Tag Archives: recklessness

Act Recklessly to Win

Seuss on Japan,” by Curzon, Coming Anarchy, 30 July 2005, http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/07/30/seuss-on-japan/.

Dark Diary,” by Alan Dowd, The American Enterprise, September 2005, http://www.taemag.com/issues/articleID.18658/article_detail.asp.

In anticipation of the 4-year mark of 9/11, the AEI‘s magazine gives a chronology of what might have been

January 27-February 12, 2003
Explosions rocked the government district in Amman, and rescue workers succumbed to caustic fumes and blistering skin as Jordan reeled from the deadliest terror attacks worldwide since September 2001. Jordanian sources reported that a cloud of poison enveloped a wide swath of the capital after ten buses exploded throughout the city. At least 4,100 people were killed, with thousands more treated in hospitals and makeshift decontamination facilities outside Amman. Officials estimate between 100 and 200 Americans among the dead. According to the White House, the poison cloud was sulfuric acid.

A video recording by a man identifying himself as Musab al-Zarqawi warned that more attacks would follow if Jordan continued to cooperate with the United States. Washington confirmed that Zarqawi is a Jordanian with ties to both al-Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence.

On the same morning that a U.S. medical relief plane was downed over Amman, the New York Times published excerpts from a CIA memo warning about the possibility of Baghdad transferring material to Zarqawi for use against U.S. interests. But according to CIA director George Tenet, “the intelligence was too murky…we just couldn’t connect all the dots.”

King Abdullah was not harmed by Zarqawi’s attack, but his government was toppled. A committee of clerics sympathetic to bin Laden emerged to govern the once-moderate Arab nation. “This is a great step toward our new caliphate,” an aide to bin Laden announced.

May 1-5, 2004

Stung into action by the dirty-bomb attack in Chicago, the lame duck Bush administration vowed to begin “an all-out war on terror.” A flurry of activity at military bases all across the nation underscored the seriousness of U.S. intentions. But the buildup came to a sudden halt after two soldiers were killed and 15 injured when an attacker lobbed grenades into a barracks at the headquarters of the 101st Airborne in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. News outlets initially reported that the attack came from a breach of the base’s heavily guarded perimeter, but Army spokesmen later confirmed that the attacks came from inside the sprawling facility. Sergeant Hasan Akbar was detained after the attack, which left the nation paralyzed with fear.

Any hopes of the American people overcoming that paralysis were dashed when bin Laden issued a stunning double-edged threat: “Be warned,” he began, “our martyrs have infiltrated your military. If you attack our brethren, we will carry out more martyrdom missions against your army. If your stooges in Europe attack, we will strike them. And if the Zionists attack, we will rain missiles on their cities. America lacks the will to stand up to our martyrs.”

Checkmated by what he called “an axis of evil,” a humiliated Bush ordered U.S. forces to stand down.

I immediately though of Chirol‘s and Duck of Minerva‘s Dr. Seuss series, and in particular a Seuss strip posted by Curzon


It can so easily be flipped to


While sometimes wise, delay can be a bad problem much, much worse. When time is against you — when the correlation of forces is inexorably sliding from bad to worse — intervention is needed. In the new version of the comic, Japan let her relationship with the United States get so badly that by December 1941 the only way to not capitulate to American demans was war. By wishing the problem would go away, by hoping that the bath water would somehow cease warming, the Empire guaranteed the water would be scolding hot. Heated by a nuclear furnace.

When the “go slow” lobby cried for a Ramadan truce in the Afghan War, when the “go slow” lobby wanted “more time for diplomacy to work” before the Iraq War, when the “go slow” lobby wanted to delay the Iraqi Elections, these dove Leftists were making the same mistake as the hawk Rightists of pre-War Nihon. They did not realize that time was on the Enemy’s side. In this new war on terrorism, despotates are a swamp that terrorism thrives breeds in. Tyranny is like a flame heating a bath. The longer the flame is there, the worse the bath gets. Wait long enough, and the bath will kill you.

And when that “bath” is the war against terrorism, then the only solution will be to never get it — to capitulate to the terrorist’s demands, because you have waited too long.

To change the cartoon once more:


Then what is the solution? When you are cornered, what should you do? How should you approach the bath? What was the right path after 9/11?

First, tactically embrace defeat. If you find yourself in that situation, it is because you have already waited too long. Give into despair that you cannot wait any longer.

Then, rearrange your mind. Embrace the task before you. Want to do it.

Last, realize that caution is your enemy. If you had not waited so long, you could take a slow-and-steady approach. But you have already waited too long, and time is on your enemy’s side. And Mao said, “Just act recklessly and it will be all right.”

Sometimes, if you don’t act recklessly you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.

Or the rest of your civilization’s existence.