Andrew Busch writes a truly insightful article on the different ways that the Brits (in Basra) and the U.S. (in Baghdad) are handling the question of whether or not Iraqis should remain armed; the Brits are taking their guns away, and we are encouraging Iraqis to form self-defense forces to defend neighborhoods, hospitals, etc. Here is Busch:
"Almost invariably referred to by the media as ’vigilantes,’ these groups were actually often something far nobler, perhaps even the first sign of the capacity of Iraqis for self-government in the post-Saddam era. They represented a spontaneous effort to take responsibility for their own society, and to defend a civilization worth having. They also made it possible to restore order much earlier than might have been the case if U.S. military forces had to carry the entire burden. It is exactly this sort of initiative that the liberators of Iraq should welcome and encourage."