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December 21, 2003 - Metaphor of the Month: Hornets

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A simple analogy that raises the question... Now what?

Reasons to go see the new Christmas movie Bad Santa.


David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation in Tom Paine - Common Sense...

Feeling The Sting - Thursday, December 11, 2003

Here's his analogy:


There's a hornet's nest out back. You and your buddy talk about what to do about it.  He says, "I'm going to hit it with a stick."  You say, "No, don't do that.  Let's think about another way to deal with the problem."

He says, "I'm going to hit it with a stick."  You plead, "Don't do this. Maybe we can smoke them out.  Ask others what to do.  Find some other solution."

He says, "I'm going to hit it with a stick."  You reply, "No, really, let's - "  He then hits the nest with a stick.  Hornets go flying everywhere.  They sting whomever they can find.  As chaos ensues, your friend looks at you and says, "Hey, don't tell me that it was wrong to hit it with a stick.  That would be a waste of time.  Tell me what's your solution for dealing with the problem now."

Such a scenario is an imperfect analogy for the position war critics find themselves in these days.  (Imperfect because a hornet's nest might pose a more immediate threat to the characters in this tale than Saddam Hussein, despite all his brutality, posed to the United States.)

In recent weeks, defenders of the war have dismissed criticism of the war as counterproductive at this point in time and have tried to turn the tables on the critics by demanding they provide a roadmap for victory and extrication. It's an old ruse: don't be so negative, give us solutions.  But there is no reason why I-told-you-so critics should be expected to pull George W. Bush's bacon from the fire. In fact, there may be no way out.
It's not much fun to be gloomy about a war that Bush now says was fought to bring democracy to the repressed people of Iraq.  (Well, he can't keep saying he went in to find weapons of mass destruction.)  Yet Bush is stuck in a hole of his own digging.  Pulling out of Iraq and leaving the Iraqis to their own devices - and to the mercy of the murderous Ba'athist thugs - would be an immoral act.  But staying in Iraq as occupiers seems at this moment a problematic position as well.


I spoke to my glum friend in his law offices on Wall Street.  He says we're fucked.  But everyone is gloomy around this time of year - Christmas/Hanukah - what with all the endless good cheer in the air everyone feels, everyone but you.

My friend keeps telling me I ought go see Bad Santa - the new film with Billie Bob Thornton as a dissolute, despairing, nasty anti-Santa. Perhaps I will.

As for David Corn and his observations?  You can click on the link and get details.  He ends with this:


How can one act reasonably or rationally in a situation borne of delusion?  Some things broken cannot be repaired.  Yes, moaning will not make things better (unless, of course, it leads to Bush's replacement).  And non-delusional minds ought to try to find a path out of this mess.  But it never should be forgotten that Bush waged an elective war based on a phony rationale, that he did not prepare for the easy-to-foresee aftermath, that he rushed in with his stick, and that the unleashed hornets are his fault.


So?  Such things "never should be forgotten" and Bush should not be reelected?  Perhaps that will come to be - but I doubt that.

But what about now and our guys in Iraq?  What next?

So...  Merry Christmas.  Happy Hanukah.