The Hunt For Red October & My Smart Dog

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Our next door neighbor has a little but loud dog, Tito, - a ferocious loud yapper who takes it upon himself to defend his territory against all invaders. A few weeks ago that pesky neighborhood-disturbing yapper caught my attention and I looked outside. Someone had thrown what looked like popcorn out on the road in front of the neighbor's house and 10-15 crows were after the free grub.

Tito thought not. I watched then as the crows first positioned themselves on telephone lines and trees in a kind of tactical circle so that Tito would be busy trying to keep them all away. When a few of the crows landed at one end of the food, Tito went after them. On the opposite side, other crows swooped down and began feasting. Tito of course turned and roared after the offenders leaving his previous quarry free to move in themselves. It took less than 10 minutes for the popcorn to disappear.

I thought about how the defensive tactic of airborne bombers and submarines illustrates the value of diversion as a means of avoiding destruction. When the pilot or sub-commander orders the release of chaff after an enemy air-to-air missile or torpedo is discovered, the result is supposed to be that the "electronic" attention span of the missile or torpedo is disrupted, distracted and the attacker veers off in pursuit of a pseudo target. The good guys remain free to pursue their objective.

Well, now the bad guys are using chaff on us.

It seems that like torpedoes, air-to-air missiles and Tito the homeland protector, we who strive to challenge and resist the foreign and domestic policy agenda that Bushco relentless pursues face an almost daily dose of distracting chaff and crows who draw our attention away. We chase the chaff and go bark at the distracting crow while the real vultures stay their course and swoop down on the unsuspecting to bite of more and greater chunks from all that has historically sustained America's rise to economic and military power.

In this regard, I suppose many would say that Bushco manipulators a la Rove and company do their job well. I'm not ready to ascribe to the Rovians some idea of superior genius that most of us lack, but do acknowledge their willingness - the outlandish gall, if you will - to simply go ahead and try whatever works; whatever can be gotten away with.

Well, last week I was cleaning out our freezer and found two loaves of special bread we had purchased a couple of years ago on a trip. It was obvious by the few spots of mold, that two-year old frozen bread would not do for our menu. After letting the loaves thaw, I was about to toss them on our back yard when I remembered Tito. Oh, more entertainment... and I tossed both loaves out on to the road between our house and the neighbors and watched.

Tito did not appear, but my own dog, Jake, (who is part Australian Shepherd and Collie and looks like Lassie with a blunt nose) wandered out into the road and sniffed at one of the loaves. Wasn't his cup of tea and he started to ignore it. At that point another neighbor from up the street walked by with his own dog who sniffed at the other loaf, took it in his mouth and carried it about 30 yards up the road before dropping it and moving on.

By this time the crows had gathered and Jake, like Tito two weeks earlier, found himself invested in keeping the crows from stealing the bread. He stared at the other loaf some 30 yards off as several crows landed and started biting out chunks. Jake rushed toward the action and the crows took flight. Standing over the far loaf he looked back to see the crows landing around the other loaf still on the road on front of our house.

Now Jake is not Tito, not excitable and has a herding and guarding instinct that astounds me at times. He looked at those crows for a moment, took the distant loaf in his mouth, trotted over close to the first loaf - causing the crows to fly off. He then proceeded to bury the loaf he'd carried back to our house, digging a hole less than 15 feet from the first loaf. The crows helplessly watched Jake bury that loaf knowing he was not to be distracted.

When he was through, he trotted over and "stayed the course" with the remaining loaf - keeping the crows from their thievery. I don't know how long Jake sustained his vigil but I realized that his own tactic of setting aside one distraction for another more appropriate time while continuing with his original task of preventing the crows from achieving their objective was a valuable life's lesson.

Think about that the next time you want to write another piece about GannonGate, kiss-and-tell taped phone conversations, USANext and their unrealistic attempt to persuade the elderly that AARP is evil or Spongebob Squarepants. Evoking sufficient national interest, they are topics worthy of attention. But aren't there more important things upon which our missiles and torpedoes ought to remain focused?

Rovian manipulators are not geniuses. Their strongest attribute is cunning and a willingness to try anything that might work and cut their losses if it doesn't while thinking up something else.

Working to think one or two steps ahead of them is hard but not impossible. The benefits are enormous - the ability to ignore the nonsense while closing in on the underbelly itself.

Arthur Ruger

Arthur Ruger 2005

Arthur & Lietta Ruger 2002-2008. The American Choice is a  political internet journal based in Bay Center, Washington. The views expressed not authored by Arthur or Lietta Ruger are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of The American Choice or SwanDeer Productions. Permission of author required for reprinting original material, and only requests for reprinting a specific item are considered.