Friday, June 04, 2004

getting metaphorical, once more

Let's talk about the war says British Spin and continues thusly:

You have a known murderer, out from prison on license, who is holding hostages in a house. The police have surrounded the house, there are reports that the murderer has a gun. The police ask repeatedly for him to surrender either the gun or himself. He refuses. The police storm the house and take him prisoner. It turns out that he's was holding a crude replica. Are the police to be condemned as reckless?

If the cops knew through third parties - ie the UN - that the murderer had no gun and went ahead anyway, killing or causing the deaths of a number of the hostages, then they certainly were.

The fun of arguing through metaphors is that it lets you control the terms of debate. Here's how I'd do it.

The Corleones and the Five Families are discussing the fate of Lucca Brazzi, a one-time prized employee who has fallen into disfavour through showing signs of developing a mind of his own. The Corleones want him whacked as a lesson to others. The Five Families say he's no threat to anyone and whacking him will cause more trouble than it's worth. The Corleones go ahead anyway, but struggle to retain control of Brazzi's old fiefdom - so much so that the limits of their power become embarrassingly clear. The five families shrug, sigh and cross their fingers, hoping a Corleone they can do business with will emerge as head of the family