Remember our old mate Mehdi Hasan?
He was the London journalist who spotted the obvious similarities between those of us who don’t currently profess the Muslim faith and mere cattle back in July.
“The kaffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Quran; they are described in the Quran as, quote, “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as; not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no intelligence – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Quran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.”
Incapable of intellectual effort. Unable to shake of blind prejudices and easy assumptions. Remember these two phrases, they’ll be important later.
Anyway, where did this summer’s thoughts about freethinkers and other folk still deaf to the words of the Koran get our up and coming journalist? Why, a regular spot in the Guardian’s Comment is Free of course. In a sign of the times Mehdi Hasan now gives us the benefit of his thoughtson Islam, world politics and the general intellectual vapidity of western politicians from a pulpit provided to him by the UK’s leading liberal newspaper.
His latest article exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of the US military presence in Afghanistan with Hasan’s characteristic rapier-sharp logic and forensic levels of attention to detail that leaves the reader gasping in wonder at how we mooing Herefords and milk-producing heifers managed to make sense of the world before his geopolitical pronouncements were revealed to us.
How does Hasan do this? Simple: he contrasts the war aims as articulated by President Obama with the facts on the ground and finds – as is to be expected given his religious status – that the Commander in Chief is wanting in mental consistency.
Whisper it quietly. Contrary to popular opinion, the west has won the war in Afghanistan. How do I know this? Because Barack Obama says the aim of the war is to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” al-Qaida in Afghanistan – a strategy endorsed by our very own Gordon Brown. If that’s the case, then let me spell it out to the president and the prime minister: there are no Afghans in al-Qaida, and no al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
Let’s assume that Hasan is correct and that Al-Qaida have largely scuttled off from under their Afghan holes to Pakistan and other unlucky parts of the globe leaving only the Taliban behind. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter for the purpose of the argument which is – like much of what Hasan publishes – really about the superiority of Hasan’s divinely-revealed thinking compared to that of the masses of unbelievers still somehow taking up precious room on the planet.
Wouldn’t the fact that Al Qaida had scarpered make a mockery of Obama’s Al Qaida bashing? Wouldn’t they demonstrate that he was somehow muddled or confused about his Afghan war aims? Well, they might do if Hasan hadn’t misquoted them. Click through the link Hasan himself provides and it becomes clear he really must think us unbelievers nothing but a herd of silly moos with hooves too cumbersome to operate laptops properly:
We have set a clear and focused goal: to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and its extremist allies
Al-Qaida and it’s allies eh? Might these allies include the ex-government of Afghanistan, the one which sheltered Osama Bin Laden and provided him and his fellow Jihadis with hospitality, resources and ideological solidarity? The ones who wouldn’t give up their guests to the US after 9/11. Like er, the Taliban?
A reader ‘Rationaleyes’ picks Hasan up on this casual sleight of hand and accuses him of unethical journalism before making the point that there would be no point in withdrawing US troops while the Taliban are still a real threat to the people of Afghanistan.
Hasan’s response to being caught trying to trick his readers is worthy of a dissembling toddler caught with a jam-smeared hand in the biscuit tin. First he ignores the fact that the ‘evidence’ he previously adduced to prove Obama’s thinking on Afghanistan is muddled demonstrates only that – comically – it’s Hasan who has problems with simple reading comprehension; then he compounds the mounting evidence of his ineptitude with an attempt to point the reader in the direction of completely different evidence (an Obama speech in March 2009) that our journalist hero believes is more sympathetic to his original contention.
This is the quote Hasan triumphantly produces to demonstrate how he was right all along:
“So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That’s the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just.”
Job done, to borrow the words of a fellow ideological crusader unburdened with logical consistency.
But hang on, what happens if you read the whole of Obama’s speech? Here’s what the President says in the sixth paragraph of the (second) speech Hasan adduces to prove his original point:
So let me be clear: Al Qaeda and its allies— the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks — are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban — or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged — that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.
Mehdi, really is a prize plonker isn’t he? Buggering up the main point of his article once would be bad enough, but twice? And without any obvious awareness of how much of a pillock he is or embarrassment at the fact as it becomes apparent? Why some unkind people reading watching his argument disintegrate as soon as it is challenged might be forgiven for thinking Hasan ambles through intellectual life in the company of fellow herbivorous quadropeds rather than being the divinely ordained exemplar of intellectual and moral superiority he clearly is.