Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gluttony And Punishment

Max Hastings raises mordant chuckles from my cage today, as he feels compelled to begin his defence of military intervention by warding off the angry wasps of liberal disapproval with a burning newspaper...

"Committing western troops abroad can be a tremendously good thing. That sentence has immediately cost me the sympathy of maybe half those addressing this page..."

How presumptuous - just because the last five years have shown that our leaders are perfectly content to cast pious pixie-dust in our eyes while throwing darts at maps of Middle Eastern oilfields doesn't mean that we won't drop our trousers en masse the next time they cry Hitler.

Still, it's good to see the commentariat keeping their eyes on the prize. This war may have been a ruinous disaster launched upon a raft of feeble fabrications and half-truths, but Lo! Captain Hastings is on hand to join us in a cheery singsong while we watch the burning wreckage slip beneath the waves!

Chin up, old bean! he cries, clapping us chummily upon the back, Worse things happen at sea - there's always next time, what?

Of course, old Max is merely a well-intentioned harbinger of worse to come. Behind him lurk a fantastical pack of pantomime villains and goggle-eyed trolls, ready to steam forth roaring about democracy for the world's downtrodden at the sound of a stubbed toe in Tehran.

And as before, countless pie-eyed innocents will line the pews rapt in bliss, crying loud hosannas for freedom and justice while cackling goblins strip the lead from the church roof and shit brimstone into the collection plate.

Witness an earnest, if condescending, Decent who recently felt compelled to explain to me why the Coalition's decision to invade Iraq was such a good idea...

"How conveniently some people forget the results of previous interventions by the Western democracies which have had a considerably improving effect on local conditions, namely Germany, Japan, Korea, Malaya, the FRY, Northern Ireland..."

Forget the ludicrousness of including Malaya and Northern Ireland - the basic argument can be rendered thusly...

If the invasion of Germany was right and just, then invading Iraq was also right and just.

Or, to demonstrate using pictures...

History, it seems, is doomed to repeat itself.

Sadly, it seems that the lesson of recent years - that grubby money men are perfectly happy to waffle about democracy and human rights pour encourager les gullibles - has gone unlearnt in some quarters.

This being the case, perhaps we as a nation should apply the precautionary principle - no interventions larger than that required to rescue a particularly plaintive cat from an especially tall tree.

Or, to put it another way, if naughty little boys can't finish their vegetables, there won't be any ice cream and jelly for dessert.

It'll be a shame to confiscate all those snazzy military toys, but if certain children can't be trusted to play with them responsibly then they shan't be allowed to have any at all.

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