Gone Daft, He Has

Ken MacLeod is insane. Once again, a man whose accomplishments I admire in one field has proven himself utterly ridiculous when dealing with matters outside his chosen area of expertise. For the uninitiated, I'll give some background.

I am of the opinion that Mr. MacLeod is one of the best sci-fi authors currently working. His two series, the Fall Revolution and Engines Of Light, are great explorations into what the future might look like. He has a fine touch for the bizarreness of human behavior and how that plays out in a larger sense. He excels at deriving future societies from the political ideas and pathologies of the now. He also run a blog.

More importantly for today's post, he is some variety of euro-socialist. One the things that interested me about the Fall Revolution books is that he has an in-depth knowledge of the petty little divisions and squabbles that separate the various left-fringe groups in his native Scotland. Writ large, it makes for interesting reading. The knowledge appears painfully gained by earnest participation. I can't speak to what his exact positions are on various issues, but as near as I can tell he is a socialist anti-imperialist with revolutionary sympathies. The part of his latest post that made me realize he's nucking futz is as follows:
It's recently struck me that the moderate, liberal, democratic and humane response to the build-up to the Iraq war should have been to argue for the West to arm Iraq. It's not merely the case that invading Iraq was a distraction from fighting Al-Qaeda: it was objectively fighting on the same side as Al-Qaeda. If you're serious about fighting Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, the last thing you'd want to do, on the face of it, is overthrow - or even weaken - one of the few regimes in the region that was capable of and interested in crushing them within its borders.

Uh, what? Wait, not enough emphasis on that. WHAT THE FUCK? Okay, let's leave aside the claim that the Saddam regime was interested in crushing Islamic fundamentalism. There is enough credible evidence that Saddam aided terrorists, as long as they operated outside of Iraq, for that claim to be a non-starter. But the moderate, liberal, democratic and humane response is to argue for arming Iraq? Giving guns to a guy who has demonstrably killed hundreds of thousands of his own subjects cannot possibly be described as any of those things. How does that advance the cause of classic liberalism? How is that humane? How is arming a tyrant democratic? Am I losing my mind, or are we not even speaking the same language? Do these words mean something different to Mr. MacLeod than they do to me? Failing that, the only charitable conclusion I can come to is that he's a lunatic.


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