Middle East: the opinion page versus the news page …

Richard Lugar, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, took to the pages of the Washington Post today to urge us to get our damned sports metaphors straight when it comes to our adventures in the Middle East …

We need to recast the geo-strategic reference points of our Iraq policy. Some commentators have compared the Bush plan to a "Hail Mary" pass in football -- a desperate heave deep down the field by a losing team at the end of the game. Actually, a far better analogy for the Bush plan is a draw play on third down with 20 yards to go in the first quarter. The play does have a chance of working if everything goes perfectly, but it is more likely to gain a few yards and set up a punt on the next down, after which the game can be continued under more favorable circumstances.
Ooh, I'll try! Iraq is like a game in which we dominated on the very first possession and then lost control of the ball the rest of the way. We didn't give up any touchdowns, but the other guys scored like a dozen field goals. Now the game is over, we lost, but there are a few guys who've taken one hit to the head too many still running aimlessly around the field in the pathetic belief that they can pull out the win -- never mind that the lights have been turned off, the crowds have gone home and the stadium crews are cleaning up the gum stuck under the bleachers.

Or something.

Anyway, it's pretty strange to pass off a four year-old conflict that just keeps getting worse and worse as being "in the first quarter."

But there's a point to all this …

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