Separating the writer from his words

I’ve often written about one of my favorite writers, Peter David. The man is an incredibly talented and prolific “writer of stuff,” to use his own words, as well as a delightful guest at conventions and a man of great compassion and dedication. His efforts on behalf of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (whose main efforts are dedicated to representing comic sellers who — gasp! — sell adult-oriented comics to adults) are legendary.

But there’s another side of PAD (as he’s known) that bugs me no end. He’s a bit of a liberal.

No, that’s not fair. Politically, he’s about three degrees short of barking moonbat territory — and I might be a bit generous. He has a “Freedom Clock” on his blog that is counting down to the second the end of the Bush administration, for one.

And last night, he really, really pushed my buttons. I’m not going to synopsize or paraphrase what he said, because he’s a professional writer and I could never hope to be as good a writer as he is. Instead, I’ll reprint his own words:

The IRA, after a hundred years of strife, has announced it’s laying down arms and wants to work toward its goals using non-violent means (as Kathleen has noted over on her website.)

So let’s say we flash forward ten years, and Al Qeada is still strong, in business, and a major terrorist force. Iraq is still a fragmented mess. And suddenly Al Qeada announces that it wants to lay down arms and work toward a peaceful unification of Iraq and the Muslim world.

Do we accept that? Do we start working with them?

PAD

(Note: Kathleen is his wife; the aforementioned entry is here.)

The idea of comparing the IRA (arguably the worst of the Western terrorist groups) with Al Qaeda is nothing short of obscene. In fact, I said so over there:

To compare the two, to place them on the same level, is to compare a guy who robs convenience stores with a Jeffrey Dahmer. With a kid caught with an M-80 around the end of June with Timothy McVeigh. To a guy jacking deer (that’s “hunting out of season,” “hunting without a license,” or violating some other hunting laws to you flatlanders) with the guy in the clock tower. To say they differ only in degree is obscene.

But if he wants to go there, I’ll hold my nose and go where he’s urging me.

1) The IRA’s stated goals were always very simple and very limited: they wanted the British out of Northern Ireland. Al Qaeda, on the other hand, has a two-stage goal: first, to get rid of all Western influences in the Muslim world. Then, to expand the Muslim world to cover the entire globe. They want to create the Caliphate, the one Muslim government that will rule the world.

2) The IRA has traditionally — almost exclusively — limited its targets to political and military targets. Al Qaeda not only doesn’t recognize the concept of “valid” and “non-valid” targets, but actually seeks out civilians and innocents to kill.

3) The IRA had the habit of phoning in warnings about its bombings, to minimize the number of innocents killed. Al Qaeda always wants “the biggest bang for their buck” and does everything it can to maximize its body count.

4) The IRA has been negotiating for peace for well over a decade, I believe, and has had a cease-fire for several years. Al Qaeda has never expressed any interest in a settlement or a peaceful solution short of achieving their goals.

I am a huge fan of Peter David’s work, and will continue to keep buying his stuff. As long as he manages to keep his politics out of his writing, I’ll keep his politics from interfering with my enjoyment of same.

But I am confused about one thing. I get the feeling that one of his main characters, Mackenzie Calhoun, would get along just fine with George W. Bush. But somehow I don’t think PAD would see it that way.

Live Free or Live In Massachusetts
A grave injustice and threat to all our freedoms

12 Comments

  1. The Other JD July 31, 2005
  2. bullwinkle July 31, 2005
  3. Darleen July 31, 2005
  4. bullwinkle July 31, 2005
  5. John Burgess July 31, 2005
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  12. Colin August 1, 2005