Invasion of America?
A Gun Behind Every Blade of Grass…
Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto expressed an appropriate comment in the 1940’s (though many believe the forthcoming statement was actually propaganda originated in the U.S. and stated by American press outlets, and not the Admiral).
“You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
Whether or not Yamamoto ever actually said those words, doesn’t diminish the facts as they stand. As appropriate as that statement was in the 40’s it is perhaps much more appropriate now as the U.S. appetite for guns has evolved into something worthy of a talking to from the Catholic priest, worried about a nation’s gluttonous behavior.
About 8-9 million guns are produced each year worldwide by best estimates; some 4.6 million (last reasonable estimate was made in 2006 Q4) of those end up in the hands of Americans, approximately 50% of total global production. Estimates of 100 million guns in private hands are accurate on the low end, with some sources stating total gun volumes are nearing 350 million in private hands and somewhere near 475 million with active Military arms included.
Donald Rumsfeld veils a statement: “You cannot perpetrate an invasion of America!”
The U.S. is exiting a decade of war abroad, which has certainly taken its toll on us as a nation from a morale and economic standpoint, but also from a practical human standpoint. Conservative, Liberal or otherwise, it isn’t fun to be at war for extended periods of time. I think this generation now knows that, and it is breeding contempt for Government in the youth of the nation to some extent. Donald Rumsfeld in a 2002 speech told North Korea in no uncertain terms that the U.S. was not worried about their minor threat. He said, “I have no reason to believe North Korea feels emboldened because of the world’s interest in Iraq. If they do, it would be a mistake, because the U.S. Military is perfectly capable of fighting two major regional conflicts while continuing to engage terrorists across the world. We are capable of winning decisively in one and swiftly defeating in the case of the other: Let there be no doubt about it.” It was the first time I sat up and noticed the strength of the United States as an adult, and it was convincing. I remember being filled with patriotism, and was inspired to do what I could to avoid issues both foreign and domestic for the Military who fought for our freedoms.
Over the years, it has been a central theme in survivalist boards to question the viability of the U.S.’s defense at the home front. Surely you aren’t being a bad citizen to question our capability to defend against an invasion of America. Of late, as the Death of the North Korean leader, the Strait of Hormuz threat and a weakening economy across the globe threatens modern sensibilities, there have been increased talks of such an attack: Invasion by a foreign power.
Could the Russian Invasion have happened?
In the cold war, it was perhaps a better setting for a Russians invasion as they had the motive, the means and certainly the access, to stage such an attack. Perhaps even, at one point they considered it, during the height of espionage and before they were fighting in the Afghan front against Osama bin Laden and his people. But movies like Red Dawn, as interesting and fun to watch as they were, display only a rudimentary and poorly planned execution of an invasion by a foreign superpower. In the movie (which is what most internet scholars reference when talking about this concern of an invasion of America, or a Russian invasion specifically), the invading force focuses on small town areas, and then uses their supplies and corral techniques to sustain their force. Surely this method is a better thought out plan than what is seen in internet forums, with container ships and major port cities playing a major role in these doomsday scenarios.
What about an Invasion of America NOW?
There is a problem with all the theories though: they all forget to factor in that the United States is the most well trained and well supplied military, with more bases and military installations in the United States than are even necessary. The U.S. Armed Forces have Air superiority, Sea superiority, Intelligence superiority and vast allies throughout the world, not to mention, the best kept borders and the ability to pretty much manufacture or supply everything from thousands of different locations around the globe through its allied relationships and wide footprint of companies and military facilities.
EDIT: I have had messages mocking my suggestion that our borders are the best kept in the world. To detractors, I will say this: name one border of comparable size that has more technologically advanced security, more agents per mile of border, or more access to funds, weapons, forces or facilities. Sure, we have more people slip through than we would like, but it is our ideologies and enforcement of our laws that causes the concern, not as direct is the failure of border protection. Since 9/11 the “enemy” has not been able to successfully penetrate the border with the capability of a major attack. Simply put, the illegal immigration we see, is less directly dangerous (from a National security perspective) than what our borders were meant to protect against (after being reformed post 9/11). That said, criticize my viewpoint, but realize that illegal immigration or working class people is beyond the scope of this article.
In order for a foreign invader to stand a chance at causing the United States a problem, it would need to target and successfully take a major military area or a large city with a dense population, as well as the supply routes and defensive perimeters involved. For a sustained occupation a foreign invader needs to be at par or militarily superior with superior technology, intelligence and training; all of which is likely not the case for any of the most elite forces, when compared to the most basic of ours. If an attack were to be successfully begun, the U.S. would no doubt begin eating away at the strongholds and major cities in the home country of the invader while simultaneously containing the threat along our shores and in the target city. Nuclear weapons would be sent at major populations in the foreign country and other strategic military locations would be assumed as targets as well. All the while, the most armed civilian population on the planet would be doing what it could to affect the outcome of the situation.
A Chinese Invasion or a Russian Invasion?
So what if the Chinese or Russians came over in passenger or freight containers?
By the time such a plan was begun, it would already be mitigated through the vast technology available, and the large intelligence gathering efforts both the NSA and the CIA (not to mention other partner organizations like the DEA, FBI and others). There is a high likelihood that the coast guard would intercept the vast majority of the containers a hundred miles off the coast or more, and that it would end on the nightly news next to stories about puppies saving kittens from trees, and little old ladies turning 100 years old. Essentially, a cargo container ship would only be able to carry 5-10k men (at the VERY most), and would not be able to easily offload these men in the country: should by sheer luck, they get to an actual port. Fortunately for the U.S. they won’t. Shipments like that are monitored for excess communication activity, via satellite for deck activity, and via sonar and other methods (including weight and displacement) with our Pacific Fleet of Submarines and fighters patrolling the coast.
Ports of entry are now secured like nuclear reactors and military bases, with several levels of threat deterrence, not to mention the private “army” security with heavily fortified and well trained civilian personnel to ward off attackers until the military, local elite forces or federal agencies come to aid in the situation. The Border patrol and customs agency has some 300,000 agents in all capacities and sister organizations, and are available at every port in the nation where foreign transactions occur. They are well trained in early detection and odd occurrences.
If the port authorities were not enough, the Navy itself would be able to handle any threat on open ocean, and is likely better placed, even, to do so. I would estimate that we have a Navy ten times as impressive as any other that has existed ever. An invasion staged via open water, would be dead in the water, so to speak. Our Naval forces are ten times what either the Chinese or the Russian Navies are, if not more.
I keep mentioning the Russians and the Chinese. It’s simple: No other country has the population or military spending and militarization to stage such an attack. No other country has a combination of motive and some means, either.
What about an Iran invasion?
Iran is having trouble staging a closure of the Strait of Hormuz, a small waterway. Sure they have enough motive and enough intent to bring harm to the United States, but they would be taken off of the global map, and leave their own country too unprotected to make any invasion of, even a small city of 250,000 people a possibility. How would they arrive here with munitions, anyway? They have no Navy to speak of, are on our satellite and radar 24/7/365, and don’t have the allies to assist in making a real movement. Supplying troops would be impossible for them abroad.
What about an invasion from North Korea?
Perhaps the Death of Kim Jung Il caused one of several things to happen: either many of the faithful and loyal are now questioning allegiance in hope for a relaxing of the policy by his successor son; OR If the militarized nation were to stage an attack (they certainly have the desire to prove a point and the capability to get a motivated force moving together), they would not have the supplies, weaponry or ability to protect their own country during any period of time, regardless of whether or not you or I believe they have nuclear missile technology. South Korea our solid ally, would seize the opportunity to squash the North during any major movement of their troops. It’s not even a consideration, from a purely logistical perspective; their recent failed nuclear missile tests helped to solidify their ineptitude.
Since the Sea is likely an impossibility, what about by air?
An invasion of America staged by air is likely also a complete impossibility. A “UFO” sighting was reported in the 1960’s within bombing range of a major Pacific Northwestern city, and both the U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. were trigger finger ready to launch ICBM’s, until they contacted each other and patently denied the aircraft to be of their respective origins. This is during a time of intense pressure and poor relations, and still, no buttons were pushed. In a time of less stress and better relations, surely that would be even less of a threat. Another concern would be the origin of the aircraft and distance to a strategic target in the U.S., and how it would look on the way in. I’ll mention again: what countries other than Russia or China have the means or motive to invade us? 300 jumbo passenger carriers or cargo jets would certainly start worrying some air traffic controllers around the coastlines of the United States, Canada or Mexico, and would be asked to turn around, or suffer preemptive strikes.
EDIT: It seems now, even once a month, we see a “military fighter jet escort” of a passenger jet; if that’s not proactive measure against an invasion of America, then what is? Even in the last month (May 2012) there have been two such instances for commercial jetliners. Nome, have ended in a bad way, and none has been a significant threat to national security. The United States takes terrorism and foreign threats very seriously, certainly the threat of invasion of America is taken as seriously, but has even less of an opportunity to be carried out.
Couldn’t Canada or Mexico attempt to invade us?
Canadian forces are often trained by U.S. forces, and there is a lot of funding coming from the U.S. to both countries. We currently enjoy full allied status with both countries, and have excellent intelligence sharing and border control jointly with both countries.
The Southern U.S. border (Mexico) is the best protected border larger than 300 miles on the planet, and with some 300,000 agents in all federal divisions and agencies with some border collaboration on the southern border, it seems unlikely we wouldn’t be able to identify and hold off an invasion from the South, especially from a country as small as Mexico (militarily speaking).
Canada has an entire population of less than 40 million residents and in order for a major attack to be sustained; a large city would have to be taken quickly and efficiently. Seattle, Detroit, New York, etc. would be suitable targets, but wholly out of Canada’s league from a military perspective. New York City alone holds 8 million citizens, one fifth of the entire Canadian population, and Canada is a largely non-militarized nation. Sure, Russia could put hundreds of thousands of troops at the Canadian border, but natural choke points and the inability of Russia to move troops quietly on such a front would make that pathway towards a Russian invasion an exercise in futility. There are only 3k border agents (expected to be increased to 30k by 2014) along the Northern border, but even with such a small amount of federal agents patrolling it, it is too difficult for a major army to move large scale munitions and large amounts of troops or supplies effectively.
In recent estimation, the Military forces in Russia total around 1.2 million active, and as many as 12 million reservists. But mobilizing even half of the active number would be an undertaking the likes of which have never been seen. As we began to see mobilization, strategic nuclear ICBM strikes would likely end the threat of invasion (but perhaps start the threat of a sustained war). The United States by comparison has over 1 million active duty in all facets of the armed forces and over 1.5 million reservists in all capacities, with numbers increasing still yearly, despite funding being cut and extended war scenarios.
100 million guns? Not behind EVERY blade of grass but close
There are again, those 100 million (or more) private guns, and all those crazy freedom loving citizens spread throughout the country, which surely would factor in an attempt at an invasion of America.
Private armies funded by defense budgets and private industry add another 450-550k “troops” to the mix, and some of the training in private armies is better than foreign governments train their troops, so these men mean business.
If invading troops did make it past our constant surveillance, how would they stay resupplied with ammunition and food? We would be ready to make strikes on home soil if the threat were great enough, and we certainly have the air capability, with an offense biased Air Base in every state in the Union.
The United States Coastlines would be on lockdown, and the Navy would be taking no prisoners in an invasion scenario, further taking the wind out of the sails of the invading force (pun intended).
Katrina Notwithstanding…No invasion of America; still guns behind every blade of grass…
Every major occurrence has been stopped on home soil (with Katrina, a non-military event, excluded), within 4 days of the onset of the concern, within the past 4 decades, and there is no reason to believe the collaboration between local and regional/federal Law Enforcement and Military channels would allow that record to be compromised.
Sure there are ways to get into the country, one soldier at a time, but 500,000 Russians with guns don’t slip through borders, land, sea or otherwise.
More importantly: where would the motivation come from as an individual opposing soldier for an invasion of America? The United States is still the best place in the world to live despite our constant bickering. Invading troops will no doubt realize a complete control scenario never exists, and that the grass is greener here. Mass defections and intelligence would be the norm, and would help such a situation if ever a successful invasion was staged at the base level. Continued loyalty to a Regime or Government that cannot constantly be monitoring or controlling you, takes away a heap of the momentum that caused such a movement or mentality in the first place. Men can only be focused for so long, before they question the reasoning for the prolonged exposure to risk and death.
Finally, the CIA and its associated intelligence gathering and clandestine groups are perhaps the biggest deterrent to a full scale invasion of America that we employ in our arsenal: almost 100,000 intelligence agents are working around the clock to ensure we aren’t exposed to risk we cannot tolerate.
This nightmarish scenario is essentially nothing more than a Hollywood script.
The U.S. is capable of resisting a foreign invasion of America
Combine any of these different protective measures and throw it up against any two or even three dedicated foreign powers, and you will not be able to rationalize such an attack. We will have guns behind every blade of grass (well, more than enough to repel the opponent).
The United States, in its current state, with its current problems and concerns inclusive, is still not at risk of being invaded by any one, two or three combined foreign powers.
Donald Rumsfeld’s commentary holds even truer on our home front. Our ideals and lifestyle will not be threatened by an invasion of America at any time in the foreseeable future.