Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Facing a Modern Army: Is the 2nd Amendment Obsolete?

In a recent discussion, I heard the anti-gun argument reiterated. They say times have changed since the Bill of Rights, and there's no way you could resist a modern army with small arms like rifles and pistols.

I quote from Wayne LaPierre's book, "Guns, Crime and Freedom" published in 1994:
"The twentieth century provides no example of a determined populace with access to small arms having been defeated by a modern army. The Russians lost in Afghanistan, the United States lost in Vietnam, and the French lost in Indo-China. In each case, it was a poorly armed populace that beat the "modern" army. In China, Cuba and Nicaragua, the established leaders, Chiang Kai-shek, Battista, and Somoza lost. Modern nations like Algeria, Angola, Ireland, Israel, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe only exist because guerrilla warfare can triumph over modern armies. While we may not approve of the resulting governments, each of these triumphs tells a simple truth: a determined people who have the means to maintain a prolonged war against a modern army can battle it to a standstill, subverting major portions of the army or defeating it themselves or with major arms supplied by outside forces."
As we look at Iraq and Afghanistan today, we see that's still true. We wouldn't have won in Iraq if the populace hadn't decided to side with us and turn against the insurgents. Had they continued hiding and supporting those rebels, we'd be no better off today than we were in 2005.

In Afghanistan, we're trying desperately to help tribal regions see the central government as benevolent and indigenous so that they'll stop sending their young men join Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to fight us. We know that as long as they keep supporting the forces fighting us, we'll never win, even if they only have rifles and handguns. Even in the U.S.S.R., where the government had full control of the media and military, they weren't able to sustain their war against these poorly-equipped fighters.

The conclusion is obvious. Handguns and rifles are still effective, and still a real threat to a tyrannical government even if that government controls a modern army. Heaven forbid we ever have to use small arms for that reason in the U.S., but clearly the right exists in part to safeguard us from that possibility, and given recent history, it's just as relevant as it was in 1776.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Great post. This has crossed my mind several times, and you make some good arguments.