Pick Your Armageddon

OK, I’m feeling particularly bloody-minded today, so I want to know the best way to bring a mighty democracy to its knees.

Let’s say you’re a hateful misanthropic messianic millennialist son-of-a-bitch with several billion dollars and a desire to see this decadent and weak nation called America burn to the waterline, the better to rise purified out of her own ashes under some sort of fundamentalist/authoritarian/warrior-class rule.

You have devised several schemes for Operation National Beatdown, all of which your minions in high places assure you have a reasonably good chance of achieving success - or at least widespread bloodshed, privation and suffering (which you sometimes think would be all the country needs to see the error of its ways).

The question is: which do you choose, and why?
a) Coordinated terrorist attacks
b) Violent coup d’état
c) Engineered economic collapse
d) Targeted nuclear/biological/chemical incidents
e) Disablement of information networks
…or some combination of the above?
…or none?

d is a, you know. And if you use nukes, probably e too. And c. And maybe b, if you step in and take charge of the rubble.

And this hateful misanthropic messianic millennialist son-of-a-bitch would roll out the nukes. There’s no kill like overkill.

I think it depends on what you want to have left over when you’re done.

Smoking uninhabitable rubble? Roll out the nukes.

However, if you want to be the proverbial man on a white horse, to ride in and rescue the nation (from the trouble that you yourself caused), then you need to cause widespread fear and distrust among the citizens, so that they will voluntarily curtail their civil liberties for the sake of a putative safety. The main tactic should be random, destructive and scary terror attacks. Scapegoating and irrational targeting of certain groups and individuals will help create this atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia, and then will be fed by the attacks themselves.

Then you need to establish a “grass-roots” movement dedicated to traditional values and to purifying the nation. Questionable fringe-y value systems should be ridiculed and straw-manned to death. You don’t have to make much sense, just keep pounding at the talking points until they become generally accepted as at least valid, if not completely true.

You won’t actually need your whole billions to accomplish this, just some seed money to get it started. Most of your money will be spent on planning the terror attacks. You need to make sure they can’t be traced back to any group that you actually support, and they need to be both unpredictable and recognizable for what they are. These attacks should target the things that people already consider important - food, transportation, communication, entertainment, general comfort.

About this time you (or the empty suit that you are going to control) start to make a reputation, first locally, then nationally, as a charismatic, dynamic leader who can make sense of the chaos and take the country back to its root values. You (or he) will be an effective speaker, who doesn’t actually say much of substance but who definitely stands for what is right (whatever that is).

Finally, you need some climactic event, possibly an assassination, that is timed so as to sweep you into office with powers that make martial law look like anarchy. (Okay, I stole that line, but it fits.)

How’s that?

If I wanted to kick America’s arse into gear, I’d engineer a disaster with most of its effects elsewhere.

I’ll use a meteor shower. Doing it from orbit is the only way to be sure, after all. Sure California, Washington, New York, and Baltimore get hit, but the major disasters are in India and China where there are over a billion dead.

I thought the point wasn’t to kick America’s arse into gear - it was just to kick America’s arse.

Though I do like the idea of Death From Orbit. A rock the size of the one in the movie Armageddon should do nicely.

Hey, I’m a messianic millennialist - I don’t need to survive it.

Coordinated A & C. If you can deliver a series of psychological shocks ala 9/11, while at roughly at the same crippling the economy, the two will synergize and down comes everything. If you can work up some dead terrorists that are Hispanic, then you can get some really nasty race riots going as well.

A series of rippled car bombings of elementary schools throughout Middle America should do for starters. Then attack domestic oil refineries and pipelines, while launching electronic attacks against American business. Steal as many SSNs and credit card numbers as possible and dump them on the Net. You should be able to make the housing collapse look tame.

*This poster does not advocate, condone or encourage such acts. The above is only an exercise.

Most terrorism is essentially violent street theater; if you actually wanted to destroy the US, there have been any number of studies of America’s infrastructure pointing out just what a group of sufficiently knowledgeable saboteurs could do.

I’d go for finding a way to trigger an economic meltdown. If it’s bad enough you could make most people into modern day serfs while their betters sip wine behind gated communities with private security forces (possibly culled up from the peasants themselves). This could also introduce civil wars as states bicker over water and resources since the federal government would be a withered husk and there wouldn’t be such things as bailouts or help of any sort because, well, everyone is broke. And there’d be no money for new projects or fixing infrastructure, or education, or any of that fancy Western civilization thang.

Nukes and terrorist attacks just don’t change society in total enough for me. Even if you have guys tapped to take power and exploit the fear there’s only so much you can really get away with. With economic castrophe life as we know it changes everywhere and things can develop into outright barbarism pretty fast. So I’d try to make American look like a banana republic or bottom dwelling third world country that way.

Find a way to disable all cell/smart phones. Bonus points for taking down teh internets.
Instant chaos and probably the end of civilization here in America.

I’ll just sit back and let the economic collapse happen.

It’s been done.


Pretty much would end civilization world wide. We’d probably go back to the joys of hunting and gathering…
What I think is that it will be a series of things that will finally bring the US down. Economic strain, more entitlements and higher and higher taxes, maybe some environmental disasters (climate change related seemingly), and then general decline until we look like the British Empire…after the empire bit.

If we have really bad luck then something really nasty will hit when we are already majorly weakened (a major war, or major world wide economic collapse, possibly a plague of some kind), and the US will simply fragment into smaller regional powers squabbling over the remnants and attempting to bring back the glory days.

Or, maybe all our technology will suddenly stop working due to alien space bats…


Targeted biological all the way. Wipe out 99% of the population so we can have a decent reset and do-over (I’m aiming for the entire global population, though - you can’t get a decent reset with only US Americans wiped out).

Ha haaaaaa…I was hoping Richard Mellon Scaife would turn up sooner or later.

Outside of that, I like marshmallow’s idea best, followed shortly by silenus’. The effects would be nasty, brutish, and long.


I get that the question is a fantasy one, its just that I read a lot of fiction that has the fantasy reaction to such a situation.

Its not pretty
Name any other country , no problem , Im on board.


Didn’t Bush and the Neocons already DO this? :confused: :wink:

I could probably do it by targeting five significant bridges and five significant power plants. And maybe four significant mountain passes. And, for the heck of it, wreck one ship in each of the five biggest ports. Wreck 'em in place so they can’t be repaired, and wait for the traffic results to ruin the rest. With the resulting lack of communication, the cities would start starving before anything could be done, the power grid would be offline for weeks as the feedback fried everything across about 20 states.

Really, not all that hard.

I don’t think that would work at all. Firstly there are lots of solutions to these problems that can be considered only in grave emergencies, like clearing mountain passes with tactical nuclear charges and blowing up wrecks blocking ports. Or how about nuclear subs to keep the power going?

How about if Isreal used a Nuclear weapon and in protest OPEC stopped pumping oil (or any for other reason). The US would last mere weeks without oil imports from the ME.

Alternatively a slower, subtler method of breeding ignorance into the citizenry while continually bombarding them with propaganda in favour of a Corpro-Fascist state could get you there in a couple of decades. The vehicle for this would look very much like Fox News.

Kill the power plants, kill communication. Cell phones won’t work: the towers will go down, too. Wreck the ports, no way to get oil or food off the ships. If you do it right, you can just tear the infrastructure right off the docks. Kill certain bridges, no way to get anything across. Allow for human panic. And using nukes to clear the passes won’t help in any way, shape or form.

Release some free range tribbles.

Everyone drowns in furry, purring cuteness.

The fact that many of the SDMBers here die drowning in ones screaching loudly instead is just a bonus.