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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?


(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.

Comments (12)

I have to agree with you he... (Below threshold)
The Other JD:

I have to agree with you here.

If you scroll on down in th... (Below threshold)

If you scroll on down in the comments you'll see the idiot don the tinfoil hat and explain how Bushco is going to take over the world incrementally.

Patience, patience. These things happen incrementally, not all at once. You can't just toss aside ALL civil liberties and human rights in one shot. First you have to pass things like the Patriot Act. Then you have to say that the Geneva convention is "quaint" and "doesn't apply." Then you have to let opponents know that resistence will be met with below-the-belt retaliation (like, say, outing a CIA operative). Then you nominate a Supreme Court justice who appears to be opposed to limitations on presidential power. That kind of thing. You have to work your way up to the really big stuff.

Man, with all these conservatives linking "evil" and "Bush" together, we liberals don't have to do a thing except sit back and laugh.


I would have a very hard time sepaparting his politics and his writing, idiots are idiots and he takes it to a whole new low. I know some of the lower life forms believe this, they are the type vermin I refuse to subsidize in any way, shape or form.

JayYou #1 point sh... (Below threshold)


You #1 point should pretty much put this issue to rest, but the moment I heard of the IRA's effort to put down their arms I knew it was just a matter of time before some sort of perfidy along the lines of this "Peter David" would ooze from the pool of toxic Leftism.

What I would add, too, is that the IRA has taken this step because they do NOT want to in any way be associated with al-Qaeda and the rest of the Islamist terror groups.

Anyone with a cursory knowledge of The Troubles knows what a line of bovine excrement David indulges in.

And as far as the paragraph Bullwinkle posts above from David's comments, either the man is displaying cognitive dissonance or is engaging in deliberate mendacious propaganda for his own ends.

I always thought cognitive ... (Below threshold)

I always thought cognitive dissonance meant you were unwilling or unable to accept the truth over what you already believe. Since I'm not guilty of that I'm willing to accept Darleen's definition where it means having you liberal head so deeply planted in your liberal ass that you dream up new shit all by yourself. Cool, it is true, you can learn something new every day.

I wouldn't be so quick to c... (Below threshold)

I wouldn't be so quick to cast the IRA into the mold of activist boy scouts. Over 3,000 people have died in actions directly related to that fight. These include innocent civilians--of the wrong religion--eating dinner, having a beer, or simply doing their shopping in an open-air market.

IRA's connections with terrorists in both the Middle East and Latin America shouldn't be given a "bye."

The IRA were never 'better'... (Below threshold)

The IRA were never 'better' terrorists than AQ: in fact they killed more Catholics than any other group involved. Some of the things they did (shooting three 17 year old soldiers in the backs after luring them to a party..blowing up a war memorial on Remembrance Sunday...a mob tearing two soldiers apart etc etc)are on a level with AQ in their bestility.

Blair has descended into a moral abyss when he tries to claim that AQ is worst than the IRA. They are both as bad as each other and given that Slab Murphy the CoS of the IRA still has the weapons and the contacts does anyone think that there won't be a move sideways by lots of the thugs who have got used to the money and the power they have? McGuiness and Adams who claimed never to be in the IRA have now "resigned from the IRA"...and Blair wants to work with these liars?

Disclosure: 23 year Army. Many NI tours. 80% disabled thanks to active service. And a CATHOLIC soldier like 1/3 of my Scottish Battalion....who spent more time protecting Catholics and Prots than the IRA ever did.

PAD is going to be at Cresc... (Below threshold)

PAD is going to be at Crescent City Con next weekend, if you can trust the guest listings on their page. I might be able to slip away from our video room to catch one of his panels & ask him about this.

ever since I went to school... (Below threshold)

ever since I went to school with one of Todd McFarlane's buddies, I realized that there is no reason to think that a great artist is anywhere near a great person. especially not a writer.

now, if somebody was to go to my site before they read my work, which I'd encourage, then they could understand my bias. being transparent with your politics, religion, etc. makes it easier, not harder, for people to figure out where you're coming from.

I loved reading PAD in the 90s with Incredible Hulk and Spiderman. but these days there's such a morose attitude in the traditional centers of entertainment, that it's probably why we're getting "Dukes of Hazzard" at the movies and "Tiny House" on tv. the thin-skinned have let their politics sink into their working lives.

(Steve Bochco, I'm looking at you...)

I try really hard not to no... (Below threshold)

I try really hard not to notice the politics of my favorite writers and artists. It's usually just disappointing.

I think that the IRA and AQ are a lot more alike than your summary indicates. The IRA should be abolished as readily and as ruthlessly as any other terrorist organization. They've gotten a free ride for much too long from sympathetic Irish-Americans anxious to romanticize their tactics, and that support of terrorist methods has emboldened other groups to use the same techniques.

David, BryanIan Pa... (Below threshold)

David, Bryan

Ian Paisley?

2) The IRA has tradition... (Below threshold)

2) The IRA has traditionally -- almost exclusively -- limited its targets to political and military targets.

Political and military targets like pubs and buses and Docklands, and Manchester shopping centres and Omagh shopping centres? Sorry, Jay Tea, ordinarily I'm a fan of yours, but you need to do more research if you think the IRA primarily targeted political and military concerns. I understand that a lot of Americans have a rose-tinted view of the IRA (it was only after 9/11 that the IRA's American contributors mostly stopped donating money to them, after all) but I grew up with the threat of IRA bombs. A romantic struggle it was not.

I do, however, agree that it's as wrong as can be to compare the IRA with Al-Qaeda, but only for your point #1. The IRA has an official cease-fire, but that doesn't stop people being murdered in Ireland in the name of the IRA. Google Robert McCartney for a recent, high-profile case.

I beg to differ. Terror is... (Below threshold)

I beg to differ. Terror is terror no matter the organizaton: ETA, IRA, or AlQaeda. A terrorist's target or reasons used for identifying that target is makes no difference, as at the heart of the matter is a minority group inducing terror and causing murder.

I'm sure all the loved ones of the British citizens murdered by the IRA do not agree with you either!






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