THE BLOG
09/15/2014 09:42 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Invaded!

2014-09-11-200pxPlot_against_usa.jpg

Have you ever considered what would happen if the United States was really invaded? 9/11 was a terrorist attack but there was no follow up. In The Man in the High Castle Philip K. Dick imagined what the United States would have been like had the Japanese (an the other Axis powers) actually won, a state of affairs that was not entirely out of the realm of possibility before Hiroshima put Japan out of the running for good. During the war German submarines frequently visited the Eastern coast of the United States so the idea that only Europe was directly threatened by German advances was more of a wish than a reality. In his The Plot Against America Philip Roth imagines an alternative history in which Lindbergh was elected president and chose a Chamberlain type policy of appeasement over going to war with the Nazis. On 9/11 the Pentagon was actually threatened and then there was the bombing at the Boston Marathon by the Tsarnaev brothers. But what would an actual invasion be like and how would the American people respond? The Kurdish Peshmerga was thought to be a force to be reckoned with, but it had trouble defending both their capital of Erbil and the enormous dam at Mosul, until the United States started to bombard ISIS positions. And remember that ISIS currently comprises only approximately l0,000 soldiers ("The rise of Isis: Terror group now controls an area the size of Britain, expert claims," The Independent, 9/3/14) What will happen when their ranks swell with the poor uneducated denizens of refugee camps who constitute a good proportion of their recruits? You live for 7 years in a Syrian refugee camp and the only graduation diploma you're going to have is your ISIS membership card. Will the legacy of the Enlightenment with its championship of human rights and individual freedom be any match for the fervor of a new generation of jihadist who could very possibly reach our shores? In Human Smoke: The Beginning of World War II, the End of Civilization, Nicholson Baker proposed another alternative history, this time based on real facts and suggesting that lives might have been saved if the Allies had taken a pacificist stance towards the Axis powers. Al-Qaeda recently declared a jihad against India ("Al-Qaeda leader announces India wing," Aljazeera, 9/4/14) If Gandhi were alive what would he have suggested as a response?

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to politics, art and culture}