like LTC Bateman). It was gun confiscation because we didn’t know any better. We weren’t adequately prepared tactically nor was there any strategic endstate that was ever communicated. If you say, “well that was 2004″, I’ll respond with, “we did the same damned things in the 2006 – 07 surge, of which I was a part.” It was an odd way to bring freedom to a country.

    LTC Bateman probably will not make it to general due to his career track. Methinks that Bateman wants to pry firearms from the cold dead fingers of Americans to prove to himself he’s the badass the thinks he is.

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  • Robert Bateman

    Travis, interesting stories. I wonder, who did you serve with before you quit the Army during these wars?

    LTC B

  • Travis

    HHC/2-8 Infantry/2nd BDE/4th ID
    A/2-7 CAV/3rd BDE/1CD
    A/3-8 CAV/3rd BCT/1CD
    HHC/3-8 CAV/3rd BCT/1CD

    Sir, you can call your friends and say what you will. My service record isn’t perfect and I have nothing to hide. But I was there and I did that. If my post mortem analysis of your current functional area is incorrect, then feel free to tell Mr. Smith’s blog your operational credentials as a BN S-3, XO or BN CO in Iraq. Perhaps you were a MTT chief and I’m all wrong. If your functional area didn’t permit you service in the line, then you can do us all a favor and tell us exactly what you did in Baghdad.

    I almost sent you a personal e-mail relating my extreme disappointment in reading your article. I can do research on the internet too, and it seems as though your reputation of tracking people down who disagree with you preceeds you. You have no right as an officer and a gentlemen representing the U.S. Army (even if “the views are your own”) to denigrate the God given right to firearms ownership and self-defense enshrined in the Constitution that you SWORE to UPHOLD and PROTECT. The men with whom I served in battle, and with whom I currently serve, believe as strongly (if not more so) than I do on this. Your “Cold, Dead Fingers” rhetoric was inflammatory and given that you are an intelligent man, intentionally so. I believe you knew exactly what kind of effect an article on gun control and confiscation would have from a serving infantry lieutenant colonel. You gave every kook and jackass in this country a further excuse to act in fear of the men whose sworn duty it is to protect our nation.

    And you can say I “quit” the Army. I don’t care if you use the faulty loyalty logic. I was the first in a wave of officers in my battalion who resigned from active service in 2007. These were men who refused to be bribed with the Army’s first ever $35k “extension” bonus for officers. I served honorably as an infantryman in combat which is more than the liberal press sycophants who published your drivel can say. Yet I say “currently serve” because I went into the National Guard upon leaving Active Duty.

  • Herschel Smith

    Travis, Robert isn’t really interested in your service. He tried to use this as a tool for invoking the UCMJ against a previous former military commenter (see previous post).

    The statement on “quitting the military” by Bateman is juvenile. Everyone quits at some point. I wish I could quit my job – I’ve done it for 32 years now.

  • Heyoka

    If you hear of this fellow getting harrassed by Bateman you can leave a note on your site addressed to Heyoka. Thank you..
    Hoka Hey

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This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control,Guns and was published January 1st, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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