By Max McGuire
New Jersey --(Ammoland.com)- As a prospective military strike against the Syrian regime dominates the headlines, we are reminded by administration officials that any military action will not include boots on the ground and will not be focused on regime change.
In a turn of events mimicking an episode from the Twilight Zone, once-hawkish Republicans are advocating non-intervention and their peacenik colleagues across the aisle are actually supporting a military strike in the Middle East.
While Congress debates whether to physically attack the Assad Regime, many lawmakers are reevaluating whether to send military aid to the Syrian rebels. A limited military strike “also fits into a broader strategy that can bring about over time the kind of strengthening of the opposition,” Obama told congressional leaders at a White House Meeting on Sept. 3, 2013. This comes months after the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence voted to approve the President’s plan to arm the Syrian opposition.
As the world remains focused on potential airstrikes, few are paying attention to the administration’s plan to arm the rebels. The New York Times has reported that during this White House meeting, Obama told lawmakers that a covert operation to train Syrian rebels is beginning to yield results. The first US-trained unit has moved across the Jordanian border into war-torn Syria. In a Google+ Hangout, Secretary of State John Kerry reported that US military aid to moderate elements within the opposition had been slow to arrive. However Kerry asserts that the small arms and ammunition have begun to flow into the country in a coordinated effort “to get [the opposition] the assistance they need.”
The Obama administration’s plan to provide small arms to the Syrian Rebels was approved by Congress. Good luck finding the transcripts of these committee meetings though… they were classified. When asked about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s vote to arm the rebels, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the committee chair, responded “It’s classified.” (Which is a polite way of saying ‘it’s none of your business’)
That’s right. Dianne Feinstein — the author of the “Assault Weapons” Ban – doesn’t believe that the American people have a right to know who the government is giving small arms to. That oversight requirement apparently only should apply to American citizens. Now, the gun grabbers-turned-hawks have decided to arm “vetted” elements of the Syrian opposition. Yet even the most ‘moderate’ elements of the opposition have shown fleeting moments of extremism. The irony is that while Sen. Feinstein fought so hard to disarm the American people and ban semi-automatic firearms, she is apparently more than willing to gift fully automatic weaponry to so called “vetted” rebel groups who are fighting alongside al-Qaeda.
It is incredibly unsettling that twelve years after 9/11, the United States government is actively supporting and arming rebels fighting alongside Islamic extremists.
The United States has a long history of arming rebel movements around the globe, and an unfortunately equally long history of having these weapons later used against us. The most famous example of this “blowback” is Operation Cyclone, in which the CIA provided weapons to the Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980’s to fight the Soviet Union. This operation was made famous by then-Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX) who teamed up with the CIA to deliver automatic and anti-aircraft weaponry to the Afghan freedom fighters (including a young Osama bin Laden). The hypocrisy is that while Rep. Wilson was arming America’s future enemies with automatic weapons, he also voted to take that right away from American citizens through the interestingly titled “Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA)”.
While the American people couldn’t be trusted with automatic arms, we gave AK-47s and anti-aircraft Stinger Missiles to Afghan Islamists (with many unaccounted for to this day).
Obviously, this is a historical example, but the hypocrisy of disarming Americans and arming terrorists remains in congress today.
Since the transcripts of these Intelligence committee votes are classified (and will likely remain classified for years), the committee members are restricted from commenting on the covert operations. However, here is the membership roster the House and Senate Select Intelligence Committees. In these two tables, italics represent the legislator’s support of the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban. Those in bold have expressed support for a new Assault Weapon Ban and/or a ban on High Capacity Magazines. Lastly, an asterisk shows that the legislator voted for the 1986 FOPA to limit civilian ownership of automatic firearms.
While the votes remain classified regarding arming the Syrian rebels, there is not a single Democrat member of the House Intelligence committee who did not vote for the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994 or support and co-sponsor a 2013 version of the bill. It is widely believed that passing the President’s Syria agenda in the House would require unanimous or near unanimous support from House Democrats.
There is not a single Democrat, on either intelligence committee, that respects the constitutional rights of Americans over the rights of Islamist rebels. That might seem like a pretty dramatic statement to make, but it is true.
There isn’t a single Democrat on the House or Senate Select Intelligence Committees that believe an American citizen has the right to possess a semi-automatic rifle and a “high capacity” magazine.
These weapons are seen by them as too dangerous for civilian ownership. Yet they are more than willing to approve a covert mission to provide fully automatic military grade weaponry to rebel fighters half a world away fighting alongside al-Qaeda and Islamic extremists.
On one hand, this was already common knowledge. It’s safe to say that those who propose restricting an entire class of weaponry based on cosmetic features don’t see constitutional rights as particularly important. Everyone knows that these Democrats believe that the best society is a disarmed society. But it should give you pause to learn that these same people are willing to give fully automatic assault rifles to loosely vetted insurgents whose chief ally is al-Qaeda.
It is also interesting that these lawmakers see the value in owning weapons to resist tyranny and oppression abroad as beneficial, yet don’t understand that logic domestically. I am not advocating the overthrow of the government in any way AT ALL. Anyone who suggests that the United States has reached a point warranting a revolution is an idiot. But that does not mean that the Federal government does not have the capacity for tyranny.
In Federalist No. 51, James Madison writes that “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
The Second Amendment exists to allow the civilian ownership of infantry weaponry so that citizens might defend against enemies foreign and domestic. The Democrats reject this interpretation of the Second Amendment. They instead believe that the founders – four years removed from fighting a war for independence – enshrined the right to bear arms for sporting purposes.
The United States gave billions of dollars to the Afghan Mujahideen. Many of these freedom fighters would later form the Taliban and al-Qaeda. In the mid-1980s, the United States also trained Saddam Hussein’s army and “[made] sure that Iraq had the military weaponry required.” Without a doubt, US service personnel have been shot by weapons once supplied by the United States government. That is a statistical fact. While it is impossible to know for certain, it would be shocking if a US-supplied weapon was not used against an American soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan.
What it ultimately comes down to is who our elected officials trust with weaponry: American citizens or extremist rebels in the Middle East. Since 1934, there have only been two homicides committed with legally registered automatic weapons. Given how we gave billions of dollars’ worth of automatic weapons to the Afghans and Iraqis in the 1980s, one has to wonder just how many men and women in uniform were killed or wounded by a US-provided weapon. Logic would dictate that number would be higher than two.
If you are a law abiding gun owner, you don’t need anyone to convince you that the United States of America is safer with a gun in your hand than it is when al-Qaeda is armed. That should be common sense. But when you hear in the next months about the new gun control pushes that will inevitably come, remember that the elected officials trying to disarm you actually voted to arm Islamic extremists. And they didn’t even bat an eyelash.
About SanityPolitic’ Max Mcguire;
Max McGuire is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Political Science at Villanova University. He graduated from Boston College, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Arabic Studies. Follow him on Twitter@SanityPolitics