Thursday, April 14, 2005

Weekly Jackass Number Nineteen: Terry Jones

Terry Jones is rightfully considered a comic legend for his work with Monty Python, and I'm a big fan of that work. Jones also doubles as an occasional columnist for the Guardian and an author, and I'm not a fan at all of that work. Jones puts on the same airs in much of this work as the Python fellows did, trying to lend an air of absurdity to the War On Terror and the Iraqi liberation, and I'm sure the Kossacks and their ilk are laughing it up. After we sample a few choice excerpts, I think you'll understand why I'm not even cracking a smile.

Here's Jones on the devestating tsunami that tugged at the world's heart:
I am bewildered by the world reaction to the tsunami tragedy. Why are newspapers, television and politicians making such a fuss? Why has the British public forked out more than �100m to help the survivors, and why is Tony Blair now promising "hundreds of millions of pounds"? Why has Australia pledged �435m and Germany �360m? And why has Mr Bush pledged �187m?

Of course it's wonderful to see the human race rallying to the aid of disaster victims, but it's the inconsistency that has me foxed. Nobody is making this sort of fuss about all the people killed in Iraq, and yet it's a human catastrophe of comparable dimensions.

According to the only scientific estimate attempted, Iraqi deaths since the war began number more than 100,000. The tsunami death toll is in the region of 150,000. Yet in the case of Iraq, the media seems reluctant to impress on the public the scale of the carnage.

Where to begin with excrement like this? Well, the 100,000: this is a widely discredited figure from a vastly flawed study that has been absolutely dismantled in numerous pieces such as this, the source of the civilian deaths (probably 1/10th what Jones claims) has become almost exclusively terrorists. Thus, since Jones by his own admission wants to help the people in Iraq as much as the tsunami victims, he should be pounding the pavements rounding up support for those opposed to the terrorists (i.e., the Coalition). But no, it's easier to demonize our side that actually try to help theirs, eh, Terry?

Now, Jones is hitting the stump promoting his new book ridiculing the War on Terror, and here's the kind of trenchant analysis we can expect to see if we shell out the bucks:

Jones doesn't shy away from disagreeing with the current Washington wisdom being bruited about: that, with the end of Saddam's regime, the Iraqi elections, and recent demonstrations in Lebanon, going to war in Iraq was the right decision.

The status of democracy in Iraq is still tenuous, he says, and regardless, the end can't justify the means.

"Is it worth all the destruction of the infrastructure? Worth all the deaths? It's a question you can't answer," he says.

What is it, really, with the short-term focus of the Radical Left? If 10,000 die so that millions can have a better future, that's not worth it? Infrastructure? What's infrastructure, in the grand scheme of history? You can answer the question, Terry: Yes! Yes! Emphatically, yes! It is worth it; and you can help end the deaths if you get on board with the right side in the here and now.

My final excerpt (I can't take much more of this idiocy) is from Jones's newest column:
A report to the UN human rights commission in Geneva has concluded that Iraqi children were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now.

This, of course, comes as a bitter blow for all those of us who, like George Bush and Tony Blair, honestly believe that children thrive best when we drop bombs on them from a great height, destroy their cities and blow up hospitals, schools and power stations.

It now appears that, far from improving the quality of life for Iraqi youngsters, the US-led military assault on Iraq has inexplicably doubled the number of children under five suffering from malnutrition. Under Saddam, about 4% of children under five were going hungry, whereas by the end of last year almost 8% were suffering.
Of course, the report proved nothing of the kind, even if we accept its statistics as accurate. Jones claims it says Iraqi children are worse off; what it says it that the malnutrition rate has doubled, and of course, that is a terrible thing. Isn't it expected, though, in a war zone, as horrible as it is for the children involved? The broader point, and the reason the children aren't worse off, is this:

The 92% who aren't suffering from malnutrition, and those of the 8% who get help and survive, now actually have a future in front of them, instead of life under the thumb of a brutal tyrant; a few among them will even someday rule their country, a privilege that will be granted not from nepotism, but from democratic elections. I say it again, Terry: Yes, it's worth it! Very much so...

Terry knows better, though; he knows we could have avoided this whole awful mess, if we had just exposed the Iraqi children to Monty Python...think I'm kidding? Here's the end of the CNN piece:

Python, on the other hand, leaves a more positive legacy, he says. He tells a story about an inner-city schoolteacher who noticed that Python skits had a softening effect on his rough students' behavior.

"Instead of the kids being bullies, they would go around being silly," he says.

Oh, if only Saddam were still in power, with all that grand infrastructure in place, and the Iraqi kids were running around being silly while their parents lived in fear...what a great world that would be! This Weekly Jackass award is quite well deserved...truly disgusting. Mr. Jones, you ought to be ashamed...

UPDATE 04/15 8:41 a.m. central: Thanks to the great Tim Blair and the esteemed Dr. Shackleford for the links - a nice start to my birthday...look around and stay a while, folks, good to have you here...

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