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|Iraq the Headless Chicken||12/11/2003|
Lloyd Olsen knew something extraordinary was going on that cool September day in 1945. In preparation for a fine meal with his mother-in-law as the honored guest, the Colorado man did what any good husband would do. He picked the most plump and tender chicken from the coop and lopped off its head so that the next day's dinner would indeed be special. But when he found his chicken the next morning, he knew that this chicken was even more special than he initially thought.
It is not uncommon for a chicken to live for a short time after losing its head. (Thus, the expression "running around like a chicken with its head cut off.") But when Lloyd discovered his headless chicken alive and well the next morning, sleeping peacefully with the other chickens, he realized that this was no ordinary occurrence.
Using an eyedropper to drip water and grains down the bird's gullet, Lloyd kept the chicken alive, named him "Mike" and took him on the road. At the University of Utah, scientists explained that Lloyd's axe had missed the jugular vein, a blood clot stopped the bleeding, and the brain stem remained intact at the top of Mike's neck, enabling him to function as well as any fully capacitated chicken. Across the country, people lined up at sideshows to see "Miracle Mike." The 25¢ per person fee earned the Olsens a fair amount of cash. Magazines including Life and Time covered the story, and the bird created quite a buzz for a year and a half until, as fate would have it, Mike choked in the middle of the night in an Arizona motel and died.
Half a century later, we face a somewhat similar situation, but on a much larger scale. In Iraq, the U.S.-led coalition cut off the head of one of the most destructive and deadly dictatorships the modern world has witnessed. We would expect the decapitated regime to stammer around uncontrollably for a while and then die.
But like Mike, this regime seems to be more resilient than others. It wants to continue ruling the henhouse. But also like Mike, it cannot stay alive without help.
Enter the eyedroppers. Certain nations continue to disrupt the operations in Iraq (drip, drip). News reporters slant their reports to dishearten the populace (drip, drip). Politicians attempt to gain recognition by undermining the coalition's efforts (drip, drip). Even a few members of the clergy encourage disobedience among our military forces (drip, drip).
Some people genuinely disagree with military intervention as a means to global stabilization and America supports their freedom to make their arguments and express their opinions. But many have moved beyond freedom of expression into a form of psychological warfare against the American-led forces. Others just want to make a name for themselves at the expense of our Commander-In-Chief. A few see Iraq as an opportunity to make a fortune.
All of this has the cumulative effect of nursing a dying regime.
Eventually, Saddam's organization will pass away. But without this drip-drip nourishment, it could choke off and die much quicker. If the free nations of the world would work together to stabilize Iraq, progress would be made much faster. If all of the facts would be reported accurately, our perception of the situation would be much more positive. And if the self-serving politicians and activists would focus on solutions instead of problems, we could resolve many of the difficulties we now face.
Saddam's act has gone on long enough. Let's all work to end the sideshow of "Iraq the Headless Chicken."