If Woody Hayes were the prime minister of Iraq, the constitutional referendum scheduled for next Sunday might never be held. The legendarily bad-tempered Ohio State football coach disdained the forward pass because he judged the promise of quick gain to be overshadowed by the risk of failure. He said, concisely, that "When you throw a pass, only three things can happen and two of them are bad."Well drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life!
Because the Iraqi referendum is a long pass into heavy defensive coverage, Coach Hayes's description of the risk is decidedly apt. But the decision to throw it is entirely correct because if it succeeds or better yet fails constructively, Iraq can make substantial progress toward democracy.
Fortunately, that's the end of the Woody Hayes-as-Prime Minister of Iraq nonsense.
Unfortunately, it's not the end of the column.
By column's end, we're getting references to ancient Rome and Carthage, not American football. And that's never a good sign.
The global war against terrorists and the nations that support them will have to go on regardless of what happens in the Iraqi elections. If Iraq can stand as a democracy, the terrorist nations will be weakened, but not decisively. If we stand down as the Iraqis stand up, the terrorist nations will only grow stronger. And the war in Iraq will go down in history as did the first Roman war against Carthage. We will have to go back to the Middle East, again and again, until the enemy and its ideology are truly defeated.If Babbin's prediction is true, then the legendarily bad-tempered American voters may call a Hail Mary play of their own.