For a guy who has been pushing various levels of gun control to curb violence in American neighborhoods – from expanded background checks to renewing the ban on so-called “assault rifles” — President Barack Obama seems to have a different perspective when it comes to firing missiles at people, if one judges today's reports from news agencies including Reuters.
With NBC News suggesting that the United States could launch military strikes on Syria by Thursday – did Bashar al-Assad declare war on this country? – one might ask the Obama White House if there is not a moral contradiction between pushing a gun control agenda and prepping for military violence against which Sandy Hook would pale.
Anyone who thinks missile strikes aren’t going to kill people is living in denial if not downright delusional. According to NBC, “Secretary of State John Kerry said that Syrian chemical attacks were a ‘moral obscenity’ and said the regime of President Bashar Assad had not just used chemical agents but covered up the evidence.”
That is hauntingly reminiscent of what was being said back before George W. Bush sent troops into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein. Even China’s state-run news service reportedly commented earlier today that “the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 on the grounds that it possessed banned weapons that were never found.” Maybe those weapons were trucked across the desert into Syria and Assad just couldn’t resist using them ten years later.
Coincidentally, the president is preparing to sign the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), perhaps as early as tomorrow and maybe on Sept. 25, according to Ted Bromund, Ph.D., who just offered ten pretty good reasons why Mr. Obama should not sign the document. His analysis may be read here. The firearms community is opposed to this treaty, and it likely will not be ratified by the Senate, rendering the signing, like so much in the Obama playbook, symbolism over substance.
Two significant points Bromund mentions are Nos. 6 and 9.
• Bad for the Second Amendment. The treaty does not exclude lawfully owned civilian firearms and contains only a weak preambular reference to civilian ownership. It creates a “responsibility” to prevent the “diversion” of firearms to the illicit trade, sets out national record-keeping on the identity of end users—i.e., individual owners—of imported firearms as a best practice, and offers justifications for imposing new administrative burdens on significant firearms imports into and exports out of the U.S. market. As the treaty is interpreted and amended, both the U.N. agencies that explicitly promote gun control and the many nations that wanted the ATT to impose even tighter domestic restrictions will pull and pressure the U.S. toward imposing further regulations.
• Bad for U.S. sovereignty. The standards at the heart of the ATT—which are based on international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and a knowledge test—are vague and readily subject to redefinition. The treaty as a whole is, as its supporters openly acknowledge, intended to create international norms that will restrain the conduct of the U.S. both by shaping the operation of the policy process and by establishing a pretended customary international law standard that will influence the deliberations of U.S. courts. This is bad for the ability of the U.S. to govern itself under the Constitution.
Dr. Bromund, the senior research fellow in Anglo-American Relations at the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Heritage Foundation, ought to know that the Obama administration does not seem to care about what is “bad for the Second Amendment.”
As for U.S. sovereignty, Mr. Obama is evidently about to shoot missiles at another country, so sovereignty may not be prominent on his political radar screen at the moment.
Among the millions of legally-armed citizens who carry firearms for their self-defense, one principle is foremost: Keep it holstered until and unless it is absolutely necessary to draw and fire. This happens only in what Massad Ayoob calls “the gravest extreme,” when one is facing imminent and unavoidable death or grave bodily harm.
Mr. Obama is about to use massive lethal force on behalf of people who are not our fellow citizens, which one can argue, is a noble gesture, a humanitarian thing to do. He may then understand that the use of lethal force is at times justifiable, whether one is reacting to mass murder, or merely having his head slammed against a cement sidewalk.