The Mail isn't all xenophobia, scare stories about cancer and thinly veiled racism, you know. All right, so a lot of it is, but there are always nuggets to be found. Sure, sometimes it's like looking for chocolate chips in horse shit, but they're there if you really want to find them.
Take this article, for example. It's an excellent opinion piece about the war in Afghanistan which I found myself agreeing with almost entirely.
No one in the Bush administration had any thought beyond the initial toppling of the Taliban and the destruction of Al Qaeda's training camps.
In Donald Rumsfeld's memorable words: 'We don't do nation-building.' Thanks to overwhelming, high-tech U.S. firepower, it was to be a quick in-and-out job.
Some in-and- out job it has turned out to be. Let us never forget that this panic-driven, ill-thought-out decision is why we are in Afghanistan today.
But if the West, under U.S. leadership, took over the country to extirpate Al Qaeda, the truth is that we have failed, and at enormous cost in blood and money. And we have failed primarily because Afghanistan was never essential to Al Qaeda's global operations, despite what Gordon Brown seems to think.
It's really very good, and well worth a read. To balance things out before you start thinking the Mail has started employing exclusively good writers, Peter Hitchens had a bash at Afghanistan at the weekend and ended up sounding miserably ignorant and dimwitted, even for him, but especially in comparison to something as reasoned as today's considered and insightful piece, which criticises both Tories and Labour for repeating the same old rhetoric about Afghanistan and causing needless deaths, 'our' troops and civilians alike.
But I sense a slight shift in opinions towards Afghanistan, even at a paper like the Mail. There's no doubting that the vast majority of the British public have tremendous sympathy for the British troops, who are suffering ever increasing casualties in the war zone. And I think they're increasingly wondering what the point of this war is, especially in the light of human rights atrocities such as a proposed law to allow husbands to starve their wives if they refuse sex. Is this, then, the outcome of the 'humanitarian intervention' so beloved of the hawkish liberals? Is this why so many have died, so someone other than the Taliban can be just as anti-freedom and oppressive as the Taliban? Hardly anything to celebrate.
In case you were thinking that this marks a paradigmatic shift in the Mail's opinions, don't worry (or indeed dare to hope). No, as 5cc points out, the Mail can still set the hares running for its more racist readers with incendiary headlines such as "EUROPE ON THE BRINK OF A NEW RACE WAR" which brings some truly unpleasant bastards out of the woodwork, calling Muslim victims of ethnic cleansing "potential Jihadists" for example.
If that's the bad old Mail doing the things it's become notorious for, then what's the ugly? Well, this story about a man who loves a crocodile a little bit too much is a bit bizarre. But I think this comment is one of the finest I've ever read, in the Mail or anywhere: