WHEN COMEDIANS TURN SERIOUS: A few years ago a friend moved from Victoria to the Northern Territory, where he was required to exchange his Victorian driver’s licence for a Northern Territory licence.
A mistake was made. Previously only allowed to drive ordinary cars, his new Northern Territory licence permitted him to drive gigantic road trains.
Something similar happens to people whose images are displayed on television or movie screens. They suddenly become qualified to analyse events far beyond their area of expertise. Hello, Barbra? The brothers Baldwin? Julia Roberts? Oliver Stone? Sarah Jessica Parker?
Latest to join the Outspoken Actors’ Guild is Terry Jones, one of six members (and fifth wheel) of the Monty Python comedy team. Jones has decided that the US mission in Afghanistan is wrong, wrong, wrong, and outlines why in a recent UK Observer piece.
Thanks to Damian Penny and Dr. Frank for bringing this item to our attention. Let’s take a silly walk through Terry’s deep thoughts:
"Osama bin Laden is looking 'haggard'. A videotape broadcast on al-Jazeera TV showed the Most Wanted Man in the Known World looking haggard … So I would like to congratulate George Bush and Tony Blair on the first concrete evidence that their 'War on Terrorism' is finally achieving some of its policy objectives."
Finally? It’s been just months since the attack on the US, and already bin Laden is powerless and ruined. And this in a conflict the Observer – and its mothership, the lumbering, hate-mongering Guardian – told us would take years, if not decades, to achieve anything.
"Of course, they've done terribly well in bringing chaos to Afghanistan, but I don't remember that as being one of the policy objectives."
Terry presumably preferred the orderly calm of Afghanistan under the Taliban.
"Bringing to justice the people who actually perpetrated the crime was out of the question since they were already dead."
Great thinking, Mr Comedy Man. By this logic, Charles Manson goes free, Hitler wins a posthumous pardon, and bin Laden is guilty of nothing more than a little reckless tent chat after too many camel-milk martinis.
"Well, many months later, who has paid for it? US taxpayers have stumped up billions of dollars. They've paid for it. So have the British taxpayers, for some reason which hasn't yet been explained to us."
Many months? Try four. And as for billions of dollars … show us your accounting methods, Terry. Where have these ‘billions’ gone? And why is an old leftie like yourself suddenly concerned about taxpayer dollars, especially taxpayer dollars from a country where you don’t pay tax?
"Uncounted thousands of innocent Afghan citizens have paid for it too - with their lives. I say 'uncounted' because nobody in the West seems to have been particularly interested in counting them. It's pretty certain more innocent people have died and are still dying in the bombing of Afghanistan than on 11 September, but the New York Times doesn't run daily biographies of them so they don't count."
Plenty have been interested in counting Afghan losses, Terry. Pay attention. As for the NYT not running daily biographies, let’s see you get over to Afghanistan and start splicing together some snappy paragraphs about the dead, you carping suckweasel.
"We've all paid a considerable amount in terms of those precious civil liberties and freedoms that make our way of life in the Free World so much better than everyone else's."
Name one liberty or freedom you’ve lost since Sept. 11. Just one. You can email me, if the government hasn’t yet confiscated your iMac.
"We are all also paying a huge price, all the time, every day, in terms of our daily anxiety quota. We daren't fly in planes or, if we do, we do so in fear and dread."
So complain to bin Laden. In the meantime, my daily anxiety quota has soared due to half-arsed opinion pieces written by imbeciles.
"If the police were setting out to catch a particularly clever and evil murderer, would they go around with loud-hailers announcing where they were going to look for him, pinpoint the areas they intended to search and give him a count of 100 to get away? That's what you do if you're playing hide and seek, not if you want to catch a criminal."
The man wears a dress in movies to get a laugh and now he’s the world’s foremost military strategist. Stand by for Terry’s address to the graduating class at West Point.
"But I realise that's not a very American way of going about things."
The British method, as demonstrated by Neville Chamberlain, is obviously superior.
"If Osama bin Laden is looking haggard, that means he's scared … but at least it means he's not enjoying himself as he was in his previous video. This is a considerable triumph for the US forces, for the brave bomber pilots who release their bombs from such considerable and dangerous heights above the ground … "
What cowardly altitude was Mike Spann cruising at when he was kicked to death by Taliban prisoners in Mazer-e Sharif? And how far above the earth’s surface are all the US , British, and Australian ground troops? Ground troops, Terry. There’s a hint in the name.
"So keep up the good work, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, let's see if we can continue in this vein and perhaps - at the cost of only another few billion dollars, a lot more innocent lives, many more civil rights, and the stability of the Middle East, India and Pakistan, and perhaps a Third World War, we might even be able to make Osama bin Laden frown."
This ‘stability’ you mention in the Middle East, India, and Pakistan … what century are we talking about here, Terry?
Maybe it was the century when you and your kind were considered clever and entertaining. Go back there.