Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Marching Morons

So the Defence Secretary John Reid is frustrated by Anti War Protestors saying that Iraq is on the brink of civil war, and believes that they should be getting behind the Iraqi people and supporting the drive for democracy. No doubt he's afraid that yet another of their predictions (such as 'there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq') will come true. The Anti War lobby certainly has a better record on Iraq than the government in that respect. It speaks volumes for the mindset of this government that it seems to think that it can get away with peddling this kind of doublethink - exercising democratic freedoms makes you an enemy of democracy. Sometimes they seem to really believe this strange thesis that it is enough simply to have rights under a democratic system, but you shouldn't actually exercise them to express criticism of the status quo - you should just think yourself damn lucky that you have the rights in the first place!

Still, this is the same cabinet minister who tried to defend British troops filmed beating up Iraqi teenagers by arguing that we had to understand that the insurgents they were defending 'democratic' Iraq against weren't constrained by the same rules and laws as the soldiers, so it was understandable if they reacted by meteing out illegal beatings. Is it just me, or is that a complete no-brainer of an argument? By following the same logic, we can justify the police fitting people up for crimes they didn't commit on the grounds that as they are criminals who probably have committed other offences, this proves they don't play by the rules so they shouldn't expect the law to play fair either. So, according to John Reid, the rule of law can only be maintained by its guardians selectively bending it to punish people who break it?

Frankly, I really shouldn't be surprised. This is the same addled logic which was used to justify the invason of Iraq in the first place: that flouting international law is OK if you can 'prove' that your target has already broken it themselves and therefore poses a 'threat' to the international community. The end justifies the means. Having got away with the invasion of Iraq, it really shouldn't be any surprise that the government is now trying to apply the same logic to domestic law, both here and in Iraq.

Ultimately, this is just another example of the 'rise of the idiot' I discussed in a recent editorial. I don't which is worse, though; that a senior cabinet minister is stupid enough to spout such nonsense, or that he thinks that we're so stupid that we'll believe it!

Don't worry Steve Crichton of Canada, who wrote to me about the aformentioned editorial; I fully intend to, as you put it, 'Preach on', on the subject of the rise of idiocy in modern society! Watch this space!



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