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I have met gun owners from all walks of life: rich and poor; conservative and liberal; libertarians and libertines. I know of one who even likes to wear pink hats. While we may differ on issues like abortion or healthcare reform, I find that there is a common life outlook that we all share. Gun owners love to breathe the air of freedom. So as we watch the Arab street rise up and seek to throw off the chains of oppressive monarchies and dictatorships, there is a lot for us to think about.

Won’t Get Fooled Again?

It is premature to draw any conclusions about whether these protests and revolts are good or bad because we don’t know what is going to come next. Tunisian mobs forced the resignation of the country’s ruling kleptocrat, President Ben Ali. In Ben Ali’s absence, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi claimed power. No word on how difficult it will be to get rid of “Mr. Oui Oui,” as Ghannouchi is known because of his long-time subservience to Ben Ali.

In Egypt, American-friendly Mubarak is gone. But so is the country’s constitution. As before, the military remains in control, only now it lacks a recognizable face. What’s next? Another military figurehead? Or will radical Islamists fill the breech and seize control? Or will true democracy reign?

Now America-friendly leaders in Bahrain are fighting a popular uprising. As is the America-friendly King of Jordan. And the America-friendly King of Saudi Arabia. This could spell trouble as friends in that part of the world are hard to come by. On the other hand, longtime American nemeses regimes in Libya and Iran are also under siege.

We might be witnessing a Democratic renaissance throughout the Arab world, an echo of popular uprisings in Europe and America one hundred and two hundred years ago. Or not. More often than not, revolution leads to mass murder. For every American Revolution, there is a French or Russian Revolution.

Was Irving Kristol Correct?

Many on the Left credit a speech Barak Obama made in Cairo in 2009, in which he seemed to encourage the Arabs to rise up and overthrow their oppressive rulers. But the impetus for these popular protests might predate that by an administration.

When America was contemplating the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the neoconservatives whispering in President Bush’s ear promised that if democracy could be established in Iraq, the love of freedom would spread throughout the Arab world like a pandemic. Is it possible that the evil Neocons were right? Maybe, but I have my doubts.

American News Media: “Democracy Protestors”

Western news media are telling a story of corrupt regimes being challenged by secular youth armed only with Web 2.0 social networking weapons. This, of course, ignores the reality that most of these protesters are not rooted in western philosophies of liberty, as were the American founding fathers. Instead, they are philosophically rooted in the religion of submission.

And they aren’t all only armed with handmade posters and smartphones. Some have penises, as CBS reporter Lara Logan tragically discovered. Others are armed with good ole fashioned firearms like the Hamas gunmen that recently attacked an Egyptian Special Forces base in Sinai. You didn’t hear about that? How about the bombing of the Egyptian pipeline that transports fuel to Israel and Jordan? No? Surely you’ve read about the raid on the Abu Zaabal Prison in Cairo that freed numerous Palestinian terrorists and Muslim Brotherhood activists?

No again? Hmm. What about the deployment of the USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group with its six warships and 2,200 combat marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit into the Suez Canal? Certainly American media outlets would consider the commitment of American forces into the middle of that powder keg newsworthy. Wouldn’t they?

And what about the nasty phone call from irate Saudi King Abdulla bin Abdul Aziz to our very own Barak Obama, in which the King berated Obama for stabbing America’s oldest Ally in the back and threatened to forge closer ties to the Iranians if Obama hung Mubarak out to dry? British newspapers thought this was important. But the American media barely mentioned the unprecedented conversation.

I guess the American journalists were just too busy following Anderson Cooper’s drama to notice that events on the ground in the Middle East don’t match the romantic story they are spinning about students peaceably protesting for democracy. At best, the story is grossly incomplete. At worst, American news media are negligent.

The Second Amendment in Egypt?

Lastly, the TTAGencia might take a minute to mull over how things might have been different in Egypt and Tunisia if their general populous enjoyed American Second Amendment rights. It is hard to imagine that the likes of Hosni Mubarak could have maintained power as long as he was able. On the other hand, if half of Egyptian households possessed firearms, this relatively peaceful rebellion might have turned into a bloody mess.

The Palestinians of Egyptian-controlled Gaza gives us a sense of this. They are well armed. The Egyptian military does its best to contain and manage their Palestinian problem, but they have been unable to control them as they have their own people.

I don’t have a sense for how this is all going to end. The Tunisian protests might prove to be like the tip of the pickaxe that hammered the first chips out of the Berlin Wall. Or this might be the beginning of a long period of regional destabilization that results in widespread war and murder. Until the smoke clears the dust settles, I’m keeping watch with a bitter cup of cynicism and a bag of popcorn.

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  1. The unrest in the Middle East will end up substituting one group of dictatorial regimes for another group of dictatorial regimes. The “Arab Street” understands representative democracy about as well as the average American understands quantum physics.

  2. Bill: Brilliant analysis…as usual. Always interesting to hear from someone who’s actually BEEN THERE.

    Now…when are we gonna get another installment on your serialized story?

    • Yeah, I’m still holding my breath after anti high jinx on the high-seas. We want more!

      Nice commentary by the way. The previous post about the sharpshooting military vets and now this one have me thanking the good Lord. Seems I have it pretty easy.

  3. These protesters are pretty brave since they only have sticks and rocks or fire bombs to battle the enemy. I know the perfect way to deal with all these trouble makers in the middle east, but then there would only be a lifeless desert left (which may not be such a bad thing).

  4. I’m hoping and praying for the best.

    But I’m fearing the worst.

    For a book that might shed some light, read Azar Nafisi’s “Reading Lolita in Tehran” which is a great story about the revolution in Iran that toppled the Shah.

    All kinds of folks with all sorts of ideologies were all for the revolution at first, especially the radical leftists and Marxists in Iran. Communists are all about revolutions. It’s what they do.

    Of course, once the mullahs got control, the radical leftists and Marxists were some of the first folks imprisoned, tortured and executed in large numbers. Lots of other folks who weren’t commies, but who were members of Islamic sects not radical enough, or from different religions altogether, or who were secularists also got imprisoned, tortured and executed in large numbers.

    The title of book comes from Nafisi’s underground reading group of college students, who were studying Nabokov’s Lolita. Of course, had they been discovered, they too would have been imprisoned, tortured and executed.

    Lots and lots of revolutions wind up doing those three things.

  5. Seems to me that if half of the households in Egypt were armed they never would have had a leader like Mubarak in the first place. Of course that might also mean that an Egyptian government that had to respect the wishes of its people might have ended up being far more radical than the Mubarak regime ever was. Americans first instinct is to be for democracy, which makes sense given our history. The problem with that is that democracy only works when people vote the right way, i.e. not for militant Islamists. Giving people a chance to choose also opens up the possibility that they may make the wrong choice.

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