Friday, November 23, 2007

Fable of the Water Buffalo and the Sparrow

Dr Sam C. Holliday, director of the Armiger Cromwell Center, following prior posts in these pages, "Effectively Communicating Jihad: a spade is a spade", and the "Fable of the Knife", in a third article is sharing with us today "The Fable of the Water Buffalo and the Sparrow", which dates back to the days of the wars in the Southeast Asia during the sixties, and is co-authored by John J. McCuen.

While the 'Fable of the Knife' contains a useful lesson, so does its companion the "Fable of the Water Buffalo and the Sparrow". The latter originated in Southeast Asia in the 1960s. We used both with our students at the US Army War College from 1967 to 1972. Now over 35 year later, we hope they will help others neutralize the global Islamic revisionist movement, known as the Third Jihad.


The sparrow lived among the people of the village, and it ate the same food they did, but sparingly as sparrows do. And the sparrow flew over the village and observed all that was going on.

The water buffalo helped the people plow the fields and haul heavy items from one place to another. When the female water buffalo had a calf, it gave extra milk for the villagers. Like the sparrow, the water buffalo was always there; but unlike the sparrow, the water buffalo labored with the people and walked the same earth they did.

When the three terrorists came with their knife the sparrow noticed immediately. When one terrorist took a knife to one of the villagers the sparrow informed the water buffalo. After the water buffalo gored the first terrorist to death, the sparrow watched closely and saw the other two terrorists coming to retrieve their knife. Then the water buffalo gored them to death too.

LESSON TO BE LEARNT: People don't care much for politics, but they worry about the terrorist with the knife, and they love the water buffalo and the sparrow.

Sam C. Holliday is a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, a former director of Stability Studies at the Army War College, and a retired Army Colonel. He earned a Master's in Public Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in International Relations from the University of South Carolina. Currently he is Director of The Armiger Cromwell Center, a small nonprofit Internet clearinghouse for thinking "outside of the box of conventional wisdom." By means of its online essays, the ACC seeks more effective foreign policies to achieve stability through equilibrium.

Copyright © 2007 Armiger Cromwell Center, 3750 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 374, Atlanta, GA 30319-1322 Permission is granted to forward this essay to friends or colleagues, on a fair use basis. For reprint permission contact Armiger Cromwell Center.


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