Des Moines Register
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The Iowa Army National Guard has dropped plans for urban warfare training in the western Iowa town of Arcadia after being deluged by nearly 100 e-mails and phone calls from gun-rights advocates nationwide.
The four-day event in April would have involved between 90 and 100 combat troops arriving in the Carroll County community in a convoy with a Blackhawk military helicopter flying overhead.
Troops would have gone door to door, asking the town’s 443 residents about a suspected arms dealer and conducting searches of homes if property owners volunteered in advance to cooperate.
There was no opposition to the Guard’s plans from city leaders. But gun-rights advocates were outraged, and news about the exercise became a hot topic nationally on radio talk shows and the Internet.
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Arcadia Mayor Oran Kohorst said Monday he was disappointed the exercise had been canceled. He said he had not heard of a single objection from residents, and he said the City Council supported it. At least two guardsmen live in Arcadia, and many residents either have served in the military or have family members who have served in the armed forces, he said.
“This was completely blown out of proportion,” Kohorst said. “They were going to come through and meet with the townspeople and just practice going in and out of their homes. They were never, ever going to confiscate guns or anything like that.”
Talk show host Alex Jones of Austin, Texas, whose syndicated radio program is carried on about 60 stations, said he had received phone calls on and off the air from people in Arcadia and nearby towns who objected to the plans.
He said he believes oil companies, in concert with central banks, are creating a worldwide economic crisis to set up a world government.
“This is part of an acclimation for martial law,” Jones said of the National Guard’s plans.
Lt. Col. Gregory Hapgood Jr., the Iowa Guard’s public affairs officer, said Monday that some urban warfare training will still be conducted, but it will be held at the armory in Carroll instead of in Arcadia.
This article was posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm