MAN overboard! Irish Times columnist Kevin Myers has buckled under pressure and abandoned the chugging ship of the democratisation of Iraq for a fling with the passing dinghy of the Left's woemongering.
A depressing day for young hawks all over Ireland, who have often turned to Myers's Irishman's Diary as a beacon of light amidst the doom and gloom blackout of the Irish Times foreign pages hogged by Lara Marlowe and Conor O'Clery.
Myers has joined the sprawling comfort blanket of the "We're glad Saddam is gone, but . . . " brigade, using all the banal junk jargon of the Michael Moore(on) hard Left. "The man [President Bush] is mad," Myers proclaimed in some sort of personal Eureka moment last Tuesday before getting bogged down in the hallucinatory jungle of Weapons of Mass Destruction - the dirt road cul-de-sac the Left has abducted many an innocent down in the last year to justify its passivity.
And all this in the week that Robert Fisk, pin-up of the Left and Arab world, is reduced to a trembling, gibbering, enraged wreck by the coolly expressed rationale of UCD law lecturer Tom Cooney on TV3's Agenda.
Cooney pinned Fisk down early and drove in the final nail when he quoted extracts of a column Fisk had written in 2002 where, according to Cooney, Fisk had lied. By the time a tongue-lashing, finger-jabbing Eamon Dunphy came in to rescue the beetroot-faced Fisk, it was too late. He too was out of his league.
So now Myers is marooned in the banal muffled vacuum that lies between his former allies in the Irish Times, Mark Steyn and John Waters, and Fisk. Myers can go on murmuring the "Where are the WMD?" mantra because Steyn has already replaced him as the Irish Times's voice of reason. That is if the hostile letters to the editor are anything to go by - proof that Steyn is hitting the Left where it hurts.
Confirmation of this came from Eamon Dunphy, who singled out Steyn for attack (on that same revealing episode of Agenda), absurdly labelling Steyn's columns "racist". No higher compliment when a retired controversialist gets censorial about the new candid kid in town. Kevin Myers has become the Spain of conservative commentators. Like former hawk UN weapons inspector David Kay, he will be used as the dummy mascot who saw the light on the dusty road to Damascus. I hope he finds solace in his new fan mail.