We Don’t Actually Want Another Civil War

A rare political post that I’m throwing up because it touches upon an area I just finished writing about.

Larry Correia takes the world’s dumbest tweet by a Congressman, and drops a hydrogen bomb of truth on it, and makes the rubble bounce.

Last week a congressman embarrassed himself on Twitter. He got into a debate about gun control, suggested a mandatory buyback—which is basically confiscation with a happy face sticker on it—and when someone told him that they would resist, he said resistance was futile because the government has nukes.

And everybody was like, wait, what?

Not a new statement. Whenever this comes up, proggies love to retort that the armed populace of the US could not possibly resist the U.S. Military. This is, sadly, a meme among them.

It’s dumb for a number of reasons, most obviously the fact that a high school senior today has never known a time when the U.S. Military has not been actively engaged against insurgents in Afghanistan, and by all accounts, we are not getting anywhere. Afghanistan is Vietnam with a lower body count (and according to some authors, we actually made some progress in Vietnam after Westmoreland left in ’68. But whatever):

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama launched over five hundred drone strikes during his eight years in office. We’ve used Apaches (that’s the scary looking helicopter in the picture for my peacenik liberal friends), smart bombs, tanks, I don’t know how many thousand s of raids on houses and compounds, all the stuff that the lefty memes say they’re willing to do to crush the gun nut right, and we’ve spent something like 6 trillion dollars on the global war on terror so far.

And yet they’re still fighting.

Extrapolate that to the resources necessary for the U.S. Military to conquer North America, and some 20-30 million (if we go with the low estimates) of gun owners. Keep in mind that it took the better part of a century – from Fallen Timbers to Wounded Knee, for the U.S. Military to take North America from a variety of Indian nations, all of whom stepped out of the Stone Age no sooner than their first encounter with Europeans. I recently went horseback riding with some Blackfeet in Montana, and they told me that until the early 18th century, no Blackfeet had ever seen a horse. The Indians fought back with every weapon they had at their disposal, at a massive disadvantage in population and firepower, and it still took decades to defeat them. And they weren’t even unified. The Apache, Comanche, Iriquois, Dakota, etc., each fought their own individual war against the invader. And they each went down hard.

Oh, but that was when we had an emaciated army, underfunded and undermanned? Sure. But Correia reminds us not to be to sure of that high-tech, all volunteer military, to say nothing of the cops:

The problem with all those advanced weapons systems you don’t understand, but keep sticking onto memes, is guess who builds them, maintains them, and drives them?… Those drones you guys like to go on about, and barely understand? One of the contracts I worked on was maintaining the servers for them. Guess which way most military contractors vote? Duh. Though honestly, if I was still in my Evil Military Industrial Complex job when this went down, I’d just quietly embezzle and funnel millions of DOD dollars to the rebels.

This is what prompted me to come into this, as someone who just finished writing a novel that takes place in the Civil War, especially Sherman’s March: in 1861, the U.S. Military had about 16,000 men and 1,100 commissioned officers. Of those, about 20% defected and joined the Confederacy. Of the 200 West Point graduates who came out of retirement, nearly half joined the Confederacy.

How long did it take to defeat the South again? 4 years. Despite the fact that the North had over double the population, five times the railroads, and virtually all the industrial capacity. Despite the fact that of the southern population, one-third were slaves who were by definition (until the very end) banned from military service. Despite all of that, it took the advanced, industrialized, highly populated section of the country 4 years of bloody conflict to crush the agrarian, thinly populated half. And that was only because at the end those West-Point-trained Southerners honored their commitments to peace. That’s right, that was after four years of conventional warfare. The Confederates didn’t even try a guerrilla insurgency.

So how many current members of the U.S. Military are right-wing enough to have a real problem with firing on civilians in support of the abrogation of the 2nd Amendment? Wanna bet it’s higher than 20%? How many Robert E. Lees join the rebellion this time? How many Apache attack helicopters do they take with them? How many Abrams tanks?

Hell, how many nukes? Do you know where we keep all of our land-based missiles? That’s right: out in flyover country. When I was a kid, the running gag held that if Montana and the Dakotas seceded from the Union, they would instantly be the third-largest nuclear power on earth. I don’t think they have as many missiles now as they did in the 80’s. But they still have some.

How hard would it be for the governors of those states to order their respective National Guards to take over the missile silos? How many guys inside the missile silos would help them do it? And how many cities would they need to wipe out to win the war?

Two. New York and Washington. Game over.

Now, of course, it might not break down like that. War is never as clear in reality as it seems at the outset. But that’s my point. The scenario in which the 1.3 million members of the U.S. Military are going to be able to contain a guerrilla revolt by a group an order of magnitude larger than them, and within the country they draw their logistical support from?

That’s not gonna be over by Christmas.

The Sword Inspiration Pieces: The Red Badge of Courage

rbocI read this when in high school and it made a very small effect on me. I liked it, but it’s slog through the awareness of a Union private undergoing his first battle seemed very small-potatoes to me, a snail-eyed view of an epoch-defining conflict. The Red Badge of Courage seemed to reduce the entire Civil War to a neurotic’s fit.

Now, on an older man’s reread, I am startled by two things: the vividness of Crane’s prose, and the verisimillitude of the story. Reading Henry’s journey of dread, shame, and redemption captures me in a way it did not in my callow youth. As a meditation on how the modern soldier conceives and attempt to implement the military virtues, Red Badge is a grown-up’s adventure story. Thus, the fact that we have no idea what battle is being fought, or when in the war (my instinct says Virginia in 1864, but my instinct didn’t write the book), a fact that quietly annoyed me in my teenage years, fits the theme of a young man struggling to find his place in the Great Unknown. It doesn’t matter what the battle is, or what is decided, if young Henry cannot earn his piece of the decision, the book seems to say.

Now, as to Crane’s prose, a sample:

But the firing began somewhere on the regimental line and ripped along in both directions. The level sheets of flame developed great clouds of smoke that tumbled and tossed in the mild wind near the ground for a moment, and then rolled through the ranks as through a gate. The clouds were tinged an earthlike yellow in the sunrays and in the shadow were a sorry blue. The flag was sometimes eaten and lost in this mass of vapor, but more often it projected, sun-touched, resplendent.

This constitutes a common sample of what’s in Red Badge, and it can be appreciated both for its imagery and for the ease in which that imagery folds into the narrative. It surprises me that I did not notice how good this was when I was young. Crane strikes me as a significant writer, surprisingly modern.

In other words, I’m going to be checking my work against the Master when its done.

Back to Work

I don’t just write and Dad (and Play Crusader Kings) all day, I also work for a living. And the end of summer means the resumption of the daily sweat to earn my bread. Which is fine, because it doesn’t put a halt to writing.

Specifically, it doesn’t put a halt to editing Last Tomorrow. I’m aiming for the end of this month as a release date. As I have for Void, which comes next.

And of course, The Sword, which will be drafted, hopefully by EOY. It’s going to be the next big thing after Void comes out, and the one I’m going to put the biggest push on.

In the meantime, here’s a perversely relevant historical argument I pose on Medium: Yes, the Civil War was About Slavery.

A lot of people seem to think otherwise, but they’re wrong. And I have the historical documentation to prove it. Plus, some rad Shakespeare quotes.

More posting will happen later.

 

Elizabeth Warren: Daughter of the Confederacy

So apparently Elizabeth Warren, who to all appearances is whiter than Denis Leary doing an impression of Bryant Gumbel, can actually conjure up a single drop of exotic non-honky blood, in the person of a Cherokee great-great-great-grandmother. To which I can think of no better response than a hearty “whoop-de-do.” No doubt every thirty-second corpuscle feels delightfully oppressed by the other thirty-one.

But Stacy McCain points out a startlingly pertinent fact: That the Cherokee were allied with the Confederacy during the Civil War, and Warren may thus be elgible to join the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

“We are Good Old Rebels, Paleface.”

In a just world, someone in the press would ask Warren how she feels about her oppressed ancestors’ ancestral oppression of others. Handy having that protective (D) after your name isn’t it? Unless she gets caught in bed with a live girl or a dead boy, she hasn’t much to worry about…