On War

by Jonathan Weinblatt

On War
      While engaging in the use of force in combating a clandestine rodent invasion I have gleaned several lessons regarding the paramount measures toward a successful operation.

      It is often argued that in order to defeat a mouse, one must learn to think like a mouse. However, it is commonly misconstrued that this means actually thinking like a mouse. Indeed, this is impossible for any creature not of the mus musculus species. The chief aim is a best prediction as to how a given mouse might behave. Even so, one must avoid at all costs “scripting” the sequence of actions that a mouse might take in response to human inputs. The mouse generally comes out from under my stove burners, so I would expect that when I turn the burners on, the little grey devil inside would die a slow and painful death. What I did not predict, however, is that the mouse would take evasive action and emerge only hours later from under my fridge and haunt me in my sleep.

      The worst type of prediction as to how the enemy might proceed is the attribution of human characteristics to a rodent. By no means is a mouse human and should never be thought of in such a way. One cannot assume that simply because one prefers to eat oatmeal raisin cookies over stale bread crumbs, a mouse would be more enticed by a glue trap with the former rather than the latter. When a cookie is not enough, one cannot presuppose that a wider variety of delectable treats would be any more appealing. A final glue trap menu of a cheerio appetizer, an American cheese side dish, an oatmeal-raisin cookie dessert, and a green poison entree might seem tempting to the average human, but overkill doesn’t necessarily translate to kill when there’s no unused glue left on the trap.

Strategy-Policy Match
      It is one thing to set a lofty goal of total destruction of the occupying rodent force, and yet another to rely on an inadequate defensive strategy as a means to that end. The transition from a defensive stance to an offensive campaign is no easy feat. In this delicate case of asymmetric war, wherein the mouse succeeds by simply surviving from day to day and the human can only win upon achieving complete extermination, a passive trap-based strategy wastes valuable time. With every elapsed day, the mouse population is likely to accrue reinforcements with progressive rapidity. Without superior weaponry, even the greatest military strategist cannot overcome superiority of numbers. I have no doubt that as I am typing this very piece, there are two mice fucking in my sub-sink cabinet.

Covert Operations
      When two humans engage in battle under the cloak of midnight darkness, the attacker’s element of surprise is compromised by his lack of visual acuity towards the defensive position. However, when combating the enhanced night-vision of the rodent guerilla, a human is left defenseless to the numerous artillery droppings in my dish rack. Though the seemingly weaker mouse may not be seen for a matter of days or even weeks, the effects of his covert operations are often experienced on a daily basis. The lack of intelligence regarding the position of the rodent base certainly makes up for the discrepancy in brute firepower. Without any knowledge of the invading force, the defender is ill-equipped to withstand, let alone utterly annihilate the pest. As the saying goes, for every one mouse you see, there’s ten cockroaches you don’t.

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