Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

What if California Went to War With U.S.?
Published in The Signal, 8-7-2005.

Darryl Manzer, 2004     From 1940 to 1950, the decade prior to my birth, our country learned how to fight a war. It was very simple. We did everything possible to eliminate the ability of our enemies to make war. In the 60 years since the end of that war, we have forgotten much of how to do it.
    Here are the rules we used:
    1) You attacked us, so we will do everything we can to keep you from attacking us again. That includes bombing your cities and destroying your factories, railroads, refineries and most of your roads.
    2) You have committed crimes against humanity, and we intend to stop those actions, too. We shall make you, our enemy, suffer the same fate as the innocent people you murdered.
    3) We will stop at nothing short of total victory. As long as any threat against us remains, we are not yet victorious. We will eliminate any and all threats you pose against us.
    4) When we're done, we'll help rebuild your countries as democracies. No more dictators for you. You will elect freely those whom you wish to govern you. But remember, if we don't like how the election is done, we shall be back again to make it right.
    Those were the rules, in short form. And guess what? Japan and Germany haven't been a threat to us since that time.
    In the current war, let me put it in "local" terms — "If California were making war against the rest of the United States" — but apply the "rules" of World War II. (Iraq and California are about the same size).
    For the purposes of this analogy, the states of Nevada (Iran) and Oregon (Syria) are officially neutral but in fact aiding the People's Republic of California. The president of California has proclaimed that anyone not born in California shall be relocated to camps being built near Victorville. Anyone not in compliance with this order will be shot.
    Training camps are being established in Nevada and Oregon to supply personnel who will attack the United States because they still have open borders. And sneak attacks do happen. Bombs go off in any number of American cities as California formally declares independence and war upon the United States.
    What happens next? First, we try to negotiate with California. They don't listen, instead sending in more bombs in cars and trucks. The United States decides to attack and take back California, using the rules of World War II.
    A massive bombing campaign starts, destroying the transportation systems. All freeways and bridges are destroyed, as are all railroad tunnels and yards. Refineries are destroyed, followed by attacks on factories. Finally, since the rebels still won't comply with the demands of the United States, wholesale bombing of cities begins — San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Clarita and all places north. Sacramento takes some of the worst damage, since it is the seat of the rebel government.
    The United States isn't using guided bombs. These are massive flights of B-52s dropping World War II-style bombs over large areas. Destruction is nearly complete. Incidentally, Nevada and Oregon agree to let the United States clear out the training camps and use bases in those states to prepare for the invasion when they see what has happened to California.
    Of course the invasion is a success. And a new government is installed by free elections. California never again wants to rebel.
    Now we'll look at how we would fight such a war using the rules we have in Iraq today.
    We would have a "shocking" but not terribly "awful" bombing campaign, followed by an invasion with half the number of troops necessary because our secretary of defense forced the plan through the military.
    We can't use Oregon or Nevada as staging areas, because they are remaining officially neutral (but still supplying help to California). We can use only Arizona and flights from Hawaii.
    Once the invasion was complete, there are pockets of resistance. Let's say one place is the SCV. Every time we cross over the passes into the SCV, we are greeted with small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs.
    The local population hugs us with knives at our backs. It looks like a very long and costly war — oh, and CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox have reporters in California, saying our troops are mistreating the Californians.
    At the height of problems in the California war and with growing dissatisfaction about it in the other 47 states, Congress takes a recess — if we elected adults, they wouldn't have to take recess — and our president goes on a five-week vacation.
    Honest, I didn't make this up. I just read my history books and the current newspaper headlines. I sure wish George Bush would do the same — if he can read.

    Darryl Manzer lived in the Santa Clarita Valley oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s as a teenager. He now lives in Virginia.

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