Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The mess "we" made in Iraq (also Libya, Syria, and Iran)

Re: the mess "we" made in Iraq (also Libya, Syria, and Iran)

“...if we help create a mess, we also have to clean it up.”


This is a commonly held misconception, one that I've been waiting for an opportunity to correct,...to extinguish actually. So if you would, help me to spread this, my corrective meme, far and wide because its target, the above malicious piece of illogic, like a deeply embedded tick, needs to be cut out and the wound cleaned and cauterized.

This notion, that you have to “clean up the mess” -- the mess you made -- came to prominence with Colin Powell's Pottery Barn rule, where you will no doubt recall it took the form “If you break it you own it”. (What hogwash!, but I'll get to that directly.) look closely though, look for the Imperial label, some unwarranted baggage, rhetorical scar, an imperial “tic”, the remnant of a bygone age of Imperial presumption that cannot be shed and so is carried along like a carelessly trundled corpse trailing an errant limb. That convenient appendage, the “Responsibility”, ...the duty, the burden, the weight of “a debt of honor”, lies heavy upon the shoulders of he who “breaks it”.  The debt of personal responsibility, of unavoidable personal responsibility.  Oh! the unrelinquishable, unshakable, unshirkable weight of personal responsibility,... “I cannot tell a lie. I cut down the cherry tree.”  “I broke it, I just have to clean up the mess.”  I just have to.

I don’t think so.  

Let's try it again. This time, let's call it “Jeff's Pottery Barn Rule”.  Here’s how it goes:


“If you break it, the first thing you have to do is pay the damages, the next thing is you get the h*** out of the store and you don’t come back.”

The “compulsory” obligation to "clean up your mess", is akin to the notion that “if you break it you own it”, and brings with it certain consequences -- benefits might be a better word -- somewhat hidden. Perhaps no one noticed,...Oh! sweet inattention -- you have acquired the privileges of ownership, oh sweet victory! The responsibilities of ownership of course, as well, but what's that? Anyway, the problem part of “you broke it” now seems, courtesy of the clean up "obligation", to have gone away somewhere. Well then, moving right along, could there be an upside?   Hmmm, let’s see. You own it now That's pleasant. The glass is half full. Sow's ear becomes silk purse, isn't magic wonderful!

I don't think so. If you break it you pay for the damages, and get the hell out.  Over here at the counter, empty your wallet. Now get the hell out.

You see my point?

You made the mess by being incompetent, arrogant, careless, criminal, and indifferent to the welfare of others.  And precisely because your specialty is breaking things, and not cleaning things up, it's best that you leave the cleaning up of your many messes to people who actually know how to clean things up.  People that are actually good at it.  On the upside, at least you are rich enough so that when you go around breaking things you can dig down and pony up the cash to pay for the damages.

So pay your bill,... now,... and don’t come back.  And you know what?... Your driver's license is revoked as well. You’re just too dangerous.

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