The Widdershins

Is it an “i” or “y” in Tyre…

Posted on: December 7, 2013

Good afternoon Widdershins.  I hope everyone is safe, warm, and dry from this wintry figment of our imaginations about changing climatic conditions.  For the 2% of rent-a-scientists who don’t believe in climate change may they find a nice flag pole upon which to wag their weary tongues.

Fredster graciously allowed me to go ahead and post this piece before it got too stale since it was originally scheduled for yesterday. Thanks Fredster.

Siege of Tyre 332 BCThe year 332 B.C.  Alexander the Great is on his world tour — killing, pillaging, and enslaving anyone who might have the audacity to not yet be conquered.  Alexander and his posse roll up to Tyre.  Tyre is a coastal town with an island fortress about a kilometer off-shore.  The women and children have been sent away.  The men folk and soldiers have taken shelter on the island fortress.

Alexander must conquer because that’s what he does — it‘s just how he rolls.  Here at Tyre, he first sends out a set of envoys to see if the Tyrians might be amenable to surrender.  Nope, not interested is the answer.  Alexander wants to make sure the Tyrians know he’s called “the Great” for a reason, so he sends out another group of emissaries.  To make just as sure Alexander gets the message, the Tyrians promptly kill the envoys and pitch their lifeless bodies over the walls.  Copy that — message received.

At the time, Alexander has no navy.  He envisions building a causeway out to the island.  It’s easy at first because the water is shallow — only about two feet deep, but closer to the island the water becomes deeper.  Alexander builds two huge towers engineered with catapults and archery stations and he moves them to the end of the causeway bridge.  Alexander thinks he’s making progress.

The Tyrians promptly outfit some flat-bottomed boats with kindling, oil, and other combustibles, light it, and send it on its way to the causeway.  The lack of fire safety codes in 332 B.C. pretty much seals the fate of the soon to be burning towers.

While the bridge was a great idea, it simply didn’t work.  Alexander was forced to call upon the navies of city/states he had already conquered to finish with the island of Tyre.  You can read the complete story here.

Why did I waste three-hundred words on the Siege of Tyre?  It is pretty famous in terms of demonstrating strategic outside-the-box thinking, but it is more useful in illustrating a fool’s errand by asking the question, “You have a bunch of people by their own choice on an isolated island and outside of wanting to conquer them (because that‘s what you know), why not leave them alone to their own solitary demise?”

Tuesday, I was reminded of the lesson of Tyre after reading about the House of Representative’s pseudo-impeachment hearing and then again reminded of it after Obama’s speech on Wednesday.

President Obama has spent five years trying to find a way to charm the far-right wing dominated by the Tea Party, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and other sundry wack-a-doodles.  While not Tyre, it certainly is “Tired Island”.  He’s sent emissaries.  He’s tried capitulation.  He’s allowed them to set the debate.  He’s tried to build bridges, but the bridges have been repeatedly burned.

Much like Alexander, Obama believes in his own awesomeness.  I truly believe as “President/community organizer” he thought he could convince the far right-wing of, if not his awesomeness, the awesomeness of his logic and policies.  Obama failed to appreciate that on “Tired Island,” there are millions of emotionally motivated people living in a world where there is little science, there is little logic, and most of all, there are few discernible facts servicing a myriad of manufactured story lines.

The lack of a neck is a post-Pelican evolutionary trait allowing for whole biscuit swallowing...

The lack of a neck is a post-Pelican evolutionary trait allowing for whole biscuit swallowing…

For a moment let’s talk about a few of the denizens of the right’s Tired Island.   You have Darrell Issa whose every sentence is a noun, verb, and the word “scandal”.  There’s Steve “Electrocute Illegals like Cattle” King, there’s Steve “Drugs in the underwear” Stockman, Kent “Obama’s got coodies” Bentivolio, Louie “Cantaloupe Calves” Gohmert, Trey “Wanna do some blow” Radel, Duncan “Let’s use little nukes on Iran” Hunter, Blake “Birther” Farenthold (he’s the one at right who looks like he just swallowed the whole Smurf clan), and then there’s Michele Bachmann and what can you say other than, then there’s Michele Bachmann.

On Issa’s committee, 13 out of 22 Republican members have called for impeachment.  These 13 are joined by about three dozen others who have threatened impeachment.  We Widdershins first discussed this coming shift of political emphasis from Obamacare to impeachment last October.  On Tired Island such talk isn’t going away any time soon.

With Obama having but 37 months left in office, he needs to stop the fool’s errand of building bridges to Tired Island.  His self-annointed awesomeness is not going to rehabilitate the inmates.  Eventually, the denizens of Tired Island will run out of energy and given the demographics, that might be sooner rather than later.

There are hopeful signs.  At the ALEC conclave this week, The Guardian got hold of some pretty sensitive internal documents showing 60 corporations had financially abandoned ALEC over “stand your ground“ laws in light of the killing of Trayvon Martin.  The hole blown in their budget has forced them to consider changing this conservative corporate/legislative dating service to a 501(c)(4) in order to keep their donors a secret.

With 3 years and one month to go, the President might have finally accepted the far-right “just isn’t that into him.”  Perhaps he will turn his attention to unemployment, infrastructure improvements, immigration, “too big to fail” financial institutions, voting rights, gun safety, or anything that is not mollycoddling the fringers on Tired Island.  If he keeps trying to build bridges over to Tired Island, he needs to consider:  What will he do if he gets there?  If the past is prologue, I’d direct his attention to the fate of Alexander’s second set of emissaries.

This is an open thread.


5 Responses to "Is it an “i” or “y” in Tyre…"

Great post and even better analogy! This is a classic battle studied by the American Military schools in each branch of the service. None of them specially the Navy teach that Alexander should let them die on the vine….

But that is Military thinking.

Thanks Fuzzy. Later on after Tyre, Alexander came to understand if humans didn’t have fresh water to drink, they eventually became exceedingly amenable to surrender. Now that was strategic thinking.

I love that the House Republicans are so incredibly stoopid that they think they have “high crimes and misdemeanors” sufficient to bring impeachment hearings. Of course my congress critter from La,, Steve Scalise, would be right there voting with these fools. If they really want to give a boost to Obama’s popularity, let them go ahead and try this. And of course if there is a trial in the Senate, that will go nowhere. FWIW, Steve is also a member of this group.

Oh and a sincere thank you to Prolix for doing this post and allowing me to catch the SEC championship today along with some other good college football games. Prolix: You are a scholar and a gentleman!

Brilliant post. Agree completely, Obama should quit trying to placate these morons. I love history btw. Why can’t we learn from the past?

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