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.