Friday, May 04, 2007

A Thinly Veiled Allegory

Brian

There are five Iraqis in a boat in the middle of the ocean. Right in the middle of their boat is a huge spike with barbs all around it and razor edges. The Iraqis don't like it being there, but they don't dare remove it because getting near it is very dangerous and, besides, it is kind of holding the boat together.

Forty Americans pull up alongside in a much bigger, better equipped boat, and they see the spike and the predicament the Iraqis are in. Partly because they think the spike is dangerous to the Iraqis, and partly on the theory that it could be dangerous to other boats, they decide they must remove the spike. Five Americans jump in and swiftly knock out the spike, because despite it being dangerous, they have excellent spike-removal tools.

The Iraqis are partly happy, because now their dangerous spike is gone, and partly worried, because now there is a hole in the bottom of their boat and they are taking on water. The Americans say, "Okay, this water is a new challenge we weren't necessarily expecting, but we have pretty good buckets for bailing out the water." So a few of the Americans get out of the Iraqi boat, and a few more with buckets get in, and the Americans start bailing out the boat. These Americans are trying to teach the Iraqis how to bail out the boat too, but they aren't sure the Iraqis can handle it by themselves. And the problem is, while the Americans have excellent spike-removal tools and decent water-bailing tools, they don't have any hole-repairing tools.

So the Iraqis are trying to learn how to bail and are also trying to work on repairing the boat, but they don't really have any tools whatsoever, so repairing the boat isn't going so well. Every so often a few Americans come off and a few more come on, but by now almost all the Americans have been on the Iraqi boat longer than they would have liked. There is some dispute as to how well the Americans are doing at bailing out the boat, but if the Americans stop bailing, the boat is going to sink, and if the Americans are on it, they will sink with it. And the Americans are divided: half say we need to get out of this sinking boat, and the other half say we have to keep bailing because it would be disastrous if the boat sank. But the problem isn't the water, it's the hole in the boat, and no one knows how to repair it.

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Image credits: The Gulf Stream, Winslow Homer, American, 1899.

24 Comments:

Blogger beajerry said...

Perhaps the Iraqis do know how to fix the hole but the Americans keep giving them the wrong tools.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, your little story leaves out the fact that some Iraqis are chaoticly murdering the Americans and each other in an attempt to sink the boat, then raise it from the bottom of the ocean as the all new Love Boat starring Osama Bin Laden as Capt. Steubing. Also, I think maybe boats with spikes are better off left alone and sunk from afar. by throwing, uh, lobsters at it (you know, to keep with the analogy).

10:35 AM  
Anonymous tweez said...

So predominantly Shiite Iraq wants a religious Sunni fanatic to run the country?

Anonymous, you sir are a dumbass.

Or a good little Republican stooge.

Most likely both.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's some news!

10:23 PM  
Blogger Mel Phistopheles said...

The solution is obvious. Just keep putting more American soldiers onto the sinking boat. Eventually their dead bodies will plug the hole.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous eric said...

Well written! :)

3:03 PM  
Blogger borgasmic said...

Or you could break the boat into several pieces, dividing the Iraqi's and sending them on their merry way. No more hole!

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of you have truly missed the obvious answer. Wait until one of the Iraqis commits a crime against Allah. Then let the others behead him, and then stick his head in the hole to plug it up.

9:07 AM  
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Blogger Daniel said...

I get what this is an allegory for! It's the Iraq war!

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