Tuesday, February 11, 2003
By way of junebug from the LGF comments section, comes this pile of drivel from The Independent's Joan Smith:
It's about time the US got over 9/11
Seriously. I mean, really, only some 3,000 people were murdered that day. Can't we just forget the whole thing? Why wasn't Ms. Smith around in 1943, telling us to get over this silly Pearl Harbor misunderstanding already?
If anyone had told me, in the autumn of 2001, that we were less than 18 months away from what might become the world's first nuclear war, I would have thought they were insane.
She thinks we're on the brink of a nuclear war? That is insane.
In the half century since Hiroshima and Nagasaki...
Ms. Smith, given that it's been a half century, isn't it time you got over Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
It is a measure of the paranoia afflicting parts of the US that officials deemed it necessary to announce, only hours after Columbia blew up in the sky over Texas, that a terrorist attack was not suspected. I know Saddam is a cunning old brute, but is it really likely that his agents have penetrated Nasa?
While I rather doubt that terrorists had anything to do with the shuttle tragedy, why would it be so farfetched to think that saboteurs might have penetrated NASA, anyway? There are enemy spies and moles in just about every agency of every government. What is it about NASA that would make them impervious? And is it really so outlandish to think that a high-profile mission, full of symbolism and national pride, and carrying Americans, an Indian, and an Israeli might just be a very juicy target for terrorists? Of course not -- but hey, that shouldn't stop a worldly British columnist from mocking those Yankee roobs.
It is not that I don't take the threat of terrorism seriously. I am quite prepared to believe there are al-Qa'ida cells in European and American cities, but it is important to keep things in proportion. My guess is that most of us are more likely to be run over by a lorry than die in a terrorist attack, and I certainly do not want people in this country to reach the advanced state of paranoia reported in some American states.
Oh, that is just bloody brilliant. You know that thing with ricin a few weeks back? Joan says don't worry about it. Just watch out for lorries. Remember, look right, then left, and leave the terrorist stuff to the constabulary. Joan will let you know when to be concerned.
The administration's war against the Taliban was neither a great military success (huge areas of Afghanistan are still in the hands of vicious warlords)...
Why, I had no idea that the plan was to turn Afghanistan into the Sweden of Central Asia in 18 months! All this time I thought we merely wanted to destroy the al-Qaeda training and supply infrastructure, remove their Taliban supporters, and maybe make a dent against the Islamist idiocy that defined the whole country. How wrong I was! Destroyed terrorist camps, girls going to school, no more executions in city stadiums by lunatics out to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice -- none of that counts for squat, since warlords still rule parts of the country that they've been in control of since the Russians left. Raise the white flag, corporal, and let's head home in shame.
...nor did it provide the kind of catharsis that millions of shocked Americans demanded after 11 September.
See, that's what as us stunned roobs wanted: catharsis. Kids, this is what happens when you always look at the world through the eyes of your English Lit 101 TA. You get the feeling that ethos, pathos, and bathos were on deck, but Ms. Smith never got the chance to use them.
President Bush needs an enemy and Saddam fits the bill nicely, even though no one with an ounce of common sense credits Colin Powell's claims last week about an alliance between Iraq and al-Qa'ida.
Wow. Wow. Joan Smith, counter-terrorism expert. Never mind the evidence laid out by Powell (who apparently lacks even an ounce of common sense): it's all bullshit, it has to be. I mean, we've read in both The Guardian and The Independent that Iraq had no connections whatsoever to al-Qaeda, so who does this Yank think he's fooling with his "evidence," anyway?
Powell did make a powerful case but it was for pressing on with weapons inspections
Sure, because when you demonstrate that inspections aren't working and never will, that means they should continue.
The Bush administration creates the impression that the US is still as wounded and ready to lash out as it was in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the World Trade Centre.
First, that's World Trade Center. I know writing these Americanisms is icky to sophisticated Britons, but really, it's a proper name, not subject to modification. We don't go around calling Tony Blair's party Labor, do we?

Second, arguing against straw men is fun and easy, but pointless. The attack on Iraq is not a "lashing out" against any ol' Arab we find handy. The Bush Administration views Iraq as a long-term threat, one completely separate from any al-Qaeda activity. Now, Ms. Smith doesn't have to agree with that, but she does have to recognize it, given that Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, et al. have been talking about it specifically for the last several months.

I am not sure that this is true of the majority of Americans, but the country's moribund political structure and the Democrats' horror of appearing unpatriotic combine to make effective opposition very difficult.
Translation: no one is buying my point of view. My point of view is clearly correct. Therefore, it must not have been presented well. Which has to be because dissent is "difficult."
The President may take comfort from the thought that Tony Blair's Gladstonian vision lends him some moral authority, but it does not wash over here.
Now that is just plain arrogance: President Bush does not derive his authority -- moral or otherwise -- from Tony Blair or any other foreign source. Ms. Smith seems to be under the impression that America is still a British colony.
If the world has become a more dangerous place since 11 September 2001, it is not solely because of the activities of a bunch of Islamic terrorists.
No, there's also the appeasers, accommodators, and useful idiots with newspaper columns.

Update: It turns out that Misha the Rottweiler had already atomized this pitiful excuse for a column, along with its author. Go thee and read his thoroughly satisfying efiskeration.


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