I don’t think I’ve been properly angry for a while, certainly not since ranting about the middlebrow press, which, let’s face it, is evidence of a perfectly calm and sane outlook.
I got very angry indeed listening to an American official on the Today programme. He was attempting to explain away the upcoming Iraq survey report that will, it is believed, verify that there is no evidence of weapons of mass destruction present in Iraq.
His response was that Saddam Hussein was himself a weapon of mass destruction.
My initial response was ‘this guy is an idiot’. But that is far from fair. He may be a fool, but actual gurning simpletons generally don’t make it far in his profession.
The truth is that he thinks I’m an idiot. He thinks I’m the sort of idiot who mistakes a put-down for an answer. That I’m the sort of idiot who can’t tell when the story is being constantly changed in a feeble attempt to rewrite history on the fly. I was reminded of Jeremy Paxman’s mantra when interviewing politician; he asks himself ‘Why is this ****ing liar is ****ing lying to me?’
Part of me wanted the interviewer to call him on it. To say something to the effect that it’s probably a good idea if the reasons why you say your going to do something bear some factual relationship with the effects of what you do. The whole Iraq expedition reeks of Victorian imperial bravoism; armed only with guns, cash and a vague sense of needing to do something, the great white hunter sets out for the badlands in the belief that whatever he turns up will be hailed, be it a new lake, diamonds, or a lost tribe.
I wanted the interviewer to point out that most of us no longer look at the world simply as a testing ground of our own moral fortitude, whatever the cost to the natives. But in the end, I appreciated the fact that he didn’t need to. He relied implicitly on the audience being able to judge for themselves.
On a deeply depressing morning, that provided some small candle flame of consolation.