Terry Jones's War on the War on Terror: Observations and Denunciations
by a Founding Member of Monty Python
You don't have to be a Monty Python fan to relish this book. Terry Jones has a degree from Oxford and it shows in this collection of columns he wrote for British papers since Bush assumed office.
Jones far exceeds BuzzFlash in pointing out that we have gone through the looking glass and beyond -- and, of course, with unrelenting wit. After all, here's a guy who writes, "What really alarms me about President Bush's 'War on Terrorism' is the grammar. How do you wage war on an abstract noun? ... How is 'Terrorism' going to surrender? It's well known, in philological circles, that it's very hard for abstract nouns to surrender."
In one column, he takes pointers from Donald Rumsfeld's approach to information extraction ("The thing is if people don't say where they're going after choir practice, this country is at risk. So I have been applying a certain amount of pressure on my son to tell me where he's going. To begin with I simply put a bag over his head and chained him to a radiator.")
Another column finds him losing patience with two neighbors he's convinced are plotting something terrible against him. Because the police require evidence to act, Jones invokes Bush's doctrine of preemption, "since I'm the only one on the street with a decent range of automatic firearms." In others, he congratulates American forces for their success in making Osama bin Laden "look haggard," questions whether a leprechaun or a fairy godmother feeds Tony Blair his strategy.
Jones recently spoke with MotherJones.com from his home in London.
MotherJones.com: How did you come to write these columns?
Terry Jones: I think it was rage. It was just blind rage (laughs). This was after 9/11, and I just couldn't believe what our great leaders were doing. It seemed like every action they took was designed to have exactly the opposite effect of what they said they were going to do.
Like Bush, after 9/11, says the right thing: "We're going to catch the evil perpetrators of this evil deed." But if you're going to catch the perpetrators of an evil deed, what you need is secrecy and speed to nab them red-handed. What you don't do is say when you're going to look for them -- "we're going to look in two months' time." Or where you're going to look -- "we'll look in Afghanistan." Or what you're going to do -- "we're going to bomb you." I mean, by that time, all the evil perpetrators would leave the country, I would've thought. Now, as a result, they haven't caught the evil perpetrators, and the whole thing's a joke.
Instead of treating it as a crime -- which is what they should have done, getting the FBI and Interpol and everybody onto it -- they've elevated it into a war. So they've elevated the status of the evil perpetrators like Osama bin Laden. He's put up as of an equal footing with the United States itself. They've increased his prestige and reputation to no end, the perfect way of recruiting more people to his agenda.
So, no, you don't have to be a Monty Python fan to revel in this book. You just have to be SANE!
Terry Jones proves, with withering humor, that it's not you at all who has gone mad. But the lunatics are controlling the asylum.