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Chewing Qat with a spork?

[ by Charles Cameron — a popular catch-phrase fumbled ]


TE Lawrence was an original. The “second senior official” either has a poor memory for quotations, or wishes he were an original, sad in either case.

Hat-tip to the Small Wars Journal editors, who noted the combo — they referenced John Nagl, who borrowed his book title from Lawrence, while I prefer to attribute the spoon to Lawrence directly, but no matter.

What comes next? Chewing Qat with a spork?

7 Responses to “Chewing Qat with a spork?”

  1. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Eating beef with a straw?

  2. zen Says:

    Did you ever eat jello with a garden rake?
    The inanity of the senior official’s analogy is frightening. Best case scenario is that it represents cynical bullshitting of a reporter to distract them from asking further questions. If that muddled dreck represents an honest effort at explanatory metaphor then I am reminded of E. O. Wilson who said (paraphrasing) that some concepts are baffling not because they are profound but because they are wrong

  3. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Lawrence’s metaphor works because de-centralized rebels are like soup and the top-down, centralized military effort  is quite like a knife in comparison to that soup.


    But is it also possible that no adequate metaphor exists?  I mean, to the degree that modern warfare is so messy.  Have we yet figured out what can beat the soup?  Plus, I imagine that a too-accurate metaphor would might suffer the kind of negative criticism military planners experience when they reveal their plans openly to the foe….

    And yes, I suppose eating beef with a straw is someone meaningful, to the degree that it would make you a beefeater: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beefeater_Gin  Alas, I’m metaphored-out on this one.       

  4. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Pardon my typos.  Not gin tonight, but wine….

  5. larrydunbar Says:

    I have to wonder if the official may have given away more than he/she wanted to. To take a person’s spoon away and give them fork, meant that there is a lot more going on than a powerful force that is standoff looking at a lesser force in action. 

    To take a spoon away from a person and hand them a fork to use instead means there is a close relationship (mother and infant perhaps?) that I was not aware Syria and the USA had. 

    With  this relationship, which the official perhaps suggests, gives me more cause to believe a Russian deal is more of a backroom scenario than one might normally think. In other words, it (penetration of Russian forces) is more what this administration wanted to happen at the get-go.

  6. Grurray Says:

    Good point Larry.
    Israel has attacked Syria six times since 2003 (with three happening just this year) without reprisal, and
    we attacked them in 2008
    with their permission.
    A lot of shuffling of utensils going on.

  7. larrydunbar Says:

    “A lot of shuffling of utensils going on.”

    Yes, and “utensils” probably best describes the relationship between the Russian and the US military. It looks to me like the US is using the  Russian military to form a front between Christianity and Islam.

    Which being used as a utensil probably doesn’t upset the Russian military too much. It is better to be thought of as a “utensil” than to be ignored. And, after all, it is likely the people on at least one side of the “front” are more of a shuffle of people oriented towards Russia than towards the US.  

    Of course the side of the front that Russia is working from has most of the advantage, being positioned with the sea to their backs. Air superiority is great, but Sea power is even greater. It seems like Xenophon didn’t have too much trouble “arising” from somewhere close to there, so history should not be ignored.

    On the other hand, the other side of the front could lean towards Iraq, and take back much of what they (Sunni) lost, if their resources remain intact after this civil war.

    Much of the outcome, whether positive or negative, of this civil war is going to depend on if Assad’s opposition still think of themselves as “Syrian”, or some other orientation.

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