I recently happened to hear someone talking about Godwin's Law on Radio 5 today having somewhat optimistically hoped that England may actually still be batting (no such luck). If you haven't heard of it before, it's the idea that in any message board, given time, the level of probability of someone invoking Hitler, or the Nazi's, approaches 1. Once it happens, any further chance of meaningful debate is extinguished, the debate having sunk to inexcusable nonsense (unless, that is, it happens to be a history of the second world war blog or some such, obviously.).
This idea made me turn my mind back to that odorous arse Michael Scheuer on Newsnight last Thursday. Michael Scheuer is an ex-CIA employee specialising somehow in Bin laden and Al Qaeda. Strangely, he has been an out-spoken critic of the wisdom of America's overly-friendly relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia. I say strangely, because here he suggests killing and imprisoning millions of people who agree with him. If someone could explain that to me I'd be very grateful.
By the way, if the name sounds familiar, that might be because he was the guy on Glenn Beck's show saying that what America really needed was another huge terrorist attack to bring back that good old unity, something of a passion for Beck too
Now, I cannot stand flippant Nazi comparisons. Nothing betrays ones historical ignorance more. This fucker though... well, I simply cannot apply Godwin's Law to this one. This one is right in context. I have transcribed some of the more unbelievable quotes for your widening eyes...
MS: If we are not fighting Islam, then a large part of Islam is fighting us. 43.30
Presenter: Do you not see these as a tiny, tiny minority?
MS: Hardly Ma'am. 80% of Muslims around the world see the U.S, British and Western foreign policy as an assault on their faith and their brethren and whatever percentage of that 80% is fighting us it is growing around the world and so long as we continue to support Israel and Arab tyrannies this war will continue to grow. 44:30
Well, if it would mean falling out with Arab Tyrannies then.. and besides, who's he kidding? At best he could hope to form an argument against the most fanatical 0.01%, but 80%? Surely that'd be merely anyone who had the audacity to grumble a bit about U.S crop subsidies ruining their livlihoods?
This is a type of prisoner that we had better get used to capturing and for the first time in Western history, we're capturing people who may never be able to be released... and that's simply the reality of the situation. 45.49
Because now we face a greater threat than at any time in Western History..? Someone please beat this guy with a massive History book. Repeatedly.
Presenter: ....and that could amount to a billion people?
MS: Hardly that ma'am, you know, if he (the other guest on the show) was listening he would have heard what i said. The reliable polls that we have across the Muslim world show that Muslims who fight us are motivated by our foreign policy, and that 80% of Muslims believe our foreign policy is an attack 46.13
Here, he refuted the other guests calculation that 80% of Muslims is around a billion people by ingeniously suggesting he hadn't listened before giving exactly the same figure. Granted, he said 'whatever percentage of those..' but he also said it would grow so long as America carried on it's controversial foreign policies. At no point does simply changing the foreign policy seem to occur to him, presumably meaning that if the U.S needs to imprison that many people it would... actually as though they could.
Presenter: ...so what you would do?
MS: I would either kill them on the battlefield or put them into prisoners of war camp ma'am 46.33
So, Michael Scheuer, formerly of the CIA and (once?) influential, well, scaremonger, thinks that a large part of the worlds Muslim population should be killed or imprisoned if they do not like America's foreign policy, just as he doesn't... WTF? How is this rationalisation possible in a sane person? Is he like a mercenary talking head, willing to change views when the needs fit? Or is it a clever, self-sacrificing double-bluff trying to scare/entice the GOP hawks to join in?
The gross, almost schizophrenic, contradictions in this man are incredible... though not surprising. His form of nationalistic ideology, ignoring as it does that most rational of laws, cause and effect, has to be blind to contradictions for it to have taken root so firmly. He actually admits that people around the world are pissed off with Americas foreign policy, going so far as to admit that the war will continue to grow so long as we continue to support Israel and Arab tyrannies!
(That bit did actually surprise me. You could easily imagine an indoctrinated patriot willing to do anything for his country, but subjugating 80% of Muslims so that we can continue supporting Arab Tyrannies? Wow, that's some ballsy, and utterly perverted reasoning.). Hell, this is an argument leftists use for the complete opposite conclusion, one that doesn't lead to mass subjugation by a fascist, Naziesque regime. There, I said it, but unlike 99.9% of other times, it is in context.
The idea that a government should imprison or kill the majority of a people so that their foreign policy can do what it wants, regardless of the hurt it causes is comparable to Nazism. It is racist (you think he'd do this to white Europeans pissed at the foreign policy?), it's authoritarian (you think most of the American people would want that?) and, for that reason, would entail state, probably dictatorship, control of the (war) economy and it would require the subjugation of the majority of a religious group. Hell, with his criticisms of Obama being inexperienced and naive, you'd think he was longing for strong, iron-willed leader who would stop at nothing to enforce their Ideology onto the world. Sound familiar?
How is this guy on TV? He's almost a parody, some Pythonesque, psycho General who's list of conditions required to achieve moral recognition reads like his personal profile on facebook. How is he not denounced everyday in his line of work as a fascist? How are such contradictions held intact by someone who is clearly an experienced part of Washington life?
The cause and effect here worries me.. did being in the CIA produce this guy? What does this say for the culture there?