Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Brits and Sinbad's Iraq

Okay, now that we have that out of the way...

BBC is reporting that P.M. Blair will make an announcement today putting forth a timetable for British troop withdrawal.

Reason! Logic! Rationale!

Wednesday's expected statement comes after Mr Blair told the BBC's Sunday AM that the operation to allow Iraqis to take the lead in frontline security in Basra - Operation Sinbad - had been "completed" and "successful".

Okay, not so much. But at least less people will die. Completed and successful how?

This was not even going to be a topic today except for one part that made me perk up out of my AM coma during my morning NPR and say WTF Brits?

Operation Sinbad.

One year I spent a decade teaching English to high school kids in the South . During that time, we read the tales of Sinbad the Sailor. The British military has obviously not.

The setup for futility, 1001 Nights: Queen Scheherazade gets married to a Henry VIII on crack, King Shahryar, who kills his wives after one night with them in order to get a little taste of everything. But Queen Scheherazade is quite clever and tells her husband a tale every night that ends in a cliffhanger, not to reveal the ending until the next night (You may recall the Bugs Bunny version). She does this for almost 3 years.

Sinbad the Sailor is no better a representation for Iraq. He is from modern day Iraq, but that's where it ends. After squandering his wealth, Sinbad goes off to adventure, makes foolish decisions, and people die. After the first adventure, he gets bored with wealth, goes on another trip, makes foolish decisions, people die. He does this five more times. He never learns that when he travels that the ocean is out to get him and people are going to die.

I'm not saying that this is not an accurate representation of the war in Iraq: futility, poor decisions, death. But Sinbad is not a character after which one would name a war effort. It is nothing to emulate or strive for. Might as well be Operation Quixote or Operation Fallstaff.

How about Operation Beowulf? That's English Lit roots and quality hero shit.

But I'm nitpicking. My congrats to Britain for having much, much more sense than us in Iraq. Good show!

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