In the year since Saddam Hussein was overthrown, American-led troops have used a wide range of force to combat insurgents opposed to the military occupation. This week the army tried a new approach to silence Iraqi guns:
In their first program of its kind in Baghdad, American troops engaged in a weapons buyback program. It began on Saturday and was so popular that it was extended for another two days.
By Tuesday night hundreds of Iraqis had been paid $761,357 for 56,536 items, from bullets to assault rifles to mortars and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, according to the military. The soldiers set up well-guarded sales tables at three locations — a field, a cigarette factory and a soccer stadium surrounded by an empty lot.
"This is probably the only place in Baghdad where they can walk up with an R.P.G. launcher and not have a coalition soldier shoot at them," said Col. Robert Abrams, commander of the troops carrying out the program on a dusty lot outside Baghdad.
"We are trying to get as many weapons as possible out of their hands and into ours," said Capt. Bill Williams.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Posted by Right Brainworks, LLC at Thursday, May 20, 2004