You Loot, They Shoot


From today's NY Times comes a story that suggests just how tricky ruling post-war Iraq is going to be. You don't shoot looters, you'll get more looters. You do shoot them (and/or make mistakes in doing so), you undermine relations with the local population.

New Policy in Iraq to Authorize G.I.'s to Shoot Looters

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 13 ? United States military forces in Iraq will have the authority to shoot looters on sight under a tough new security setup that will include hiring more police officers and banning ranking members of the Baath Party from public service, American officials said today.

The far more muscular approach to bringing order to postwar Iraq was described by the new American administrator, L. Paul Bremer, at a meeting of senior staff members today, the officials said. On Wednesday, Mr. Bremer is expected to meet with the leaders of Iraqi political groups that are seeking to form an interim government by the end of the month. "He made it very clear that he is now in charge," said an official who attended the meeting today. "I think you are going to see a change in the rules of engagement within a few days to get the situation under control."

Read the whole thing here.