"[If Parliament] may take from me one shilling in the pound, what security have I for the other nineteen?" ~ Richard Henry Lee
Freedom Fighters, "Terrorists" or Revolutionary War Heroes?
Lexington, 1775 - (First reported on April 20, 1775. Since updated April 20, 2004.) National guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned weapons were ambushed on April 19th by elements of a paramilitary extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.
Meanwhile in Fallujah, Najaf and Baghdad, National guard units backed by US Marines sought to confiscate a cache of recently banned weapons and arrest members of a paramilitary extremist resistance. Severe fighting resulted in the death of an estimated 600 insurgents and civilians in Fallujah and the wounding of 1,500, before extremists drove the Marines back.
Speaking after the clash in Lexington, Massachusetts, Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement. Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group's organizers as "criminals," issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government's efforts to secure law and order."
In Baghdad, US General Mark Kimmitt echoed the words of the British forces, operating as liberators 230 years before him in the American colonies: The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed widespread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed weapons. British General Gage issued a ban on private ownership of weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting early this month between government and military leaders, at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms. One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that "none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily."
Government troops in Boston and Baghdad initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington and Fallujah met with resistance from heavily armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government's plans.
During a tense standoff in Lexington's town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists. Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange. Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from the surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units. Colonel Smith, finding his forces overmatched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat.
In downtown Boston--as in Fallujah more recently--resistance to occupying forces had ignited considerable bloodshed in a struggle that has increasingly begun to be referred to by local citizens as a "War of Independence."
The massacre in Boston in which five people were killed was instigated by a crowd that had gathered to taunt British soldiers. A number of the soldiers involved in Boston have been indicted and eight were imprisoned, but reports from Fallujah indicate the US Marine snipers accused of a high number of civilian deaths--including women and children--have not been charged.
Governor Gage, like the beleaguered Iraq Occupation Forces governor, Paul Bremer, has called upon citizens to support the state national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor has also demanded the immediate surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops. Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock--as well as fiery orator, Moqtada al-Sadr, who have been identified as "ringleaders" of the extremist faction, all remain at large. A spokesman for the terrorists--who prefer to be called Freedom Fighters--reportedly said to CNN: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."