As we watch with resignation (if you’re me) or disbelief (if you were a naif who thought we would civilize Afghanistan) as the Taliban consolidate their control over Afghanistan and prepare to inevitably take their seat on the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, there is a valuable lesson there for the United States.
The Taliban fighters who poured out of the mountains and wastelands (okay, that’s not narrowing the waterfront down a whole lot) of Afghanistan in Jalalabad, Herat, Marar-i-Sharif, and Kabul, there was something notable about them. Take a close look at these men.
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 17, 2021
Over the past 20 years, we’ve poured some $88 billion (estimates vary from $83 billion to higher numbers) into training and equipping the Afghan Army, and we’ve also seen these images.
Reportedly #Taliban at Mazar-i-Sharif Air Base with another #Afghanistan Air Force MD-530F helicopter and significantly their first A-29B Super Tucano light strike aircraft (serviceability unknown) pic.twitter.com/J0LhI7lOcs
— Joseph Dempsey (@JosephHDempsey) August 15, 2021
As Afghanistan was swirling down the geopolitical toilet, my colleague Jeff Charles did this post, Taliban Reminds Us Why We Must Protect the Second Amendment. Jeff focuses on the Taliban beginning to search homes for weapons and confiscate them. After all, the war is over, and everyone is now safe, so no one needs weapons, right? I had a different thought.
Not even two months ago, President (so-called) Joe Biden gave a semi-lucid press conference on a “gun violence” jihad he and Merrick Garland were embarking upon. As part of his remarks, he offered this observation:
And I might add: The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon.
Those who say the blood of lib- — “the blood of patriots,” you know, and all the stuff about how we’re going to have to move against the government. Well, the tree of liberty is not watered with the blood of patriots. What’s happened is that there have never been — if you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.
Biden’s historical excursion into the Second Amendment is obvious bullsh**. The very fact that the Constitution authorizes Congress to issue “letters of marque and reprisal” implies there were civilian ships armed with cannons. Limitations on types of weapons didn’t appear until the Nation Firearms Act in 1934. But the real point is that when you look at the Taliban, you don’t see F-15s. You don’t see nukes. You don’t see tanks. You don’t see very much body armor. What you see is a popular militia…now, that militia may not be popular with some of my readers, but the reason the air went out of Afghan balloon so fast was that the Taliban were more popular than the national government…that toppled an unpopular government propped up by an extremely well-equipped army that was the beneficiary of 20 years of American training and mentoring.
Yesterday, I posted my analysis on the fall of the Afghan Army; The Afghan Army Soldiers Didn’t Fight Because They Rejected What We Expected Them to Fight For. This was the key takeaway:
The Taliban were defending an existential threat to their culture and faith. The Afghan Army wasn’t. The Taliban were willing to die to defend that culture and faith. The Afghan Army never had real skin in the game because they were culturally more sympathetic to the Taliban than to the United States. Once the power behind the central government left, the Afghan Army, individually and in units, made its peace with the Taliban.
All of this points to why gun rights and the Second Amendment are so important today. The Founders understood that an armed populace was a perpetual bulwark against an oppressive government. As the saying goes, it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight; it is the size of the fight in the dog. It doesn’t matter what the government has; all that matters is that you are willing to sacrifice everything for what you believe. And that you have guns and ammo.