“I’m really good at killing people,” Barack Obama allegedly once said. The origin of the quote is the 2013 book Double Down by veteran political journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, who cite unnamed Obama aides as their source. The two reporters have journalistic credits even a liberal would respect — The New Yorker, The Economist, and MSNBC, to name a few.
Some people choose not to give the quote credence because its source is anonymous and it wasn’t caught on tape. Skepticism surrounding anonymous quotes is of course understandable, though I surmise that most doubters have political motives. People who are still high on Hope and Change™ will surely guffaw at the suggestion that their man would say such a callous thing.
Take it or leave it, I don’t care. It’s a true statement even if he never said it.
Though the Obama aides say that he was speaking of drone warfare when he bragged about his death-dealing, his prowess in the field of killing people is hardly limited to Hellfire missiles. Take, for example, the recent discovery of a Fast & Furious-linked .50 caliber rifle at the criminal hideout of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was arrested in Mexico on January 8th. The rifle, which was capable of shooting down a helicopter, found its way into the drug lord’s hands through a still opaque program that allowed American guns to cross the border into Mexico with the full knowledge of the Department of Justice. Federal officials have not precluded the possibility that other weapons found at El Chapo’s hideout will be traced back to the ill-conceived Operation Fast & Furious. It’s good to know that our DOJ is playing a role, even if only through willful negligence, in arming the most notorious narco-gangster since Pablo Escobar.
When I first read about El Chapo’s .50 caliber rifle, I was immediately reminded of Mr. Obama’s unilateral gun control executive orders and the associated town hall meetings which were designed to leave the false impression that he sought the American people’s input. The hypocrisy of it all was stunning. A man who armed El Chapo shouldn’t have a say in American citizens’ second amendment rights. We’re not the problem. He is. This is a man who stated “I do not believe people should be able to own guns” and praised Australia as the model for gun laws. Australia does not permit private citizens to own guns so I must conclude that Obama supports an outright ban. He is not just tweaking the system a little to make sure that underworld figures don’t get guns. To the contrary, he’s facilitating the transaction. On the other hand, he wants your gun — even if you’re a model citizen.
Unfortunately, some of those guns decided to come back across the border. A Fast & Furious gun was used to murder US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010. Terry was engaged in a firefight with drug traffickers. El Chapo’s men? Perhaps. In 2014, two Muslim men drove from Phoenix to Garland, Texas, to shoot up a “Draw Mohammed” contest. The men were stopped in their tracks by armed Texas lawmen before they could kill anyone, thank goodness. When the dust settled it was determined that one of their weapons was a Fast & Furious gun.
As a consequence of Obama’s and Holder’s gunwalking operation, our government has armed Muslim terrorists, cop killers, and the biggest drug lord in the world. Pretty good at killing people? Don’t be modest, Mr. President. You’re the best.
But Obama’s guns aren’t just found in Mexico or in the border states. They can also be found across the Middle East and North Africa. During the 2011 war that overthrew Libyan dictator Kadafi, the Obama Administration secretly approved arms shipments from Qatar to various militant groups. After green-lighting the shipments, the Administration was shocked — shocked! — to learn that some of the weapons had wound up in the hands of Islamist fighters. From a New York Times article by James Risen et al.:
The United States, which had only small numbers of C.I.A. officers in Libya during the tumult of the rebellion, provided little oversight of the arms shipments. Within weeks of endorsing Qatar’s plan to send weapons there in spring 2011, the White House began receiving reports that they were going to Islamic militant groups. They were ‘more antidemocratic, more hard-line, closer to an extreme version of Islam’ than the main rebel alliance in Libya, said a former Defense Department official.
These groups must have been even more stridently Islamist than the Muslim Brotherhood which the administration considered to be a moderate player in the Arab Spring. They were surely on par with al-Qaeda, which I think the Obama Administration still considers extreme (though that might change before the week’s end). Considering the fact that most of the anti-Gadhafi groups were some flavor of Islamist, it stretches credulity to think that the Obama Administration was just naïve. Or were they? In some minimally plausible scenario, the Obama Administration might have been criminally stupid. But I doubt it. In any case, the bulk of Libya’s revolutionary foot soldiers were undisciplined teenaged boys in pickup trucks. Arming them and then hoping for the best was a predictable foreign policy disaster.
The funny thing about guns is that once they are handed out like participation trophies they cannot so easily be recalled. Where are those guns today? No one knows. They might have been used to kill four Americans in Benghazi a year after the coup concluded. Just speculation? I’m sure Obama’s defenders would say that, though it should be remembered that the guys who overran our consulate made a getaway because they won that battle. No one was able to check the serial numbers on their guns, so the mystery remains unsolved. But is it so difficult to believe that some of those guns supplied with US approval might have found their way into the hands of the terrorists who attacked our consulate? I say no.
Once loose, these guns grew legs and crossed borders. According to the same New York Times article:
Some of the arms since have been moved from Libya to militants with ties to Al Qaeda in Mali, where radical jihadi factions have imposed Shariah law in the northern part of the country, the former Defense Department official said.
Super! According to Glen Johnson of the Los Angeles Times in an article about the Malinese rebels:
Since the beginning of last year’s insurgency against longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, weapons have streamed out of Libya, looted from depots and sold on the black market. Difficult to track and impossible to quantify, they move in many directions.
Let’s not forget Syria. Some of the Qatari guns ended up there as well, and that doesn’t include those weapons provided directly by the US government. In 2013, NBC News reported that the US was providing moderate Syrian fighters with $2.5 million per month, rations, radios, and would soon be providing them with weapons as well. Even if this army was “moderate,” as its leaders claimed, and I doubt that it was, their weapons proved difficult to control.
Another failed Obama initiative that nonetheless introduced more weapons into Syria was the CIA-sponsored program for training mercenaries. Many of the guerrillas—sixty in all, trained at the obscene cost of $500 million—quickly disappeared, once in enemy territory, with the military hardware provided to them by our government. Desertion is a possibility. ISIS captured or killed many others, and likely still has their weapons.
Barack Obama really is adept at killing people. He’s killed a lot of people “by accident,” I suppose, though all of his accidents were easily foreseen and easily avoidable. He nonetheless lectures the rest of us about our guns.