A U.S. Predator drone flies over the moon above Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
“There has to be a national conversation” about gun control, says Nancy Pelosi. The killing of school children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut and other shootings since have turned up the heat.
If, after Newtown, it’s all talk and no action, the former House Speaker said this week, “it’ll amount to a dereliction of duty on the part of us in public office.”
Too right. Pelosi wants to see action. The president’s demanding it too. So are state leaders. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has his sights set on the presidency (if you’ll excuse the expression), has proposed not only rewriting the state’s existing assault weapons ban but also more expansive mental health checks and background checks of gun buyers, lower limits on how many bullets a single gun magazine can fire and a new requirement that gun buyers be periodically recertified.
At the level of congress and the states, all sights (if you’ll excuse the expression again) are set on gun control. State district attorneys are joining the call for reform and almost 100 lawmakers have signed onto a proposal to limit handgun purchases to just one gun a month. (Apparently one a month is too strict a diet for the other 435.)
There’s just one piece of the picture missing. Now that lawmakers, DAs, governors and the White House have all agreed that gun violence is wrong, when are we going to start talking about troops and bombs and drones? You think American weapons are a problem in the US? Take a look at what American weapons are dong outside the country.
In Newtown, shooter Adam Lanza's weapons killed twenty kids, six teachers and his mom and shocked the nation. As Robert Dreyfuss recently pointed out here, American weapons have killed hundreds, probably thousands of kids in Afghanistan. In that one country alone, all sorts of people have US weapons. (The sales are good for the US economy, even if the weapons are used with some regularity against Americans.) Afghan soldiers carry US guns. So do some of the former Mujahadeen “freedom fighters” the Army’s up against. (The United States sold them guns when the freedom they were fighting for was from Soviet, rather than US occupation.)
US troops carry US guns too, of course. Last March, an army sergeant used his to methodically slaughter sixteen civilians, including at least nine kids in their homes in southern Afghanistan one Sunday morning.