Rubio, Like Carson, Has the Answer to Human Rights Abuses: More Guns

by Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib

Ben Carson isn’t the only Republican presidential candidate with a history of making bizarrely ahistorical comments—”historical revisionism” isn’t nearly a strong enough term—to bolster the cause of gun nuts in America. Last week, the famed neurosurgeon said that if European Jews had been better armed, then the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened. Carson essentially blamed Nazi gun control for the deaths of six million Jews.

Another candidate, Marco Rubio, fast becoming a favorite of the GOP establishment, took on this meme years back, with a more recent but no less ahistorical example of a time when arms would have supposedly forestalled a tragedy. In June 2009, when he was a Senate candidate, Rubio seized upon the Green protest movement in Iran, which opposed the disputed re-election of then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to make the case that more guns make for a better world.

When the Green protest movement was met with a brutal crackdown—according to opposition estimates, more than 100 demonstrators were killed by Iranian security forces—Rubio took to Twitter to suggest that more guns could have altered the outcome:

This is not the only time Republicans have seized upon the theme of arming the Green Movement. In a telling moment during the 2012 presidential election campaign, the neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer was asked what more President Barack Obama could have done for the protest movement. “Weaponry!” Krauthammer blurted out.

Rubio’s commentary on guns and the Green Movement—more so than Krauthammer’s—betrays a disgraceful cynicism in trying to score political points off the spilled blood of Iranian citizens seeking justice. More importantly, it also revealed a deep and fundamental misunderstanding of what the Green Movement actually was. The movement was distinctly and avowedly non-violent. As an exiled Green leaders once put it, “We do not have any other choice than a nonviolent path toward democracy.”

So Rubio’s cheap political pro-NRA message was just as hollow as Krauthammer’s. The Green Movement was Iranian, not American. They wanted neither our Second Amendment nor our guns.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.