Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Growing the Rot From Within

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. - Marcus Tullius Cicero

A continuation of my “fiction” series (see note at end).


In a quiet sidewalk cafe in The Village in New York, two men greeted each other solemnly with a nod and sat down, observing the activity around them.

“It’s almost a shame that our meetings here will soon be coming to an end”, observed the younger of the two, not taking his eyes off the street.

“Feeling sentimental?”, queried the elder.  “In our culture, history has taught us that such feelings often get in the way of success.”

The younger turned to his companion, gazing into his eyes and looking for some sign of disappointment but he saw nothing but gentle wisdom in his companion.

“This culture is a fascinating one to behold”, continued the elder gentleman. “But in the end, our primary objective will be completed as planned.”

The younger man nodded but said nothing, returning his gaze to the street as the sun sank behind the buildings.

After a brief pause, he cleared his throat and asked “So everything is in place?”

The elder lowered his voice and replied, “The greatest strength of this culture is in its belief that they are unstoppable, shored up by a strong belief in its leaders and its support systems.  Unfortunately for them, this is also their greatest weakness.  Our agents have worked hard to undermine the citizens’ faith in the credibility and sincerity of their political leaders and great cracks are appearing within the political system as a result.  In fact, we set out to undermine their political system and accidentally paralyzed it instead, an equally useful result.”

“And the other part of the plan?”, asked the younger of the two.

The elder chuckled, waved his arms at the people in the street and replied, “Look at these people.  They are a tinderbox of racial injustice that merely needs a spark.  And we will provide it for them, further paralyzing the nation in preparation for our final move.”

“And how will we accomplish this?”, queried the younger.

“It’s simple”, replied the elder.  “If we take the most racially charged areas of America, send in our agents dressed as Caucasian policemen, army personnel and the like and kill enough people coldly, brutally and without warning or provocation, we will achieve the effect we desire.  The secret is to leave enough witnesses to report the atrocities.  Insatiable rage and a demand to take justice into one’s own hands will do the rest.  A nation loaded with weapons, weighed down with widespread mental health concerns, burdened with an uncertain or frightening future, devoid of trusted leaders and with a tinderbox of racial unrest is wide open to exploitation.”

“And the best part”, he continued, “is that the political figures we have been influencing are accidentally helping to us amplify the result.  These political figures are already laying the groundwork for our master stroke and they don’t even realize it.”

The younger was silent for a moment before he commented.  “I still stand by what I said earlier. I will miss some of their traditions, including cafes like this one”, he said.

The elder laughed as he stood up and laid his hand gently but firmly on his companion’s shoulders.

“There will always be other cultures to enjoy”, he said, his eyes panning across the scene before him.

“Such potential unrealized”, he thought.  As the sun set on New York, he shrugged and thought “Oh well, that’s not my problem.  I’m a soldier, not a sociologist or a historian.”

To be continued.


© 2013 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved


This series, a departure from my usual musings,  is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks.

While this musing is just “fiction” and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)

This “fictional” musing is continued from ……

The Coming Storm – June 8, 2013

The Master of Distraction – May 15, 2013

Living on the Edge – How Close Do You Dare - March 29, 2013

Preventing A Disaster – Or Preparing To Survive One - November 29, 2012)

Divide and Conquer - August 5, 2012

Financial Crisis – March 11, 2008

There is benefit to reading those first (oldest to newest) but it is not required.

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