Why the Terrorists Can Never Win

The state of Wisconsin has gone an entire deer hunting season without someone getting killed. That’s great. There were over 600,000 hunters.

Allow me to restate that number. Over the last two months, the eighth largest army in the world – more men under arms than Iran; more than France and Germany combined – deployed to the woods of a single American state to help keep the deer menace at bay.

But that pales in comparison to the 750,000 who are in the woods of Pennsylvania this week. Michigan’s 700,000 hunters have now returned home. Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia, and it is literally the case that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

These numbers are part of why those of us who grew up in rural parts of the country simply don’t comprehend the gun-grabbing impulses of some. Every single year, millions of Americans carry high power rifles into the woods and more or less do as they please – some shoot at deer, some just drink a lot – and it is a complete non-story. The number of people injured and killed by these guns will pale in comparison to those injured and killed in driving accidents during the same time period.

But however well or badly we handle our guns, woe will befall he who thinks he can conquer America. 500 years ago, Machiavelli compared ancient Persia with then-modern France. Persia was highly centralized, so the emperor was firmly in control of all parts of his realm, and could muster enormous numbers of men to any part of the country. But if you could defeat that army and the central authority that raised it, then you would almost immediately control the whole nation, as Alexander showed. Medieval France, on the other hand, was very decentralized, with petty dukes controlling small centers of power throughout the country. Because of this, the king of France had only marginal control over vast swaths of his country , but no invader could stand a chance at conquering France because of all the small bands of local opposition.

I wish N.M. 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. For millenia, philosophers have pondered how one can maintain a well-armed population that can fend off all attackers, while simultaneously maintaining ordered governance.  In America, we’ve fulfilled this dream, and we’ve done it so well and so effortlessly that no one seems to have noticed.

97 thoughts on “Why the Terrorists Can Never Win

  1. Matt

    “Matt, your understanding of military operations shows that you must be a civilian.”

    Oh, right. You have to be a brilliant military mind like the ones that lost Korea, Vietnam and are losing in the Middle East — despite having “learned al;l the lessons of Vietnam”, they seem to keep repeating them — to comment on military matters. How gauche of me!

    Actually, Steve, I’m an historian, and descendant of three generations of U.S. Marines. who left a leg in Belleau Wood, an eye at Tulagi, and my father who carried the leftovers of an NVA bullet lodged in his body until the day he died.

    And, of course, forgive my crass habit of exercising my right to free speech and to hold opinions. I guess onlypeople who shoot at unarmed animals get that right, huh?

  2. Matt

    “Casualty estimates ran up into 1 million plus. We dropped atom bombs on them because it killed a lot of them at the cost of none of us.”

    Check your history, Mitchell. That’s true, but the real reason there was no invasion of Japan was because it could not be supported by the massive fleets required to transport and supply the forces on the far side of the Pacific in the face of the Kamikaze. The Atomic bombs made this unnecessary.

    Okinawa almost broke the Navy’s logisitcal back.

    And as for the Russians:

    The Germans lost on the Eastern Front mainly because they could not:

    a) maintain a continuous front across the Soviet landmass, leaving gaps in their lines that the Russians exploited. The Germans could not transport troops quickly from sector to sector, because even the inventors of Blitzkreig were still a horse-driven army.

    b) The Russians pulled the Germans further and further away from their ready sources of supply, allowing the Reds to attack at a time and
    place of their own choosing against German troops usually low on fuel and ammunition with massive force (those troops were not magically tansported to the front, btw; they were brought there by rail and American-built trucks. If that isn’t a great feat of logistics, I don’t know what is).

    c) After the defeat of Germany, the Red Army massed 2 million troops on the Asian front to overrun Korea and Manchuria. Countries that have not mastered the science of logistics have a hard time doing such things.

  3. bobby b

    It’s an interesting point but it does raise a corollary question: if we have such a large de facto army, why do we need such a huge, standing army, on top of it?
    – – – – – –

    Because otherwise we’d be sitting ducks for any foreign invader smart enough to hit us on the opening day of deer season.

    (Similarly, a smart nuclear attack on us will happen right around 1:00pm on the first Wednesday of any month.)

  4. H.

    Scott P. – they were right about the South. Had the South decided to resist after Appomattox, things would have been very different. General Lee prevented that.

  5. WJ

    Newsflash: it’s not the openly announced invasion that will do us in. It’s the subtle, well-propagandized, non-invasion invasion that will.

    Americans just spent trillions bailing out banksters who tanked the economy. Conquest? You decide.

    Obama and the Dmes passed a so-called “stimulus” that was basically a massive payout to Democratic constituencies paid for by everyone else. Conquest? You decide.

    12 million people are living illegally in this country. 75% of the population growth in the last decade was due to immigration. Conquest? You decide.

    10% of Americans are out of work, yet a majority of both houses of Congress just voted to grant 10 year work permits to any of 6 million-plus illegal immigrants claiming to qualify as a potential “college graduate.” Conquest? You decide.

    A century ago the federal government’s budget was barely 5% of GNP. Last year it was over 25%. Conquest? You decide.

    There’s more than one way to be conquered, and Americans have demonstrated they’re more than willing to be conquered in all but the most obvious of ways. I love this country for one primary reason: because it’s my own. God save me from those who think it’s God’s gift to the world. God doesn’t care about America or any other country. Consult Isaiah if you have any doubts.

  6. J.R.

    “RIRedinPA says:
    Fat drunk guys sitting in tree stands covered in deer urine is not a militia.”

    Hey jackass, many hunters are Veterans or active members of the military (unlike you).

    “The average hunting rifle isnâ��t going to do much against body armor and tanks.”

    Not being content proving that you’re not a hunter (or a Veteran), I see you’re trying to prove you’re an idiot as well. The average hunting rifle is FAR more powerful than the basic M16 variant firearms issued in the military. The M4 (5.56 NATO) I carried in Iraq pales in comparison to my Browning .308 hunting rifle.

    I could go into military tactics and describe how to stop armored vehicles and troop movements with small arms fire, but I’m afraid it is way over your head. You should go back to watching the Hallmark channel with the other sophisticated pansies.

  7. Baltar

    I have to say: the comments trying to denigrate this posting are among the most churlish and ignorant I’ve seen in a long time.

    Thank goodness for the bracing, informed honesty of J.R.’s reply (#56). Thanks, brother… and thank you, Apollo, for the post!

  8. tyler h.

    There is a lot of scoffing in this comment thread about the use of an armed populace, but this proved extremely useful in WW2.

    Several of the surrendered Japanese admirals and generals sited the sheer number of armed civilians as the primary reason they did not invade the Continental United States.

  9. bobby b

    There’s an awfully large group of people who have apparently never known anyone who hunts, never shot a firearm, never realized that attempting to persuade others of their intellectual insight by calling large groups of disparate people “fat” maybe leaves a more accurate impression of themselves than they really want, and who own computers, and they’ve all stopped in here tonight.

    It reminds me of when the Shrine Circus used to come through town every year.

    (P.S. Remember in all of those “Red Dawn” sort of movies how certain parts of the citizenry end up willingly helping out the invaders, snitching on everyone and lecturing about social responsibility and eventually getting admitted to The Party and helping serve drinks at the swanky country club taken over by the invaders’ officers and treating all of their ex-neighbors like dirt except for the absent fighters’ cute and innocent wives and sisters for whom they had been creepily lusting after for years? They’re starting early here tonight, trying to discourage people from thinking that an armed populace is any more menacing than a society of metrosexual closed-minded sycophant whiners.)

    (P.P.S. Even better, remember how those people always managed to Get It by the end of the movie, in such a way that you could always tell that they had finally discovered how despicable and dishonorable they’d been for so long? And if you saw the movie in a theater, the audience was always cheering that part? Ah, memories.)

  10. 808

    I have only read the first 12 or 13 posts on this article, and most of those posts seem to be written by pinch bottomed douche bags.
    Get over it

  11. David Boone

    I think Apollo’s post could be taken as being more about the spirit that animates hunters, than the literal armed force they represent. Who among us have taken to the firing range to zero in our deerslayers of choice, without reflecting, however momentarily, of the difficulties of fighting a modern, trained army, even with the superior knowledge of local terrain?

    Still even in modern warfare, snipers are not to be dismissed lightly. In that sense the spirit of the Minutemen lives on. History shows democracies field the best armies. They fight for hearth and home, yes, but also for ideals.

  12. Rich Vail

    “I would never invate the United States. There would be a gun behind every blade of grass.” Isoroku Yamamoto, Admiral, Imperial Japanese Navy

    I think the point the author is making is that if someone was stupid enough to invade the USA the resistence that would spring up from millions of men and women would make that of Afghanistan a pale echo in comparison. Furthermore, I believe his point is that every single year, literally millions of Americans with weapons far more accurate than what the military uses assemble and disperse with very few injuries.

    Now, while infantry without apporpriate AT weapons doesn’t stand much of a chance against mechanized forces…snipers, in the numbers that are hinted at would make life nearly impossible for an occupying force. That I think is the point that both the author, and Yamamoto were trying to make.

    Rich Vail
    Pikesville, MD
    http://thevailspot.blogspot.com

  13. frozenglass

    Christmas, late to this post all the distant family on facebook. Do not you recall the battle of Kings mountain (TN) when the British, in formation showed up for battle? Well there was no army nor militia there. But the call went out and all the kin folk grabbed their guns showed up, destroyed the British and then just went home.

    So do not say it can’t happen. And I object to being called a fat, drunk hunter. I am 5’4 and weigh 125 lbs and I do not get drunk.

  14. What I Think

    No army can reach Wisconsin without first conquering our front line of shrieking East Coast liberals.

    Uh, oh.

  15. baz

    Ignoring all the ridiculous comments denigrating hunters, the only real criticism one can make of the original post is that it ignores all the people who have guns, but do not hunt. Hunters, in truth, only make up a small fraction of all the people in this country who are armed. Solid numbers are hard to come by, but it is probably safe to say that over a third of the homes in the US have a firearm of some kind. So one in three. But not evenly distributed. Out in flyover country, it is probably more like 2 in 3, or even 4 in 5. What do you suppose the odds are that most of the negative comments here are from outside flyover country, or from large cities? There truly is a cultural divide in this country, and guns are only part of it.

  16. LT

    Matt,

    I think it is admirable that your relatives nobly fought for this country, and pitiful that you would bring their service and injuries up to somehow make your comments seem more informed or serious than they are.

    It is true that the oceans are our best line of defense. Still, any invading army would have to consider the populace they wanted to subdue. I hunt with several guys, and all of us are somewhat overweight. However, knowing how crafty and determined they can be I would hate to go up against these guys on their home turf in a situation where they would be defending their home an families.

    I admit that our being overrun by another country is a very unlikely scenario. It is true that some other country could just bomb us to smithereens, but then we would also bomb them to smithereens, so they are unlikely to do that. (One more reason for some sort of missile defense system.) Still, in the unlikely event that we were invaded (or if our government tried to take over) hunters and other gun owners would be a big problem for any invaders. You apparently aren’t familiar with the arsenal some of these guys have!

  17. willis

    “If this country goes down, it will be the result of economic collapse – not Al Queda or China or whoever airdropping foot soldiers into the Midwest.”

    So you think Obama has a better chance of destroying us than the Middle Eastern terrorists do?

  18. Joe Blow

    The key to our militia succeeding in war, is to ensure that we are only attacked by tasty enemies.

  19. Rickshaw Jack

    Surprising how many people here denigrate hunters and hunting out of hand.

    If you think that hunting is throwing up a tree stand on any ol’ tree and the deer just come strolling by, then it’s apparent that almost none you have never matched wits against one of North America’s smartest animals.

  20. Bill Johnson

    There is a large and significant difference in taking country and holding it.

    As in ‘Red Dawn’, the hunters would paralyze an occupying force, causing them to huddle in their FOBs (damn, is that a reference to AfPak?) and sally out en masse.

    Remember Black Hawk Down? Who won?

  21. Paul

    Folks,

    I live in Texas. And we to have many a deer hunter! Includeing me!

    And that another FIELD ARMY you can add to Pennsylvanias, Michigans, and Wisconsin.

  22. Claude Hopper

    The ones wanting to impose their evil will on the US are already inside. But we are not unarmed. Our bullet is the ballot. Aim it straight and the evil doers will be vanquished.

  23. JTW

    I think the point the author is making is that if someone was stupid enough to invade the USA the resistence that would spring up from millions of men and women would make that of Afghanistan a pale echo in comparison

    And he’d IMO be wrong. The vast majority of those people would either behave like they’re told to and hand in those guns to the conquerors, or hole up as individuals, families, maybe small communes in their homes or forest cabins, waiting to be picked off at will.
    They’re not organised, in fact those with the guts to use their weapons on human beings are generally so utterly independent they find it impossible to work together with anyone under any circumstances, are more paranoid of each other than of an invading army.

    No, Yamamoto was wrong in his assessment of the US as impossible to conquer because of the volume of civilian owned firearms (though at the time he might have been more correct than he’d have been making the same statement today, after 60 years of communist indoctrination of the US citizenry).

  24. JTW

    Surprising how many people here denigrate hunters and hunting out of hand.

    If you think that hunting is throwing up a tree stand on any ol’ tree and the deer just come strolling by, then it’s apparent that almost none you have never matched wits against one of North America’s smartest animals.

    Irrelevant. A group of hunters without small unit training is no match for even a similarly sized group of conscripts who’ve gone through basic training and kept up the drills.
    And that conscript unit will have combat aircraft, artillery, armed helicopters, UAVs, and a complete command and control network as backup.

  25. Tennwriter

    There was a Finnish guy the Russian invaders called the ‘White Death’ for good reason. He sniped 751 Russian soldiers.

    Asked about the difference between deer and men, he said that men were easier.

    Give me four hundred guys half as good as him, and I could probably conquer Europe. And I am no sort of Patton or Lee or Scwharzkopf. And that’s th epoint, with that good quality of riflemen, I wouldn’t have to be.

    And in the army of hunters, there is almost certainly more than four hundred of those sort.

  26. AD

    “…You have to be a brilliant military mind like the ones that lost Korea, Vietnam and are losing in the Middle East…”

    Unfortunately Matt, it was not “brilliant military mind(s)…” that led to those situations, but the political meddling of those at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, 10 Downing Street, Foggy Bottom, and Whitehall that consistently ran rough-shod over the considered advice they received from their Military Advisors and Field Commanders.
    But, I can’t tell you anything about that, as you are a Historian, who is a Post-Modern Expert on all things; who sees the American Military as stumbling into disaster after every engagement no matter what the outcome (ps: We won the Battle of Okinawa, and we would have defeated the Japanese Home Army no matter how long it took).

  27. AD

    JTW, all I see is that Yamamoto made a correct assessment for the time he was operating in.
    If he had to correlate you and the Matts of our present-day country into a new assessment, he would probably come to a different conclusion; as you and Matt have already declared surrender.

  28. Space Cowboy

    Bad news as Wisco has first hunting casualty. It’s statistically bound to happen and I wish his family the best.

    http://www.jsonline.com/newswatch/112440549.html

    Without hunters in Wisconsin deer would own the place. The annual hunt save tons of lives from deer car collisions which are quite common regardless.

  29. Gregster

    Looks like Andrew Sullivan’s catamite fanbois have come over to troll. Welcome Floral Campers!

  30. flicka47

    @ #19 dfs ~

    “Do fat guys with deer rifles and shotguns add much to that mix?”

    Maybe not, but their sons and daughters are the ones that make up the US Military…

  31. Ted Moore

    A friend’s son got his first Black bear the day after he turned 12 in south central Wyoming.

  32. GlennO

    The point that is overlooked in the smartly comments is what percentage of the millions of gun owners surveyed are Vets of all ages and disciplines in a myriad of combat theaters.
    We have a huge trained force always there, ready to defend against enemy from without AND within.
    And occasionally ready to sip a pop or a Wild Turkey AFTER the weapons are cleaned and put up.
    Heck, even my more liberal E an
    W coast brothers in arms have served, many with distinction.
    God help our enemies against our vast Band of Brothers ‘ cause they would not stand a chance.

  33. Matt

    @LT, who wrote:

    “I think it is admirable that your relatives nobly fought for this country, and pitiful that you would bring their service and injuries up to somehow make your comments seem more informed or serious than they are.”

    Umm, no. The reason it was brought up is because I was raised on the stories they told of war. They had first-hand experience of events, after all, and I would accept anything they had to say as far more accurate about the realities of that nasty business.I may not have been there myself, but I know what they went through.

    It wasn’t thrown out there to make”seem more informed”; it was tell the other guy I was arguing with that his assesment of me as witless civilan talking out of his behind was off base.

    @AD, who wrote:
    “But, I can’t tell you anything about that, as you are a Historian, who is a Post-Modern Expert on all things; who sees the American Military as stumbling into disaster after every engagement no matter what the outcome (ps: We won the Battle of Okinawa, and we would have defeated the Japanese Home Army no matter how long it took).”

    The point wasn’t that victory over Japan was completely impossible, only that it was exceedingly difficult with the methods and resources at hand, and politically untenable. And just in case you’ve forgotten, the Japanese took TWO atomic bombs, and still had not surrendered; it was only after Manchuria, their last source of supply was overrun, that resistance became totally unfeasible and the Emperor finally made his Generals see the light.

    Of course, the Generals attempted a military coup to prevent him form doing so, but that fact would ruin your illusion of certainty.

    And yes, thank you; I wouldn’t have known the U.S. won the Battleof Okinawa without you. However, I’m sure you didn’t know that battle cost the U.S. Navy 369 ships sunk or damaged, mostly by kamikaze attack, and that towards the end of that battle, theKamikaze Corps had changed tactics and concentrated on supply and troop ships, rather than warships — with great effect. A tactic they would most certainly would have returned to if Japan had been invaded.

    The Navy’s own assesment was that even if the United States had foregone direct invasion, a complete naval and air blockade of Japan could not hope to force surrender beofre late 1946/ early ’47. It would have to do this under more-or-less continuous attack from Japanese air forces, with horrendous casualties.

    Adm.Nimitz himself called this too horrible a thing to contemplate.

    As for the US Military “stumbling”, the modern military seems to have forgotten that wars are won by killing people in huge numbers, destroying the enemy’s infrastructure, social and political systems and will to fight, occupying his country (and retaining control of that territory), and inflicting inhuman suffering upon the enemy until hebegins to question, and then abandon, his reasons for fighting.

    Instead, we use precision weapons which limit the suffering, and then build schools, dig wells, and believe we’re “bringing democracy” to people who ave no idea what that is, or what it’s good for.

    We are, in effect, protecting the next generation of Saddam Husseins/Usama bin Ladens with our own guns, only they happen to have been “democratically” elected. Purple fingers do not a democracy make. And just why is it that we do these things? Because unlike the war of the past, the 24/7 media cycle brings war right into your living room in full color and HD, and if the American people were subjected to the sight of what used to be called “Total War”, they’d do what theprevious generation did, and protest, maybe even violently, for it’s end.

    I have a great deal of respect for the people who wear uniforms and dodge bullets on my behalf, however, they would have been home already and your girlfriend wouldn;t be getting felt up at the airport if someone at the Pentagon had the nuts to remind Presidents past-and-presents that if wars are to be won, they must be fought in a fashion that’s not made-for-TV, and liable to be very, very messy.

    That no one seemingly has, speaks very badly for the Generals.

  34. Old Iron

    Dude, I thought the post was inspiring and well-informed, even though most of the commentary is from a bunch of cock-mongers that apparently think that to have an armed citizenry is t concede evolution to physicality. I would love to see half of the negative commentators flinch as I fired a weapon in their defense.

  35. Mac

    What a bunch of pessimistic literalist imaginationless dorks. Sometimes I wonder if our country has been overrun by a zombie army of Eeyores with Aspergers. I loved the post.

    Merry freaking Christmas.

  36. Merrill Guice

    Way up at the tippy top of the comments, we have someone using an analogy about the South being conquered even though most of the population was armed. Contrary to Southern romanticism, most Southerners did not want the war, fought under duress, and deserted at the first opportunity. Not exactly the motivated opposition that the commentator’s analogy requires.

    Texans repelling Santa Anna at Battle of San Jacinto is, I think, a much better example of self armed citizens at war.

  37. AR-10

    The article was a small ray of hope in a truly messed up situation, but I have a few points to make 1. America won’t be invaded by an army without being “softened up” by some other means. 2. Guerilla warfair and snipers WILL mess with the BEST. 3. America has already been invaded and not only by illegal aliens. 4. You CAN”T win a war if you don’t know your enemy, see Art of War. 5. No one here seems to know who the enemy is. 6. Many of the wars mentioned here were financed by CENTRAL BANKS and designed to be unwinnable by their puppets. 7. the NEW WORLD ORDER is the enemy. 8. logistics, buy food, silver, gold, ammo, and sit back and wait for the dollar to collapse.

  38. mariner

    robert@35,
    <blockquote cite="Now I don’t think the average Joe should own nukes or howitzers but regular current issue arms carried by the troops is protected. Remember that when they wrote this it was not too uncommon for average peeps to have a fully functioning cannon on their property, with the skills to use it."

  39. mariner

    robert@35,

    Now I don’t think the average Joe should own nukes or howitzers but regular current issue arms carried by the troops is protected. Remember that when they wrote this it was not too uncommon for average peeps to have a fully functioning cannon on their property, with the skills to use it.

    That’s precisely why I believe any American citizen should be able to own a howitzer, or a mortar, or just about anything shy of a nuclear device.

    Remember that on 19 April 1775, Redcoats were marching to Concord to confiscate (or destroy) not just muskets, but cannons and cannonballs.

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  44. Red Shad

    Superking, You are obliously a liberal pussy. You would rather kiss a killer’s ass, than save the life of a friend. I hope it’s you that gets the first round if they start a ground war on us. Liberal scum. Move to Cuba you pillow biting bitch.

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