Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Grand Army of Huntin' Season

Bush lied to me, they all lied to me: "We gotta go to Iraq because they're the most dangerous country on Earth. They're the most dangerous regime in the world." If they're so dangerous, how come it only took two weeks to take over the whole f****** country? S***. Man, you couldn't take over Baltimore in two weeks. - Chris Rock

While a bit oversimplified, here is a good look at why conquering the United States would be difficult. Chris Rock ain't wrong.

I wish [Machiavelli] was around today, if only to hear the praise he would have for a nation that every year assembles and then disbands the world’s largest army purely for the purpose of managing its deer population.

(HT: Daily Dish.)

Let me say first, that as a civil libertarian, I think one of the greatest guarantees of personal liberty is enshrined in the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution.

While the 600,000 armed individuals running around the Minnesota woodlands might not constitute a ready-and-willing Second Grand Army of the Republic in tactics, the sheer number is overwhelming. This is almost three times the number of Union and Confederate combatants at Gettysburg. As a matter of fact, if these numbers are true (and I have no doubt they are) than Michigan and Pennsylvania both had more armed individuals running around the woods this deer season than were combat deaths in the entire Civil War, to date this nation's bloodiest struggle.

But I make the Civil War comparisons for a reason. Though the author examines the difference in centralized force of arms vs. decentralization, this view should not be romanticized. Look through the comments section for some good points. To which I supplement the following:

We have an Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to keep an invading horde from even reaching American shores, or bottle them up and annihilate them at whatever beachhead they are lucky enough to grab onto. Because of this, the United States will likely never have to face an external threat of invasion, but it is nice to know that, should that eventuality ever happen, our invaders are going to need the proverbial "bigger boat." There are a lot of us here in the USA. There are a lot of us who own guns. There are a lot of us who know how to use those guns.

Decentralized militia do make it very difficult to take and to hold territory by conquering. One commenter is exactly right - this is the exact kind of enemy we are facing in Afganistan, Iraq, and in Vietnam a generation ago.

Even with those numbers emerging from the woods of Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia and Minnesota, the casualties on our side would be catastrophic. This is always the case when a more numerous, decentralized and lightly trained home guard faces off against whatever invaders could have come that far.

One commenter mentions that this is why the South thought they would be able to resist Union invasion during the Civil War. Before I get to the larger perspective, let me address the history. The South didn't have anywhere near these kind of numbers in the first place, while the North did. The South lasted as long as it did because of A) some brilliant tactical generalship, and B) because the Union didn't really get its numbers together with a strategy until almost 1864. Once that happened, it only depended on how fast Grant and Sherman wanted to lose men while winning battles.

Even then, the Union did not have the will to use that force of numbers and hold the South. This is why Reconstruction ended in 1877, and the South had to be effectively re-conquered in the 1960's.

And that's the larger point: there is no external threat of invasion to the United States of America. Our greatest threat to national destruction has always been and will always be ourselves. I don't worry that those 600K, 700K, or 750K deer hunters will be called up as volunteer militia against the screaming Canadian cavalry or airlifted Chinese tanks. I do worry that those hundreds of thousands of American guns will be turned on hundreds of thousands of other Americans with guns.

That is something we have seen before.



E.J. said...

Are you predicting another Civil War? I am. My best guess is within the next 35 to 75 years.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

God willing, We may never get to that point. Let's keep in mind that 600,000 of Paul Bunyan's troops are out in the woods on the weekend, hunting. That's a lot of firepower, but remember that the deer don't shoot back.

However, if one were to happen in our lifetimes, I think your timeline is too generous.

Under the current cultural and economic situation, there are simply too many Americans disinterested in their surroundings to really degenerate into a Second Civil War.

I mean, why take up the uncomfortable and unforgiving environment of the battlefield when our nation is already willing to let our volunteer military do that for us overseas? Hell, people won't even take time out of their schedules to vote or participate in their local politics, so I have serious reservations expecting them to take up arms against one another.

More likely, small groups will have that committment to armed resistance, a terrorist or three will get through the security theatre we've set up to delude ourselves and - once things get a little rougher - troublesome demonstrations will begin, where agitators can break stuff anonymously and still make it home for Jersey Shore IX or whatever the kids are watching by then.

This will encourage further expansion of the security state. Further expansion will cause more criticism, and the disinterested population will remain disinterested as their freedoms are reduced and civil libertarians are harassed by the state.

That's what I see, if the current situation stagnates for a decade. It won't be easy, there won't be anything close to justice for the wrongs that are committed, but the nation will survive in some capacity and continue.

If things get worse, however...

alli said...

Those numbers on Michigan seem totally right to me. Opening day of deer season is usually a school holiday.

DADvocate said...

Invasion of the U.S. is easy. Just cross the Rio Grande. No guns needed. Remain relatively non-violent and you can take as much as you want and many of the people in charge of the organized government groups with guns will protect your "right" to invade and plunder.

420,000 hunters in Ohio, many from out of state. I'm sure many of the hunters in Minnesota are from out of state also.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Remain relatively non-violent and you can take as much as you want and many of the people in charge of the organized government groups with guns will protect your "right" to invade and plunder.

Like the US Chamber of Commerce? If they weren't getting hired by suspect business owners as a way around US Labor law, they wouldn't be here, and would cross the same demilitarized border on their way home. You can't plunder that which is voluntarily parted with.