Friday, February 01, 2008

Watching the Tide

Michael Corleone: I saw a strange thing today. Some rebels were being arrested. One of them pulled the pin on a grenade. He took himself and the captain of the command with him. Now, soldiers are paid to fight; the rebels aren't.

Hyman Roth: What does that tell you?

Michael Corleone: It means they could win.

- Godfather, Part II
It's interesting how water or any other liquid will flow back and forth in response to some external force imparting energy to it. Back in the Never-Never of the late 70s and early 80s some people even had small wave machines in their homes or offices. These machines would rock back and forth, causing ripples and waves in the liquids encased therein (it was, I suppose, a step up from Lava Lamps).
Now, what might this little walk down memory lane have to do with the rather inexact cited lines from The Godfather, Part II?
Not much, until you pair it up with this:
Dozens Killed in Suicide Bomb Attacks in Baghdad
Within the span of 10 minutes, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in crowded Baghdad markets on Friday, killing dozens of people in the deadliest day in the Iraqi capital in months, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.
Someone over here suggested that the two female bombers were somehow forced or duped into carrying their suicide vests into the marketplaces that got whacked. I disagree; women are every bit as capable of performing violent acts as any male, and with greater effectiveness because a lot of people don't see a woman as a possible threat. That's a cultural thing, by the way, and it holds in this country just as it does over there (who recalls Aileen Wuornos? No one expected a female serial killer).
How does this horrific act tie into two fictional characters talking about the Cuban Revolution? Well, I'll tell you, and I'll also tie it into the word "surge" as indicative of a liquid's action.
Mao famously opined that the revolutionary swims among the people as fish swim in the sea; when the "surge" came, all the insurgents had to do was melt away. Sure, we got the stragglers, the slow and stupid and those who chose to fight rear-guard actions; but once we turned our gaze elsewhere they came back.
Just as water will flow back into the void left after you sweep your hand through a kiddie pool.
Further, these insurgents are fighting for what they see as a Cause; if people are fighting for a Cause there is no way you can stop them. Even if you shoot them, chances are they're booby-trapped so after they're dead they can still take one of our troops with them.
We surged, leaving a void in our wake to mark our passing; and as the water flowed in behind us, so did the fish.
So we will be chasing all over Iraq from now until whenever, and like King Canute we'll be trying to command the tide to stop.
Ain't happening.


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