Senator McBamanton: General P, we have had our foot stuck in a hornet’s nest for 5 years. Last year, you advised us to punch our hand into the nest to quell the insurgent hornets. When can we start to pull our hand and foot out of the nest?
General P: We have seen that the ‘surge’ - our punching our fist into the nest - has been successful. We are suffering fewer nasty stings and there are fewer insurgent hornets flying around causing trouble. We can expect to start pulling out our hand as long as the insurgent hornets do not start being hostile again. After a ‘cooling off’ period, if the hornets behave themselves, we’ll consider pulling out our foot a little at a time.
Senator McBamanton: General, you have done a wonderful job of punching our fist into the nest and we appreciate your courage and dedication. However, we’ve heard that one reason the ‘surge’ has been so successful is that due to our stomping around for 5 years in the nest and then punching our fist into it, we’ve managed to kill a substantial number of hornets, so there are fewer hornets left to sting us. What’s your comment on this?
General P: While there are always an unfortunate number of pacified hornets which are killed in actions such as this, there are also many insurgent hornets coming from other nests to sting us and to attack the pacified hornets we’ve taken as pets. We feel that the amount of hornet-on-hornet violence is also down dramatically due to our fist punching away at the nest and our foot stomping with conviction on the nest.
Senator McBamanton: So, General, seeing as you think this ‘surge’ has been a success, when can we expect to start to pull our hand and foot out of this nest?
General P: As stated before, we can expect to start pulling our foot out of the nest after we have withdrawn our fist. If the hornets do not respond by stinging us in reaction to the withdrawal of our hand, we will be able to remove our hand or most of it in a few months. Then, after a period of consolidation, if the hornets from this nest and other nests do not attack us or our pacified, pet hornets, we can consider the withdrawal of our foot.
Senator McBamanton: General, isn’t it true that any action on our part, whether it is to remove our hand or our foot will most likely result in the resumption of insurgent hornets stinging us and buzzing all around us?
Gen P: While I do not profess to be able to see all contingencies and outcomes, it is our belief that the hornets will, under the influence of our foot and our pacified hornets, understand that smashing their nest was in their best interest. If insurgent hornets from this nest or from other nests continue to cause disturbance, then we will not be in a position to remove our foot from the nest. Renewed insurgency will necessitate our foot and possibly our hand remaining in the nest until such time as conditions are met by which we can extricate our foot and fist.
Senator McBamanton: To be clear, General, what conditions would meet the criteria for removing our hand and then consequently removing our foot?
General P: The conditions that we are considering, the ones that will allow us to remove our appendages from the nest are those that would allow us to remove our appendages from the nest.
Senator McBamanton: Ambassador C, what is your considered opinion on the prognosis given by the General regarding the possible removal of our foot and fist from the nest of hornets?
Ambassador C: I concur wholeheartedly that should conditions for the responsible removal of our appendages from the nest be met by the hornets, then we can consider removing our appendages in a responsible manner. Should the insurgent hornets prove intransigent then conditions will not have been met by which we might consider removing our foot and hand from the nest. Should, on the other hand, the hornets change into butterflies, then we will re-evaluate the situation and it might reasonably be expected that we could consider the removal of our appendages from the nest in a responsible manner and according to a realistic time-table.
Senator McBamanton: So, General, you and the ambassador are saying that if everything goes well, and the hornets turn into butterflies, we may be able to start removing our foot soon after we remove our fist from the nest?
General P: I’m saying what I have been saying all along: sticking our foot into the nest and then punching our fist into the nest was and is necessary to our security and the stability of all of the other nests. Should insurgent hornets from this nest or other nests continue to sting us and fight us, then we will have no other choice but to continue to kick and punch the nest until they stop stinging and fighting us.
Senator McBamanton: Thank you very much, General and Ambassador, for your insight. It is obvious to all of us that we have brought the gift of democracy and freedom to the nest and it is up to the hornets, now, to get to work and rebuild their destroyed nest and stop their insurgency against our foot and fist. It is time the hornets for their own good, became butterflies.
Jon Stewart's interpretation of General Petraeus’ testimony: “We can't leave if things are not going well and we can't leave if things are going well or else we will lose ground."Stewart called it “A Catch-22 (billion dollars a month) statement."