3-Ball Dead

Thursday, July 12, 2007 11:35 AM

There is a nasty situation in croquet, the six-wicket American version, in which you can find yourself 3-ball dead. When this happens, your opponent has a big advantage. He is the beneficiary of your mistakes. He did not put you there; you did it to yourself. The ball which is 3-ball dead is completely ineffective, and the other side can shoot at it with impunity, and use it without fear.

This 3-ball dead circumstance occurs most often after you have set up an attack, and it has gone awry. You hit all three of the other balls on the court in order to make your wicket and/or to set up your partner so that he can run a “break”. But something goes wrong, and you fail to score your own wicket, and you no longer have the right to hit any of the balls again. The point is, you should have thought about the consequences of failure before attacking. Assess the situation, your ability and the odds of success. There may have been no real need to attack in the first place, most especially if you were ahead in the game.

You guessed it. I’m talking about Iraq again, which has become an obsession. What prompts today’s outburst is an article in the Washington Post by David Ignatius entitled “A Consensus Waiting to Happen”. The subject matter is the consequences of a U.S. withdrawal. He quotes the Iraqi foreign minister as saying: “The dangers could be a civil war, dividing the country, regional wars and the collapse of the state.” To me, that’s kind of like being 3-ball dead--or a train wreck, whatever you prefer.

The “neocon"/Cheney/Bush strategy was all wrong from the start. There was no need to attack in the first place. And the U.S. ability to execute the overall strategy was overestimated by whomever was in charge. Of course, Iraq is not a game. It is a bloodbath. And it was all so completely avoidable, starting with “Operation Desert Storm” launched by Bush I in 1991. 

--Copyright 2007 Patrick Foy--