.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Quotes of the Morning

“Mr Bush's long-term aim is to make the world a safer place by eliminating 'rogue states' and 'terrorism'. It's such a clever long-term aim because how can you ever know when you've achieved it? How will Mr Bush know when he's wiped out all terrorists? When every single terrorist is dead? But then a terrorist is only a terrorist once he's committed an act of terror. What about would-be terrorists? These are the ones you really want to eliminate, since most of the known terrorists, being suicide bombers, have already eliminated themselves.
Perhaps Mr Bush needs to wipe out everyone who could possibly be a future terrorist? Maybe he can't be sure he's achieved his objective until every Muslim fundamentalist is dead? But then some moderate Muslims might convert to fundamentalism. Maybe the only really safe thing to do would be for Mr Bush to eliminate all Muslims?”
-Terry Jones, of Monty Python, January 11, 2005

“The slippery slope of War on Terra.”
-Skippy


“What really alarms me about President Bush's ‘war on terrorism’ is the grammar. How do you wage war on an abstract noun? It's rather like bombing murder.
Imagine if Bush had said: ‘We're going to bomb murder wherever it lurks. We are going to seek out the murderers and the would-be murderers, and bomb any government that harbors murderers.’
The other thing that worries me about Bush and Blair's ‘war on terrorism’ is: how will they know when they've won it? With most wars, you can say you've won when the other side is either all dead or surrenders. But how is terrorism going to surrender?
It's hard for abstract nouns to surrender. In fact it's very hard for abstract nouns to do anything at all of their own volition - even trained philologists can't negotiate with them. It's difficult to find their hide-outs, useless to try to cut off their supplies.
The bitter semantic truth is that you can't win against these sort of words - unless, I suppose, you get them thrown out of the Oxford English Dictionary. That would show 'em. Admittedly, the Second World War was fought against fascism.
But that particular abstract noun was cunningly hiding behind the very real Nazi government. We simply had to defeat Germany to win. In President Bush's war, there is no such solution. Saying ‘We will destroy terrorism’ is about as meaningful as saying: ‘We shall annihilate mockery.’
Moreover, in its current usage, terrorism cannot be committed by a country. When America bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory under the impression that it was a chemical weapons establishment, that was stupid. But it was not an act of terrorism because the US Government did it officially. And it apologized for it.
That's very important: no self-respecting terrorist ever apologizes. It's one of the few things that distinguishes legitimate governments from terrorists. So, it was difficult for President Bush to know whom to bomb after the World Trade Center outrage.
If Bermuda had done it, then it would have been simple: he could have bombed the Bahamas. It must have been really irritating that the people who perpetrated such a horrendous catastrophe were not a nation.
What's more, terrorists - unlike a country - won't keep still in one place so you can bomb them. They have this annoying habit of moving around, sometimes even going abroad. It's all very un-American (apart from the training, that is).”
-Terry Jones, of Monty Python, January 12, 2002

“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.
I haven't seen many TV reporters standing in the ruins of Falluja, breathlessly describing how, in 30 years of reporting, they've never seen a human tragedy on this scale. The Pope hasn't appealed for everyone to remember the Iraqi dead in their prayers, and MTV hasn't gone silent in their memory.
Nor are Blair and Bush falling over each other to show they recognize the scale of the disaster in Iraq. On the contrary, they have been doing their best to conceal the numbers killed.
When the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimated the figure of 100,000 killed in Iraq and published their findings in one of the world's leading scientific journals, the Lancet, Downing Street questioned their methodology, saying ‘the researchers used an extrapolation technique, which they considered inappropriate, rather than a detailed body count’. Of course ‘a detailed body count’ is the one thing the US military will not allow anyone to do.
What is so odd is the way in which so much of the media has fallen into line, downplaying the only authoritative estimate of casualties in Iraq with the same unanimity with which they have impressed upon us the death toll of the tsunami.
One of the authors of the forenamed report, Dr Gilbert Burnham, said: ‘Our data have been back and forth between many reviewers at the Lancet and here in the school, so we have the scientific strength to say what we have said with great certainty.’
So, are deaths caused by bombs and gunfire less worthy of our pity than deaths caused by a giant wave? Or are Iraqi lives less worth counting than Indonesian, Thai, Indian and Swedish?”
-Terry Jones, of Monty Python, January 11, 2005

“Isn’t it odd when members of Monty Python seems to make more sense than the evening news?”
-Skippy


0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


View My Stats