David Hines
What Pyrrhus said
By David Hines
July 1, 2011

The king of Epirus was not one to allow short-term exuberance to overcome consideration of long-term cost. After the battle of Asculum, Pyrrhus discounted congratulations on his victory. One more such victory, he said, and his nation would be ruined!

Our leaders have an entirely different view from Pyrrhus's. Having achieved their long-sought victory over Osama bin Laden at great expense, they intend to continue a very expensive imperial campaign. "We don't need the cartoon character on the cereal box any longer," they say. "The product will sell just as well with generic packaging."

And maybe they're right. Americans love coercive solutions, whether it's a Pax Americana; a "war on drugs"; a "war on poverty"; forced medical insurance; a mandatory retirement plan; illegal immigration; etc. ad infinitum. If somebody says that placing more constraints on liberty and spending a trillion bucks we don't have will solve some problem, a lot of people will enthusiastically support the fantasy. And they claim that other people are the violent ones!

The economy is in the toilet; jobs are scarce; the national debt is through the roof; gas prices are skyrocketing; and people are happy because some guy was killed in Pakistan and his body dumped in the ocean.

Not to shed any tears, but some questions come to mind. Did the guy do any shooting at Americans? No evidence has been shown that he did. Did he order guys to fly into skyscrapers? Though he cheered the act, he denied any involvement, and no real evidence has been put forth that he did. Will he be punished for any alleged actions? No, he went out too quickly for that. A rather merciful end.

Was it even the guy? Only the fishes know for sure. Muslims surely don't; they have only the word of a government they deem the great Shaitan. Elvis may have left the building, but some will believe that he's around somewhere. Perhaps by the time this writing sees print, the identity issue will have been adequately addressed. Perhaps not. Maybe it will be consigned to that limbo wherein reside WMDs and Constitutional justifications for legislation.

But there's a lot of joy going around. People losing their homes and jobs are celebrating the death of a guy who was content for years to live in caves and mud huts — though the last few years may have been spent in a compound with dialysis supplies possibly provided by our subsidized allies in the Pakistani government. Over a trillion dollars was spent on account of this poster boy. Money Americans could have used to pay for their homes was instead taken in taxes to shoot up Osama's and the homes of others who may or may not have agreed with bin Laden's politics.

Osama said forthrightly that his goal was to get the US to spend itself into bankruptcy — the bane of every empire. Our leaders fell for his Rope-a-Dope strategy. He's no longer in the ring, but they're still falling for it.

Does a guy's dying with a ventilated skull in Pakistan solve any of our pressing national problems? If so, I don't see it. Neither would Pyrrhus. But if Osama is with 72 virgins, he's surely smiling. Our profligate hawks have accommodated him.

© David Hines


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David Hines

Note: David Hines passed away on April 1, 2017.

Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician... (more)


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