I’ll never watch Monty Python the same way again. Not after Terry Jones has made a mockery of the British sailors and Marines currently held hostage in Iran, by comparing them them and their treatment to al Qaeda terrorists captured on battlefields in Afghanistan.

The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn’t rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it’s just invaded. The inmates of Guantánamo, for example, have been enjoying all the privacy they want for almost five years, and the first inmate has only just been charged. What a contrast to the disgraceful Iranian rush to parade their captives before the cameras!

What’s more, it is clear that the Iranians are not giving their British prisoners any decent physical exercise. The US military make sure that their Iraqi captives enjoy PT. This takes the form of exciting “stress positions”, which the captives are expected to hold for hours on end so as to improve their stomach and calf muscles. A common exercise is where they are made to stand on the balls of their feet and then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates intense pain and, finally, muscle failure. It’s all good healthy fun and has the bonus that the captives will confess to anything to get out of it.

Go ahead and read the whole thing. It’s side-splittingly morally grotesque. Ha-ha — sailors and Marines in uniform on patrol most likely outside Iranian waters are just like non-uniformed members of a non-state terrorist gang that had attacked and killed 3,000 innocent people and were then actively fighting against our troops! Har. Dee. Har.

While most of us probably weren’t paying attention to him, Jones has been an idiot on the war for at least two years now. Here he is in Mother Jones in 2005, suggesting that the FBI and Interpol should have been sent into Afghanistan to nab Osama bin Laden. Who, at that time, had two armies — the Taliban’s and his own private one — arrayed to protect him.

Instead of treating it [9-11] as a crime — which is what they should have done, getting the FBI and Interpol and everybody onto it — they’ve elevated it into a war. So they’ve elevated the status of the evil perpetrators like Osama bin Laden. He’s put up as of an equal footing with the United States itself. They’ve increased his prestige and reputation to no end, the perfect way of recruiting more people to his agenda.

9-11 a crime, not an act of war. Destruction of a good part of Manhattan merely a crime, not an act of war. We treated the 1993 WTC bombing as a crime, not an act of war, and look where it got us. Is that funny, Terry?

Jones is both tactically stupid and willfully obtuse. Anything short of military force in Afghanistan would have been cut to shreds, and a piece of garbage like Jones would then have argued that Bush obviously didn’t take the enemy seriously enough. Conspiracy theories would have arisen from that just as surely as they have arisen from the present circumstances.

I don’t know what’s more depressing: That a Python alum is so far gone into moral relativism as to smear his nation’s troops as they’re held hostage by a rogue regime, or that so many of his countrymen (if the comments on his article are any guide) have joined him there.