Outrageous, demented or both?

Mark Steyn’s column on the Iranian seizure of 15 British hostages is unusually downbeat. Among other things, Mark decries the rules of engagement under which the forces were apparently operating:

Patrolling the Shatt al-Arab at a time of war, the Royal Navy operates under rules of engagement designed by distant fainthearts with an eye to the polite fictions of “international law”: If you’re in a “warship,” you can’t wage war. If you’re in a “destroyer,” don’t destroy anything. If you’re in a “frigate,” you’re frigging done for.

On a related note, William Shawcross writes to ask if we have seen “these extraordinary statements from Zbigniew Brzezinski on Iraq, Iran and Vietnam.” He asks: “Outrageous, or demented?” I would guess that Mr. Shawcross is referring in particular to this passage from the article:

Brzezinski said there’s no reason to think a bloodbath would necessarily follow a U.S. withdrawal [from Iraq].
“We expected that the U.S. leaving Vietnam would result in massive killings and genocide and so forth, and collapse of the dominoes in Southeast Asia,” he said. “It didn’t happen. How certain are we of the horror scenarios that have been mentioned in what will take place in Iraq?”
History does record that a bloodbath that claimed millions of lives occurred in neighboring Cambodia, the so-called “killing fields,” and that millions more people left Vietnam as refugees after the two countries fell in 1975.

I’ve become desensitized to the effusions of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Thanks to Mr. Shawcross for causing us to pause over this one.
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