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The Foolishness of Believing That You Need F-15s to Take on the Government
Joe Biden made news when he said:
"If you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons."
He’s not the first one to make that kind of crack. Congressman Eric Swalwell famously said the following in response to someone who said they’d rather go to war than give up their 2nd Amendment rights:
These comments are… well, stupid.
First of all, they come off like free-floating threats from the government toward the citizenry. Who exactly are they threatening? Legal gun owners? Republicans? Everyone? If America were a serious country, those sorts of comments would cause people to question both Biden and Swalwell’s continued fitness for office. Of course, if America were a serious country, we wouldn’t have been shut down during COVID, we wouldn’t have so much debt, and three-quarters of the politicians in Washington would already have been booted out of office and in more than a few cases, into prison, long ago.
However, it’s also worth noting that Biden’s comments are foolish for another reason. That is, they are completely out of accord with reality, and the more people that believe them, the more likely the government is to do the sorts of things that people would want to shoot them over. Happily, America IS NOT on the cusp of a shooting war between the Left and the Right, but could that change surprisingly fast? Could we come up with a number of genuinely possible scenarios leading to widespread political violence, secession, or even a new civil war that could occur within the next decade? Absolutely.
So, with that in mind, let’s consider whether Joe Biden is right that you need F-15s and nuclear weapons to take on the government.
To begin with, if the government has F-15s and their opponents do not, that’s certainly an advantage, but how much of an advantage? If, let’s say a lot of “rebel” activity springs up around Knoxville, Tennessee, or Bakersfield, California, is the government going to bomb those cities to the ground? Notice that they didn’t do that in Iraq or Afghanistan – and those were much less complicated situations. If let’s say, you decide to level Dallas, Texas, you’re going to kill an awful lot of people on “your side.” Additionally, who’s going to be flying that mission? An American who may have relatives there. Also, after the initial stores of bombs run out, who’s going to make more? Americans in a factory somewhere, many of whom may sympathize with the city you just bombed.
In foreign countries, there’s abstract talk about “war crimes,” but in America, people have constitutional rights that undergird our entire system of government. That last issue is not an unsolvable problem. Democrats have talked about getting rid of the legislative filibuster in the Senate and then stacking the Supreme Court, but that would set into motion a chain of events that could lead to everything from the government and law losing legitimacy to both parties engaging in dueling coup attempts. It’s the kind of scenario that could set a civil war in motion or add to the momentum of one that has already started.
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Now, that doesn’t mean the government’s air superiority would be useless against people rebelling against the government. Drones and spy satellites would be very useful. Also, again assuming Biden and company got around the Constitutional problems created by using the military to kill American citizens on American soil, some of those people fighting against them with AR-15s might end up catching the business end of a Hellfire missile. The flip side of that would be twofold. The first would be the same issue we mentioned earlier. You would have American soldiers put in a position where they may have to kill other Americans that they may see sympathetically. There were never going to be a lot of Americans who could relate to Saddam Hussein’s Ba'ath Party henchmen, but some bubba who used to be a Marine out in the woods trying to get revenge because Joe Biden put his son in a concentration camp? There would be an awful lot of people in our military that would want someone like that to succeed.
Speaking of “the other team,” they wouldn’t be “over there” this time. They’d be here and they’d probably have very good intelligence from people inside of our own military. Drone strike one of them and a half dozen of them might be waiting for you in the supermarket or doing a drive-by on your house at 3 AM. 10,000 guys with AR-15s vs. an F-15 is a slaughter, but what chance would the pilot of that F-15 have if five guys opened up on him when he walked out to his car to go to work in the morning? It would be nice to say that kind of thing would never happen, but the reality is that in war, people will do anything that works. Ask the Taliban, who did not in fact have F-15s or nukes, but who were the rulers of Afghanistan before and after they chased our military out of the country. Incidentally, who was the president in charge when that happened? Did he have F-15s and nuclear weapons at his command? An even better question… was anyone fired over that? No? So, if something happened here, the same people who lost in Afghanistan would probably be in charge of handling it here? That wouldn’t bode well, would it?
Furthermore, the idea that some sort of rebellion would be all about air superiority and two armies clashing in the field is as naïve as the British were when they expected our ancestors to put on nice, colorful coats, line up in the open, and get shot to death by troops used to fighting that way. As I’ve noted before, a relatively small force of Americans with no planes, no artillery, and without even a centralized command could bring this whole country to its knees:
America is a very big, very soft country filled with pampered, neurotic people that are prone to panicking over even statistically unlikely threats. There’s probably just as good a chance that you’ll be struck by lightning as there is that your child will be hurt during a school shooting, or you’ll die from COVID that you got walking around on a beach yet look at the endless terror that those scenarios have produced in America in the last few years. Unfortunately, what that means is that a cataclysmic amount of damage can be done by a relatively small, well-armed, decentralized force that’s intent on creating panic, destroying important things, and creating a body count.
I’ve never served in the military, but I absolutely guarantee you that if you gave me 25 million dollars, 200 well-equipped, five-man teams of men with military training, American IDs, a familiarity with the country, and a week to prepare, they could kill 100,000 people, do 10 trillion dollars’ worth of damage, and nearly shut down half the country over the course of a year. What do you think a professional with a bigger budget and real intel could do? Before you answer this, think about the supply shortages, how many high population targets there are in America with minimal security, how a handful of mobile men with sniper rifles could shut down whole areas, and how vulnerable our food supply, pipelines, and bridges are – it just goes on and on. A “civil war” with just 25,000 trained men on each side determined to hit and run in force where the other side isn’t could do cataclysmic damage over the course of a year.
The defense for that IS NOT F-15s or nuclear weapons. It’s shared patriotism, dedication to the Constitution, a shared culture, a sense of community, a belief in law and order… all these things so many people on the Left laugh off or take for granted. Once we get to the point where we’re two tribes with different value systems that hate and fear each other to such an extent that we smile when the other side experiences misfortune or death, all the F-15s in the world aren’t going to fix that.