Professors Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Walt of Harvard are about to release a full-length book following up on their paper implicating the Israeli Lobby in ginning up the war on Iraq. I went to a local bookstore, hoping to catch sight of it. I discovered, however, that the book will not appear until September. When the paper appeared in the London Review of Books, having been been censored by the US media, the “left” addressed the M&W thesis in the form of a question, “Can the tail wag the dog”? This of course is a question posed in a way to answer itself, and hence no question at all.
Imagine my surprise when, while browsing about the book store, I happened on an unusual volume entitled “Aesop 21: Fables for the 21st Century.” Fable #911 caught my eye because it was entitled, of all things, “Can the tail wag the dog”? But I could not figure it out, because there was no tail much less a dog in the fable. The story went like this:
The giant nuclear aircraft carrier had closed down its all-seeing bridge and handed control over to the tugboats. As the sun set, there was one lone tug pushing the behemoth, and it was busy pushing and pushing, pushing away in one direction. Always in the same direction, the little David moving the stupendous Goliath did not let up.
Most hands were below deck waiting impatiently to go ashore.
Only two lone sailors watched from the aircraft landing deck on high, far above the water as the tug moved the steel giant about. Suddenly the two lowly sailors realized that the tug was pushing the steel monster, not into the intended, welcoming channel, but ominously and relentlessly toward the shore.
The two sailors were scared out of their wits. One said to the other, “Something is amiss,” and the other replied, “Yes, something is awry.” On the shore were scores of giant petroleum storage tanks. The amiss sailor looked at the awry sailor and they both ran for the bridge and the commanding officer. There he was sitting comfortably at his desk sharing a drink with the second in command.
Sailor Amiss, breathless from the run, cried out, “Something is amiss. Our great carrier is being pushed aground by the tug.” The second officer, Lt. O’Witz calmly eyeing Sailor Amiss, turned to the befuddled commander, Captain MoreRon, and said in a very pontificating and self-assured tone, “Sir, Sailor Amiss is an alarmist. We are on course.” Commander MoreRon, who had changed his last name out of his admiration for Ronald Reagan whom he sought to emulate, put down his J&B. Somewhat quizzically, he addressed Lt. O’Witz by his first name, Wolfhard, “Wolf, I sensed that we were going the wrong way. Are you sure we should not take a look outside”? Lt. O’Witz retorted, “Sir, we are right on track. And I should warn you that this intruding sailor is well known to me. He is an anti-tugite (rhymes with “slug fight”) and has a deep paranoia when it comes to the tugs.” Commander MoreRon was quite incensed and turned to Sailor Amiss with one eye half closed in indignation. With a slight slur that came of one too many J&B’s, he proclaimed: “Sailor Amiss, you have broken into my command quarters and now you are spouting anti-tugite nonsense. If you do not desist, I will have you court-martialed for anti-tugite bigotry.” “Quite right, sir,” echoed Lt. O’Witz beaming heartily.
But the other watchful sailor, Sailor Awry, chimed in. “Commander MoreRon, Sailor Amiss is right. I saw it too. We have only a few minutes to turn on the engines and save our vessel from coming to grief by going aground. And I am no anti-tugite. In fact I was a tug captain for many years before joining the Navy.” “Sir,” Lt. O’Witz interrupted, “Pay him no heed. We have seen his type before, and they are the worst. They are self-hating, no, self-loathing tugites. They are beyond reason in their self-hatred.” Commander MoreRon looked at the second in command and then with his left eye squinting at the two sailors, he shouted, “Enough of your bigotry. Clap them both in the brig, Lieutenant O’Witz.”
But his command was interrupted by a great rumble as the carrier trembled beneath them. The carrier had been run aground by the tug. The tug for its part had pulled free and was sailing off. Then the carrier began to roll on its side. Some fires broke out, and it toppled onto the great oil tanks ashore. Flames roared to the skies, and explosions began to engulf the carrier, the shore and the nearby city. But unbeknownst to the tug crew, the carrier was bristling with nuclear weapons. As the temperature rose, the first of these exploded and then another and another until the harbor, city and region were engulfed in radioactive fire and death.
The superb warning systems of the US government detected nuclear explosions which were interpreted as a nuclear attack on a US city. Quickly, dutiful officers launched nuclear missiles from deep underground. Nuclear bombers, in every direction, targeted every suspect nation. And those nations responded. Soon the globe was on fire and nuclear winter followed cold on the heels of the fire. The world ended first by fire and then by ice.
Moral: The tail can easily wag the dog — but only if there is a dog to begin with.
Or, the only thing worse than a Holocaust is a Nuclear Holocaust.