Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Beating Insurgencies

Ok, it's just a guess, of course, but I'm of the opinion one of my favourite moments from a favourite film might help, certainly in Iraq.

The film in question is Silverado, one of the great westerns from a time when westerns were going through their bleakest out of season period (they aren't exactly "in" now).

The big hero, Emmett, played by Kevin Kline, dives into the hideout of some ne'r do wells who've robbed some fetching young settlers, and his cover is provided by just a couple of friends shooting frantically trying to appear like some big posse who Emmett claims are pursuing him. The aim is to distract the bad guys long enough for Emmett to sneak the money box away. They succeed.

Emmett retrieves the booty, but not before he's rumbled. Short but immortal lines:

(indicating Emmett)
Brave man.

I think there's only a couple of
guys up there and this asshole's one
of them."

It's a great moment, full of irony.

I only say this because I was inspired to think about it by this very realistic, if overly pessimistic, Slate article from Robert Kaplan on the Bush surge and his clever new general. My response is that we should remember what chaos a few assholes can create, trying to appear a big posse. And be clear who the good guys are on this occasion.

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