GEORGE, SON OF GEORGE
A Socratic Dialogue
The scene is the Agora, in Athens. Socrates encounters his friend, George, son of
Socrates: Greetings, George, my young friend. Tell me, why are you so agitated?
George: Greetings Socrates, I am angry and troubled about Saddam.
Socrates: Saddam? The man who caused your father so much trouble?
George: The very same.
Socrates: But why are you so troubled about Saddam?
George: He has weapons of mass destruction. I must attack and disarm him.
Socrates: But George, are there not weapons inspectors investigating this very matter?
George: The weapons inspectors are not doing their job. I must attack and disarm
Socrates: You say the inspectors are not doing their job? How do you know this?
George: They have not found any weapons of mass destruction.
Socrates: I see.
George: So you can see why I must attack and disarm Saddam.
Socrates: Indeed, indeed. Tell me George, where are these weapons of mass destruction?
George: I do not know where they are, Socrates.
Socrates: You do not know where they are, yet you know they exist.
George: I am in no doubt that they exist. But the inspectors cannot find them.
Socrates: So the weapons are hidden?
George: Yes Socrates, that is what I have been telling you.
Socrates: The weapons are so well hidden that the inspectors cannot find them?
George: That is correct.
Socrates: I see. Tell me George, if the weapons are so well hidden, how is Saddam
to use them?
George: Clearly Socrates, Saddam cannot use his weapons while they are hidden.
Socrates: George, my young friend, please tell me, if a man possesses a weapon but
is unable to use it, is he armed or unarmed?
George: I am sorry Socrates, I do not understand the question.
Socrates: Well, let me put it this way. Let us say that a man owns many weapons.
They are all stored in his home. He comes here to the Agora and becomes involved in a fight. Is he armed or not?
George: Clearly Socrates my friend, when he becomes involved in the fight, he is
Socrates: But he owns many weapons.
George: Yes, but he is unable to use them.
Socrates: Let us say then, that a man owns many weapons, but they are all buried
in his garden. He is attacked in his home. Is he armed to repel the attack?
George: Clearly Socrates, he is not. His weapons are buried.
Socrates: From what you are saying George, it would seem that a man who owns weapons
but is unable to use them is not armed.
George: That is what I have said, yes.
Socrates: And from what you have told me about Saddam, he has weapons which he cannot
use. Is that correct?
George: Yes Socrates, that is correct.
Socrates: So, according to what you have told me, that means that Saddam is not armed.
Is that correct?
George: According to what I have told you, that is indeed correct, Socrates.
Socrates: Tell me George, how would you define a disarmed man?
George: I would say, Socrates, that a disarmed man is a man who was armed, but is
Socrates: And from the conversation we have had today, would you say that Saddam
was armed but is now unarmed?
George: Yes Socrates, I would have to say that.
Socrates: By your own definition then, Saddam has been disarmed?
George: By my own definition, that is true, Socrates.
Socrates: So Saddam has been disarmed because he can no longer use his weapons?
George: That is correct, yes.
Socrates: And he can no longer use his weapons because he has hidden them?
George: Again, Socrates, I agree.
Socrates: And he has hidden his weapons because the inspectors are looking for them?
George: That is correct.
Socrates: But George, when I asked you earlier why you were agitated, you told me
that you had to attack and disarm Saddam because the weapons inspectors had not done their job.
George: That is indeed what I told you, Socrates.
Socrates: And now you tell me that Saddam has been disarmed.
George: Yes Socrates, that is true.
Socrates: And you also told me that it is the weapons inspectors who are responsible
for disarming Saddam. Is that correct?
George: That is indeed correct, my friend.
Socrates: From what you have told me George, it seems that none of us have anything
to fear from Saddam, as long as the inspectors continue to do their job.
George: Indeed, Socrates, that is correct.
Socrates: It also seems, my friend, that you have little need for the agitation you
displayed earlier today.
George: That is true Socrates. I can see now that my agitation was not warranted.
A worry has been lifted from my mind.
Socrates: And there is no need for you to attack Saddam?
George: No need at all Socrates. Thank you for helping me to understand the situation
Socrates: You are most welcome my friend.