Frontier Justice:

If we could just do this in Afghanistan, preferably with mixed US/Afghan companies:
Throughout Iraq, as the nation cracks through the totalitarian shell Saddam Hussein spent decades building, a reliable, trustworthy system of law and order is essentially being built from scratch.

It's closer to frontier justice than it is to the legal training. [US Marine Capt. Sean] Dunn, 35, received at Louisiana State University or the kind he practices as an associate at Duncan & Courington in New Orleans. Indeed, he's known around Al Kut as simply "The Judge," albeit one who wields a pump-action shotgun rather than a gavel.

At times, the weaponry comes in handy. One of the problems coalition forces confront in Iraq is the mobility of evil: A bad guy exposed in one area sometimes melts away only to crop up in power somewhere else. That happened in Al Kut with Mayeed Sahleh, a judge so profoundly corrupt that even Saddam once fired him. After being chased out of Najaf, he drifted to Al Kut, where he landed a post as a magistrate judge.

Locals who wanted to hang Sahleh from the nearest date palm told Dunn almost immediately about the newcomer's dark past, but Dunn told them he couldn't act without hard evidence of corruption. Eventually, Sahleh made a mistake -- showing up at the police station one night to spring a handful of Islamic fundamentalists on a signature bond -- and Dunn told Mahood to fire him. Two days later, however, Dunn spotted Sahleh operating out of a new office tucked under a courthouse stairway.

"The guy tried to say he had a few things to take care of, and I said the only thing he had to take care of was getting out of the building immediately. 'You're fired,' I said. 'Get out of here now,' " Dunn recalled, shaking his head at the man's brazenness.

At that point, the deposed judge took his hands off the desk and pushed back.

"He's got a gun!" one of the Marines on Dunn's detail cried, rushing forward with his M-16 leveled at the judge's chest. Dunn, shotgun ready, sprang behind the desk and relieved the judge of a handgun he was reaching for, concealed in a shoulder holster.
Now that's what it's all about.

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