BLOCK THAT METAPHOR! Recently, at something called the Aspen Ideas Festival -- and how did Plato and the rest of them manage without having an Ideas Fest, I ask you -- Bill Clinton said the following concerning the situation in Iraq: "Once you break the eggs, you have a responsibility to make an omelet."

I disagree. For one thing, once you break the eggs, you can make almost anything. You can make scrambled eggs, or poached eggs, a five-layer chocolate cake, or a pitcher of skullbuster eggnog, for all that. There's no affirmative obligation to make an omelet, and only an omelet, once you've broken the eggs. This is small-bore thinking, dammit, like school uniforms and V-chips. Enough of this!

Moreover, there is a more serious flaw in Mr. Clinton's approach to this vital metaphorical issue. Let us say, just for fun, that I entrust the eggs in question to some belligerent and unsophisticated children and they go out in the backyard and, for a number of reasons that later turn out to be lies, they smash all the eggs against a big, moldy old oak tree. Am I still obligated to scrape the egg-flotsam off the bark and make an omelet?

Would Mr. Clinton eat that omelet if I served it to him? He's been out of office for a while, so maybe he's a bit rusty on politics. And (I hope) he's been staying away from cholesterol, so maybe he's forgotten about eggs, too.

--Charles P. Pierce