How to win the Iraq war debate against your dumb friends

by Lee Camp

Recently I was arguing with one of my dumber friends about the Iraq war. He loves Bush and thinks bigger bombs is the answer in Iraq. I wasn’t gaining any ground in the argument until I used a simple analogy. I said, “Your solution is like shattering an expensive vase and then saying, ‘We need to keep smashing it until it’s fixed.’”

I stumped him. He was silent. So here’s a brief list of other analogies you can use on your dumb friends. And the truth is, I’ve seen similar ones work on some of the smartest political pundits.

1) The country of Iraq has essentially been demolished. The right-wingers keep saying the answer is continued large-scale military action. That’s like if someone got into a car accident, went into a coma, and the doctors believed the patient could be healed by more car accidents. So they just keep putting him into cars and sending him off cliffs.

2) I’ve heard people say that being against Bush or Petraeus or the war in Iraq is equivalent to being against the troops. That’s like if I knew someone who repeatedly sent brave puppies out into traffic. I called that person an asshole for abusing the puppies and abusing their power. Then you accused me of being anti-puppy.

3) The administration talks about the success of the surge because violence has decreased, but we’re in fact paying the militias not to kill each other or our soldiers. It’s like if you were treading water, two sharks approach and begin biting you, you give each one a small piece of fish to distract them. While they take a moment to eat the fish, you sit there treading water and yelling, “Problem solved!”

4) At the Petraeus hearings, he refused to give any sort of definition for “victory” in Iraq. That’s like running a foot race, you’ve gone 30 miles, you’re exhausted, and when you ask your coach driving along next to you how much farther, he just keeps saying “You’ll know it when you get there.” He keeps saying that until you collapse and die.

5) We claim to be “fighting the terrorists” in Iraq, but in fact our presence is helping to create more terrorists. The disaster in Iraq serves as a great training and recruiting tool for an entire generation of terrorists. It’s like trying to kill a gremlin by dousing him in water.

6) KBR, Halliburton, Blackwater and other companies have huge pull in our government (such as the vice presidency). So essentially they decide when the war is over. They also happen to be making millions upon millions of dollars from the war. So asking them to decide when the war is over, is like asking an ugly guy cast in a threesome porn movie to decide when the scene is over. Chances are the scene would go on for months, if not years. The entire crew would be standing around asking, “It’s not over yet? When will we know when it’s time to end it?” And the ugly guy would respond, “Um, it’s a bad idea to set timetables. Just trust me on this.”

7) Lastly, President Bush is like a colorblind child with a Rubik’s Cube.

Over the past four years Lee Camp has performed stand-up comedy at over 300 colleges nationwide, but we don’t hold that against him. He was called one of the best New Faces at the Montreal Comedy Festival, and he’s been featured on Comedy Central. He has also performed countless shows with Laughing Liberally, and writes and produces comedic activism videos. He recently went on Fox News’s morning show and called them a “parade of propaganda and a festival of ignorance.” The clip was viewed over half a million times online. An unmarked black SUV now follows him everywhere he goes.

22 replies »

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  2. Lee, thanks for your contribution to S&R. (There must be some analogy to parking your stuff with us instead of the Huff Post …)

  3. I have some dumb ones, mostly from my younger days. When I was younger I had lots of dumb friends. So maybe maturity is somehow about shedding dumb people from your life.

  4. Dr. Slammy,

    Shedding dumb friends is one of the most important things one can do. I finally got rid of the last one about 5 years ago, and my life has been so much easier. Dumb friends just suck so much life out of you. That being said, most of my friends disagree with me politically, but I don’t think of them as dumb. Perhaps misguided, but not dumb.


  5. I’d propose another analogy: The Administration never wants to withdraw from Iraq, because it will “die”: The Admin is a mugger who has beaten a victim to the point of death – then, realizing he’ll be charged with the more-serious crime of murder if the victim actually croaks, the mugger manages to find gutsy lawyers (and gullible courts) which allows him to force the victim to be maintained on life-support – so he’ll never be charged with homicide. Then he offers endless “self-defense” excuses as to why the original attack was justified…

  6. Does Lee’s “dumber” friend know that he’s the subject of this week’s lesson?

  7. I’ve used similar arguments about why continued military action in Gaza is both politically and morally wrong, but your analogies are so much more succinct than mine. Thank you.

  8. Great post. I’m thinking your traffic will go through the roof later today due to your linkage from Down With Tyranny.

    I also avoid dumb friends, but you can’t really pick your relatives (and many of mine are quite dumb) so I’m looking forward to using these analogies at this summer’s family reunion!

    Thanks again for the great post.

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  10. Who do you want giving you advice about whether to have surgery and then perform the surgery? A medical doctor or acupuncturist? When you are sued by your neighbor, do you follow the legal advice of an attorney, or do you follow the advice of your cousin Jane? Of course, we trust the experts, and in the case of war, we have to listen to what the military is saying, and what political experts say. The Bush regime ignored both until very recently because they were blinded by their ideology. Now, I see fellow democrats ignoring the realities on the ground in Iraq, and ignoring progress that we have made. Saying that Petraus doesn’t know the exit conditions in Iraq is ignorant…he knows exactly what needs to happen, and expressed very well what was needed, and while he was vague, he was being honest.

  11. in the case of war, we have to listen to what the military is saying, and what political experts say. . . Saying that Petraus doesn’t know the exit conditions in Iraq is ignorant…he knows exactly what needs to happen, and expressed very well what was needed, and while he was vague, he was being honest.

    War is a political policy. It is a decision reserved for Congress only.

    Politicians (politicians as an extension of the people whom they represent) decide when, whether and where to have a war. Hopefully they choose correctly and, occasionally, they have. The U.S. war on Iraq is not an example of the latter.

    General Petraus’ job is to understand Congress’s intention. Does Congress want us in Iraq, if so for how long? His job is to achieve Congress’s policy under the command of the President. Congress decides when to leave and General Petraus’ job is to be candid about how that can happen what he needs to make it happen.

    Unfortunately, most of the politicians, and obviously General Petraus and President Bush have ignored their legal and constitutional duties and responsibilities. We are all paying the price and will for a long time to come.


  12. I’m one of those people who never has the witty response at hand ready to fire when the target’s in sight. This is so appreciated. I’m sharing it all over the place.

    Could you make a youtube version of this post so that it can travel higher, farther and faster?

  13. I suspect this post will have a long life, especially in its second incarnation on YouTube. Thanks, Lee. Please come again.

  14. Asking either the Pentagon or the Halliburtons of the world to end the war in Iraq is like asking a hooker for change from the hindred dollar bill you’ve just handed her.

  15. When I hear a wartard say the “surge is working”

    I say: we “surged” into Iraq FIVE years ago , and it hasn’t worked since.

  16. First, the President, by the constitution, is NOT a king, but a servant of the people. And the majority of the American people want this war to end, so by the constitution’s law, the government must end it or the government itself is in violation of its own laws. Second, it’s easy to support a war when you’re not the one fighting it, so go fight it if you support it. Third, what exactly did we accomplish by bombing a country that posed no threat to us other than estalishing the fact that we’re a bunch of assholes who force our way of life on others with the rest of the world? The US has become this empire that goes around the world forcing its “holy” laws on all nations and bombing the infidels who refuse them. The Iraq war is nothing but chaos and an insane president’s thirst for power and wealth.