Aesop has left a couple of comments that have provoked me into further thought on the subject of 20 million deer hunters. A lot of people who believe that 20 million deer hunters are a credible threat to tyranny seem to have the "Underpants Gnome" plan for success.
Step 1. 20 Million Deer Hunters!
Step 2. ?
Step 3. Victory!
Step 2. ?
Step 3. Victory!
What this conversation really boils down to is how you get from step one to step three. Expecting 20 million people to self organize into anything is, in my opinion, expecting a miracle.
Actually I see 20 Million deer hunters and I start whittling away the ones that won't fight, can't fight, or are in the wrong geographic location to do anyone any good. A deer hunter in rural Wyoming, New Mexico, or Alaska is in a position to maybe cause some trouble with a railroad or oil pipeline, but not really going to be all that effective at ending the siege of New York or Miami. Successful insurgencies are population centric, and the bulk of our population is urban/sub-urban.
I think the disconnect is that you seem to keep looking at "20M hunters" and seeing 10,000 potential regiments, needing the requisite uniforms, rations, drill, and coordination into a unified command - which I'll grant we'd need in the Fulda Gap in 1983. In the Shenandoah Valley in 2013 not so much.
Whereas we'uns see them as 10M+ potential sniper teams, free to shoot or not, as and when they will, and show back up at work in the morning, indefinitely.If you give people the option NOT to do something, guess what most people are going to do? Hey Joe, want to grab your rifle, low crawl two miles to get into the one good spot to make a shot at some random guy in uniform, then run like hell hoping we don't get killed by return fire/helicopter/air strike/indirect fire, and then go back to work the next day if we aren't maimed, in custody, or dead? What do you think Joe is going to say? Always expect individuals to act in their own best interest, and usually that involves some level of staying alive or risk aversion.
You see 10 million sniper teams, I see 10 million deer hunters that "zero their rifle 2.5 inches high at 100 so they don't have to compensate for drop out to 250 yards" and at least 90% would wash out of an actual sniper school. 20 million individuals who don't have a mission plan, target packet, or other support needed to make sniper missions a success even if they did have the skills.
In Southwest Asia, the insurgency there hangs on for a draw for over a decade, partly because they were never any sort of marksmen, but precisely because they refuse to become the main force units our military dispatches with ease. (Incidentally, what's the current avg. ratio of rounds/tons of ordnance per insurgent kill from 2003-yesterday, and how many *decades* will it take the U.S. at current rates to produce 2M, let alone 20M, times that quantity?)
The insurgency in Iraq failed to drive out the Americans, and right now is failing to topple the Shia regime that is in place. They are stuck in the same rut as the IRA is in Ireland, still willing to be criminals, but the population doesn't really like them or care for their politics. Also the insurgencies in southwest Asia have been much less successful at killing Soldiers than Aesop's projected casualty rate for the 20 million deer hunters. Iraqbodycount.org lists just over 100,000 Iraqi's dead from violence, where last count for Coalition deaths was just over 4,200. With that ratio of kills to losses the 20 million deer hunters would be killed by 1 million occupation forces. Not a good comparison though, since a lot of the Iraqi deaths were caused by insurgents using IEDs.
The insurgency in Afghanistan has only one play in their playbook, but it's a really good one and it worked on Alexander the Great, The Mongol Empire, Britain, Soviet Russia, and now the USA. Wait until the empire gets tired of wasting money on the backside of nowhere, eventually they will take their ball and go home. In Afghanistan US casualties after more than a decade of war are a bit over 3,000.
Between Iraq and Afghanistan the coalition body count is still under 8,000 as of the time of this post. The .mil can sustain that level of loss indefinitely. So using SW Asia as an example of insurgents lacking coordination to stay in the fight is a bad example of a successful insurgency from a lethality perspective (and there are actually very well defined insurgent networks in both countries at this point).
Remember I'm not saying that 20 million deer hunters couldn't fight, I'm saying that they can't just fight and expect to win.
That military if turned inward won't have a safe rear area anywhere here, won't have secure interior lines of transport nor stable, unlimited, or even sufficient supply, and will still face all the same disadvantages it can't overcome now, and at 20 times the opposing strength over 10 times the territory. And that's on Day 1. I doubt .mil lasts until Day 100 under those conditions.Logically this makes sense, until you realize that not all terrain is key or decisive terrain. The occupation forces do not need to control all terrain, only key terrain that allows a marked advantage. Why didn't the insurgents in Iraq strike the ports in Kuwait? Because they didn't think to fight outside their own neighborhoods and provinces. What freedom fighter from Idaho is going to go execute a raid on the Portland docks? Terrain dictates tactics to a large extent. And expecting the occupation forces to be stupid about terrain is a bad plan.
(Unless they simply nuke the entire battlespace outside their bunkers, which defines the word "pyrhhic".)
That's why these ants don't want to become an elephant.
I think long before then, while the option for a do-over still existed, the troops would be recalled to their barracks and told to sit on their hands, while the Pentagon brass quietly visited the opposition leadership to lay out 20,000,000+ reasons why an impeachment, speedy trial (with the 82d AB Div pulling exterior security), and public hanging of a tyrant or three, ahead of a restored constitutional republic was in everyone's long term health interests.A military coup has never been a viable option in American history. And if it ever did get to the Roman model of military matters, you can bet that Congress will simply stop paying Soldiers (although with 1.4 billion rounds of ammunition purchased by DHS and other gov agencies, I don't see the .mil being used as an internal security force). How many soldiers would show up to fight without getting paid? Who would issue the movement order to get the 82nd Airborne anywhere? The .mil is under civil control precisely so we don't have a threat to the existence of the Republic, so we can avoid the military dictatorship of Rome.
Failing that, I think they'd simply shell the Death Star into rubble, and then oversee a restoration themselves, because they can do the math, but mainly because no one in our military sees either Custer or Benedict Arnold as role models.
One thing I have learned from studying successful modern insurgencies is that "they don't just happen" and it takes some sort of minimum level of coordination to win from the insurgent perspective. I could be wrong about this, just because it has never happened before doesn't mean it won't happen next time. But hope is not a method, and it sure as hell isn't a plan.
If anyone has a plan that can lay out how to get 20 million people to fight for freedom, and then lay down a stable Republic behind them, I'm all ears. Expecting 20 million individuals to conduct unorganized and random acts of violence and get some sort of political result just strikes me as wishful thinking. Don't fall into the "underpants gnome" logic and skip step 2, if you really believe that you have conditions for success, plan it out from start to finish and lay it out.