Friday, September 07, 2007


Imagine that you are a prosperous citizen living in a well-furnished home, with an endearing family and a secure source of income. There's just one tiny hitch in your close to perfect life- a wasp nest that's about fifty meters from your home in a tree. You don't like the wasps (and you presume, neither do they want to be your friend). You would rather have them be your friend, die, or at the optimum, mind their own business.

But most importantly, you don't want them attacking you. You don't care how inherently nasty they are, what they think of you, or what the condition of their nest is. You don't care how much they fight among themselves while foraging for food. You don't even care what kind of fantasies they weave in their waspy brains about attacking you. Perhaps you may even care a little or a lot about one or more of these things. Maybe you even care about stealing some of the material from their nest for your own ends. But the most important thing, way beyond all these things, that you care about, is them attacking you. Your primary purpose is to make sure the wasps don't attack you. All other concerns are secondary.

The problem with the Bush administration and the Iraq war is that they made other concerns primary, and in the process, vastly increased the chance of the wasps attacking them. This is as unpatriotic and criminal as it can get. I find this analogy interesting even if not exactly accurate, because I believe it puts to rest all the nonsense about "preserving honor" and "patriotism" that is hurled at people like Ron Paul, who are trying to make the point that by staying there, Americans actually increase the chances of Islamic fundamentalists attacking them, which should be the primary set of actions that the US should guard against. The critics' barbed arrows are nothing more than rhetoric, but most importantly they create a straw man. Nobody including Ron Paul is saying that Americans should be fearful of the wasps. Nobody is saying that the wasps are nice entities. Not attacking the wasps is not a sign of cowardice. It is only a way of minding your own business, and making sure that your primary concern, that of defending your home from wasps, is served. But by implying that not disturbing the wasps is a sign of cowardice, the detractors (like Mike Huckabee) clearly erect a strawman. Bereaved parents buy this strawman and shove it down their throat. They don't understand. Nobody likes the wasps. But that's no reason for deliberately stirring their nest or hanging around in there.

To imply that those who don't want to stir the wasp nest either are afraid of the wasps or actually like them is a straw man travesty. I don't want the damn wasps to get into my home and that's the reason I don't stir up their nest, and any fool who is trying to rise above the dirt should realise that that cannot imply by default that I am afraid of them. Another point to note is that a few wasps are going to attack my home anyway and I want to guard against that. All I am doing by not stirring their nest is preventing the situation from escalating.

Now we can easily grasp the magnitude of how much the Bush administration has undermined the primary purpose of preventing the wasps from attacking their homes. After all this, can any accusations of criminal actions be seriously called into question?


Post a Comment

<< Home