Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12.13.06 - Second Amendment Lessons from Iraq



Here are high points of the essay that I want to comment upon, but I recommend you read the whole thing.

Second Amendment Lessons from Iraq by William R. Tonso

" 'The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence/Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence' claims, 'According to media reports, Iraq is one of the most heavily armed countries in the world. It is believed that there are enough guns in Iraq for at last [sic] every person in Iraq to possess one, a level similar to gun ownership in clans in Yemen and Somalia, as well as in the United States. With a population of approximately 24 million, that means there could be millions of small arms in the hands of civilians. The gun culture is pervasive in Iraq. There is even an Iraqi saying, ‘Give everything to your friend, except your car, your wife, and your gun.’

Which is very good advice too, no matter how the "Brady Bunch" and their ilk try to slander and misinterpret this bit of Iraqi folk wisdom. Kinda condescending and racist too.

In a place like the Middle East where feuds, tyrannies, invasions, and civil disorder is commonplace, why would you not arm yourself? Gandhian style passive resistance would be totally ineffective there. A single man or community having some AK-47s couldn't obviously repel a national army bent on doing its will, but it does make it possible to keep bandits, political, religious, and ethnic rivals, and other smaller, (but just as real), enemies from your doors, and that is why they possess them.

"This anti-gun organization goes on to report that 'in February, 2003, Saddam’s governments [sic] held a parade of thousands of small arms-bearing civilians to march down the streets of Mosul to demonstrate the capacity of ordinary Iraqis to wage war.' What kinds of guns? All kinds, many old but also many new, the latter including AK-47 true assault rifles capable of full-automatic fire, and 'Israeli Uzis and German MP5 submachine guns.' Civilians even had rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). A retired Army Special Operations officer with whom I swap e-mails now and again confirms that that part of the world, with which he is very familiar, is awash in guns. And a soldier returned from Iraq once told Limbaugh about the widespread civilian possession of guns in that country. Rush was surprised, but I’ve never heard him mention it again. So, if Iraqi civilians were actually heavily armed even before they were 'liberated' (Ha!), why didn’t the Iraqi people rise up against their brutal dictator and save the United States the trouble of 'liberating' them?"

Well, the Kurds did, establishing an independent enclave in northern Iraq, the Shia tried to (the Basra Uprising of '91, which failed) and the Sunnis, then being in control, liked things as they were. So, the Brady Campaign again gets its facts wrong, or more likely just uses them selectively, to justify their logical contortions to reach an already pre-determined conclusion. Much as anti-rights constitutionalists do, (i.e. "the constitution says you have a right to bear arms, but, although that's what it says, that isn't what it really means".) Playing post-modernist linguistic deconstructionist word-games will not protect your liberty though. It merely confuses the real issue and wastes your time. Which is why I don’t often bandy words arguing with them. But I digress.

Abraham Lincoln, (I know, I know, who was a statist dictator, but even so..) is reputed to have said that “[P]eople are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be". And so too with liberty. People are born into this world with liberty and they keep as much as they are willing and able to assert. The Iraqis under Saddam Hussein had the means to assert their liberty but mostly chose not to. Like a millionaire who starves himself to death, this is odd. But that was their choice. They had the means but not the will. Go figure?

"What Americans mistakenly do is transfer their beliefs regarding distrust of government onto others. The vast majority of people around this world believe government to be a good, not evil, force in their lives." Well put. Even an well-armed populace can be oppressed if it doesn’t have the will to rebel. I might add that even in the United States, detractors of the Second Amendment, and even many of its supporters, tend to trust government too much and see it as a force for good as long as their side is in power."

Tonso has written a book on this topic Gun Control=People Control, which I intend to read. I don't usually bother much with "constitutional rights" articles and books, because I don't believe that documents, no matter how skillfully written, can protect your liberty. Only you and I can. The right to self-defense is a natural right that people have inherently, and that requires no sanction from a piece of paper written long ago by people long dead. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, the "the earth belongs to the living.” We can't grant liberty to other people who haven't been born yet after we're dead. The people living in the future must assert it for themselves. But shouldn't we give them a "fighting chance" to do so? I think so, and the means to take advantage of that fighting chance are a logical necessity of that premise. Guard your guns as you would any other necessity of life, for that is what, in the end, guns are.

1 comment:

Tourist said...

In 1755 Samuel John­son pub­lished the the “Webster’s dic­tio­nary” of the day.
It was the defini­tive dic­tio­nary of the Eng­lish lan­guage at the time the US Constitution was written.
Under the word “arms” the 1755 def­i­n­i­tion was ” weapons of defense or armour of defense“
The definition of arms did not restrict the term to portable hand held weapons like mus­kets and swords, (as some revi­sion­ists who try to rein­ter­pret the sec­ond amend­ment claim)…but even included the most ter­ri­ble weapons of the day…the can­non.
Which means that Amer­i­cans are not lim­ited in what type of weapon they can own: a stinger mis­sile, a tank, a bazooka, a flame thrower. Any “weapon of defense” is fair game. Machine guns, hand grenades, RPG’s all are included in the sec­ond amend­ment. I would even go so far as to say that Americans even have the right to possess biological weapons.
Amer­i­cans have the right under the con­sti­tu­tion to unre­stricted access to any weapon that can be use in any pos­si­ble way in defense of the coun­try or the individual.
There are those, even some in the NRA, who would like to draw a distinction between a handgun and , say a bazooka, a missile or a suitcase nuke. But based to the second amendment and the definition of "arms" , Americans citizens have the right to own any weapon they wish.
No exceptions.

Remember "tanks, bazookas and suitcase nukes don't kill people...people do"