The Apocalyptic Whistle
By Bashir Goth
Washington Post/Postglobal--Ruth Shanor, an octogenarian American friend of mine who observes the world from her little home in Cowpens, South Carolina, and reads my Postglobal pieces, wrote to me after learning about the release of the Baker-Hamilton report on Iraq:
"Dear Bashir, I have a whistling tea kettle. When I want a cup of tea I put the kettle on the back burner of the stove. I continue with other chores in the kitchen. Usually I completely forget that the temperature is rising in the tea kettle and the water is on the verge of breaking into a full boil. When the silence is finally blasted by an ear-splitting, shrill whistle, it scares me to death. There is no way to ignore the alarm. A call to action! Looks like wiser heads in America are finally screaming that the kettle is about to explode. Your part of the world keeps throwing sticks on the fire also, doesn't it? When will we have that cup of tea?"
An apt analysis indeed. But instead of giving us the recipe for preparing the tea, the Baker-Hamilton report advises the Bush Administration to flee the explosion. The recommendation of engaging Iran and Syria to help solve the Iraqi debacle seems a pragmatic, long-overdue measure. However, looking at the overall defeatist tone of the report, one may conclude that America now turns to Iran and Syria to serve as a lifeboat for the Bush administration. It will then pass along the ticking bomb to Iran and Syria, who it now accuses of fueling the fire. It is their turn to burn.
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