Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Examining Metaphors

Victor Davis Hanson takes apart some flawed metaphors employed by the MSM when covering the war.

The article brings to mind a bumper sticker I've seen. The sticker says "We are creating enemies faster than we can kill them." Maybe I'm dull, but doesn't that just mean we need to kill them faster?


Military pros like this one. We supposedly broke the thermometer of Iraq during the invasion. Thus we are now faced with droplets of leaky mercury that split apart as quickly as we try to corral them — in an endless and futile exercise of trying to capture what cannot even be grasped. Thus, Fallujah is subdued, only to see Mosul erupt in some perpetual succession of violence, the terrorists nearly elemental in their uncanny ability to resist being collected and disposed of.

Two things are wrong with this smug metaphor. First, once mercury is out of its container, its original utility vanishes. One cannot take one's temperature with mercury beads that have scattered all over the floor — anymore than terrorist pockets can reform into some central command to recreate Saddam's reign of terror. The likes of Zarqawi really do have computers, written orders, ATM cards, safe houses, and weapons depots; they don't float on carpets above the sands of Iraq. Thus, the cleansing of Fallujah was a terrible setback for them all.

Second, scattered mercury bits soon become so small that they literally separate into oblivion and are forgotten about. So too with the terrorists: Crush their nests in Fallujah, shut down the borders, raid the mosques, warn Syria and Iran of a reckoning to come for their export of terrorism, hit outbreaks hard elsewhere, and by the January elections once-emboldened Wahhabi and Baathist killers will reluctantly join a Kurdish and Shiite government rather than be crushed between the hammer of Iraqi democratic militias and American air and ground power.

For all the talks of virgins, paradise, and beautiful suicides, most of those who survived American firepower in Fallujah chose to run, hide, or be captured. After all, suicide is for young zealots, not pudgy men to whom life has become altogether too dear with its money, fame, and women in the here and now. In short, far from "there is no military solution," the truth in Iraq is rather that there is no political solution without a military victory and humiliation of the terrorists.

No comments: