The swords weren't for self-defense. Scripture says specifically that he told them that to fulfill a prophecy that he be numbered with the transgressors:
"If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me.” - Luke 22:36-37
It says right there that the reason for him saying that was so the Scripture would be fulfilled that he be numbered with the transgressors. NOT for self-defense against the Roman army.
"The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied" Luke 22:38
Two swords are "enough" - so obviously they weren't for self-defense. In fact, they tried to USE them for self-defense, and he REBUKED them:
'When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.' - Luke 22:49-51
And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword." - Matthew 26:52
I find it very strange when I hear American Conservatives make this claim, Because from the point of view of Christianity, the idea that Jesus wanted them to FIGHT the Romans when they came to arrest him as opposed to giving himself to be crucified actually sounds like blasphemy.