Saturday, March 25, 2006

Kember- there's only so much oxygen, you're being greedy.

I noticed this lavish op-ed from Bruce Kent, former head of CND, on the BBC.

It's a good example of how leftists have privileged and easy access to the state sponsored soap box that the BBC is able to offer.

Bruce Kent's pedigree as a political agitator is a long one, and I've no doubt his apologia for wrong-headed activism is well practiced.

I don't really like criticising people like Kent and Kember. It's not because they're well-meaning, which is something I don't really believe, but because they are clumsy and obvious.

Kent, for instance, justifying Kember, says

'He could see there were a lot of people in Iraq who were hurting and suffering, who had lost relations or been imprisoned. Whatever their nationality, our job as Christians and as people interested in peace was to offer help and consolation to people who were suffering. That was Norman's basic wish.'

Here we have a combination of straw man and faux charity.

Firstly the nationality issue was not an issue. If he said that Kember went to protect the Sunni minority from a backlash from Shias that might have some semblance of sense- but don't expect any such precision from people like Kent- or Kember.

Secondly, the vast majority of Iraqis were suffering first from the tyranny of Saddam, and afterwards from the tyranny of his regime remnants and the terrorists who have killed Iraqis, but especially Shias, by the score. Kember was a major kind of propaganda tool for the insurgents (so called), and thus was de facto taking sides in the conflict. Unfortunately for him, his propaganda value was not seen as being high enough by the so-called insurgents, so they kidnapped him and others, and killed one of them.

Kent proclaims the virtue of Kember's desire to show 'we were not a country which was united in favour of what had been done.' That is precisely the message which has encouraged the insurgents (so-called) and led to thousands of deaths as they seek to further tip the balance helpfully pointed out by Kent, Kember and their ilk.

Thirdly, what 'help' was it that Kember intended to provide? Did he take with him supplies and equipment? In this case he must be very stupid if he does not know that the US is in Iraq with all the necessary equipment to help Iraqis should there be peace enough to enable proper reconstruction.

As is typical, the Christian anti-war campaigner says that 'we as Christians are commanded to be concerned about the suffering and imprisonment of others - it's an explicit mandate to us.'

Well, if you insist. However the same obviously (and this is why I rarely comment on such things) applies to the suffering and imprisoned people in Iraq under Saddam. Kember was explicitly rejecting their rights by opposing the war in Iraq. Definitely the idea of compassion shouldn't extend to those actively engaged in murder and torture, as the so-called insurgents have been, for example the 'defenders' of Fallujah. There were many under Saddam's Iraq though who had not abused anyone yet were subject to vicious oppression.

Kent goes on to say 'We send out government people and contractors and God knows who else as well as soldiers, and they all take major risks, some of them for commercial reasons and some for political or other purposes.'

Yes indeed: and all of them have rational reasons for being where they are and doing what they do, whereas Kember had none- unless, that is, one analyses his actions politically and as a consequence of a classic case of holier than thou emotional rather than rational, self-aggrandising rather than humble, superior and pampered western condescension to events of global significance.

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