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17 October, 2003

Who the hell are you to speak?

At recent 'solo' concerts on his 'Rubbing Elbows' US tour, Ian Anderson has made offhand comments critical of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq situation. Though it seems no-one has challenged these comments to his face, Anderson has been heavily criticised on a discussion board, seemingly because a) he's not professionally involved in the situation, so is unqualified to speak and b) he's a 'guest' in the USA, so should defer to Americans, restraining his right to free speech.

It's remarkable that those expressing this criticism immediately go on to express, at great length, the alternative view that Bush is entirely right in all his actions, despite not being remotely better qualified to speak than Anderson (the commentators, I mean, not Bush. Then again...). It seems it's okay for the ignorant to preach half-truths, so long as it's an American expressing them.
Which itself highlights the other half of their dual hypocrisy: if Anderson 'shouldn't' express views critical of the Bush administration to a US audience, how can it be okay for certain Americans to push the contrary view in an international forum, where their 'Go USA!' attitude can cause just as much offence to non-US readers as Anderson's brief comments seemed to annoy certain oversensitive Americans?

Note that this isn't at all a statement of my own view on Bush, I'm only pointing out the hypocrisy of these critics.

Incidentally, those same comments made by Anderson were just as critical of Blair and Yeltsin, even dismissing the latter as a drunk - but they're not Americans, so it seems that's permitted.

NP: The chip fan

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