Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, September 27, 2004
It shouldn't surprise us that Pastor Terry Lane uses his ABC pulpit, In the National Interest, to preach his politics. That's what Auntie's communards employ him to do.

It is reasonable, but, to expect the Pastor to get the Gospel right.

The correct sermon, Pastor, is that Vice-President Dick Cheney used to run Halliburton. He no longer does, and he passes the proceeds of his remaining Halliburton stock on to charities. I know it doesn't resonate so well in the rafters of Auntie's chapel as the insinuation that Cheney and Halliburton are one and the same, but it is the Truth.

One of the sad consequences of having been struck down by the revelations of the Holy Marx is the closing of the Pastor's eyes to new revelations.

Take his interview with Dr Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution.

Singer, the expert on private military forces not the very silly philosopher, considers the impact of one such force, Executive Outcomes, on Sierra Leone to have been positive, a conclusion only reinforced by what happened when the UN took over the policeman's role. In short, under the UN's rule, a vicious campaign by muderous rebels started anew.

But the Pastor rules out doing good by any means not endorsed by the Gospel of Marx. You see Executive Outcomes took its pay in diamond concessions. These are a form of profit, which the Pastor's Gospel defines as immoral. In fact, this kind of profit the Pastor calls "plunder", and that can't be good, can it. UN good; profit is of the devil.

MPI, another mercenary firm, helped the Croats hold off the Serb forces in Yugoslavia, when the UN was embargoing the supply of arms to the Croats, and also to the Serbs, who already had plenty of arms. But you can't push our Pastor so easily into apostasy; just think of all those Serb refugees.

Needless to say, the mercenary forces supporting the Coalition in Iraq are "gunmen" in the Pastor's eyes. So they are morally equivalent to the throat-cutters, we pew-dwellers must suppose.

Did you know that states in general, unlike mercenary forces, share the long-term aspiration of peace? Neither did I. Nor do Iran, Sudan, North Korea, etc. But, so saith the Pastor.

You know, the problem with our Pastor is not that he joined the Church of the Holy Marx, but that he never graduated from its Sunday School.

That's good enough for Auntie.