(Editors’ note: This column was co-authored by Eve Stieglitz)
In the aftermath of the second and third worst Islamic terrorist attacks upon America since 9-11, the socialist left, enabled by the mainstream media, has manufactured a false narrative of individual gun control being the issue. They went so far as to completely embarrass themselves with a petulant “sit-in” on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives chamber. However, there is a real issue of gun and weapons control in the Obama administration that the progressive left does not want to mention, certainly not address.
Therefore, we shall.
During the tenure of the Obama administration there have been several instances of guns supplied through programs of this executive branch having a deadly result for American citizens. Let us not forget Operation Fast and Furious, and I am not referring to a movie with Vin Diesel. I speak of the Obama Department of Justice program that flooded weapons into Mexico -- with the true intention of indicting the gun dealerships in America -- under the purview of then Attorney General Eric Holder. Sadly, for U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, one of these weapons was used in his murder. Where is the accountability for that action? And, please, spare us the Bush Derangement Syndrome, saying that this was his program.
It would appear that the Bush administration’s Operation Wide Receiver, conducted in 2006 and 2007, had similarities but no one lost their life. Operation Fast and Furious was an Obama administration program that failed to have requisite controls in place to track the weapons part of the gun sales. And, we must mention that there were Mexican citizens who also lost their lives due to this very flawed Fast and Furious program.
Recently, the NY Times published an article finding that the deaths of two U.S. DynCorp International contractors training Jordanian security personnel was the result of weapons shipped for Syrian “rebels” that were lost and ended up in the black market. Here again, we must ask, where are the gun control measures to ensure these weapons do not end up in the wrong hands? And, of course, will there be anyone held accountable in the deaths of these two Americans, gunned down while training security personnel?
When one does an objective analysis of the jihadist attack against the Special Mission Compound and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, September 11, 2012, you must ask, could the weapons used to kill four Americans that fateful night have been supplied by the Obama administration? After all, we did outsource our military fighter aircraft and intelligence to Islamic jihadist groups in Libya -- as well as supply them with weapons. Funny, we flew combat missions to support jihadists but somehow the Obama administration, along with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, could not scramble one fighter aircraft, or armed drone, to support Americans being besieged.
We all know that there was a weapons buy-back program being executed by the Obama administration in Libya. For what purpose? Many assess it was to funnel these weapons to jihadi fighters in Syria.
Of course, we know that countless weapons provided to the Iraqi Army have ended up in the hands of the Islamic State. One could actually consider the United States the biggest weapons supplier to ISIS. Those have become the weapons of savagery and brutality used against Christians, non-complying Muslims, and potentially our own men and women in uniform still fighting in that combat zone of operations, regardless of the Obama administration talking point of “overseas contingency operations” and training/advising.
Perhaps the Obama administration and his willing acolytes on Capitol Hill and in the media should address this clear and present danger of gun control and leave the constitutional right of Americans alone?
Here is a recommendation:
There have been discussions about smart gun technology. Now, as law abiding legal American gun owners, is it necessary to mandate to us the means by which our firearms should be outfitted for security? The answer should be a declarative no -- that is an infringement. We have just witnessed the State of Hawaii supplying the names of lawful gun owners to be entered into an FBI database. That is not gun control; that is borderline Stalinism, and a violation of the second, fourth, and fifth amendments of our Bill of Rights.
So, here is where the attention should be focused: supplying weapons to non-state groups is a dangerous endeavor, unlike supplying recognized nation-states through arms agreements and treaties. Why not use the smart gun technology as a means to track and disable weapons that have fallen into the hands of the enemy? The point is clear. Under the Obama administration we have a gun control issue and there is a serious problem with proliferation of arms paid for by the American taxpayer ending up in the hands of those who are killing Americans. One could even go so far as questioning violation of U.S. statutes dealing with providing materiel support and comfort to the enemy. Aiding and abetting their efforts is serious. That could represent a very clear criminal action, with definitive consequences and ramifications.
That aside, the recommendation is that we fix this issue going forward. Let’s give smart gun technology the opportunity to prevent weapons supplied on the battlefield from falling into the wrong hands. There is an obvious need, so there is need for an obvious solution. We need to end the insidious ideological false narrative of focusing on gun control for legal American gun owners. We must end the ability of weapons that end up in the hands of the enemy.
Since 2008, over 150 NATO soldiers were killed by Afghan security forces who intentionally turned their weapons against coalition forces. The highest profile incident occurred in August, 2014. A man wearing an Afghan military uniform opened fire on a group of senior Coalition officers visiting the Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul -- killing U.S. Major General Harold Greene and wounding 15 others. These “Green on Blue Insider Attacks” remain a significant threat to U.S. forces serving closely with allies in advise, assist and training roles.
Both Afghanistan and Iraqi Defense Forces have difficulty determining the sympathies and loyalties of new recruits. Aware of these concerns, Florida-based Trigger Smart has now developed and patented a smart gun system that can remotely enable and disable weapons using wireless technology on the military field. While technology alone cannot replace proper vetting practices, smart-gun technologies can potentially mitigate the risk that our troops face. Equipping our ally soldiers with RFID-secured weapons, paired with wide-area control technology, can ensure that only authorized personnel can operate their assigned weapon. Weapons can be enabled and disabled by U.S. advisors whose military forces will designate safe zones throughout outposts and operating bases.
This is something we can all agree to, unless you see the enemy as the law abiding American citizen and the Second Amendment of our U.S. Constitution. We must develop the means by which we degrade the potential of our supplied weapons falling into the wrong hands.
Allen West is the Executive Director and Vice Chairman of the Board for the National Center for Policy Analysis. He is a combat veteran and retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and former Member of the U.S. Congress. He is the third of four generations of US military combat veterans in his family.
Eve Stieglitz is a startup consultant and political strategist living in New York City.