Knowledge Or Certainty?

The title for this rant is stolen from Jacob Bronowksi. In his 1973 programme, The Ascent of Man, he said:

“There are two parts to the human dilemma. One is the belief that the end justifies the means. That push-button philosophy, that deliberate deafness to suffering has become the monster in the war machine. The other is the betrayal of the human spirit, the assertion of dogma that closes the mind and turns a nation, a civilisation, into a regiment of ghosts.”

These words, from thirty years ago, could not be more appropriate today.

This morning Tony Blair gave evidence at the Hutton Inquiry. This inquiry is basically a huge exercise in whitewashing: a well-respected scientist has died and there has to be something seen to be done about it. Of course, nothing will come of it. Alistair Campbell, Geoff Hoon, Tony Blair and all the other neo-Stalinists of New Labour will face no consequences.

Blair said this morning:

“It is one thing to say we disagree with the Government, we should not have gone to war, people can have a disagreement about that … but if the allegation had been true, it would have merited my resignation.” (Source: The Independent)

Just consider that statement for a mintue. Blair is saying that if he had “sexed-up” the dossier, that would merit his resignation. Distorting evidence he presented to Parliament would merit his resignation.

What about the pile of bodies in Iraq? What about the 6000+ civilians slaughtered as a direct consequence of his actions and orders? These deaths were a means to an end, unfortunate of course and deeply regretted by Blair (who’s a committed Christian, after all) but totally necessary.

After all, without those thousands of deaths, how would the brave liberators of Iraq have removed those burgeoning stocks of Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Oh, I forget. They didn’t. There weren’t any. Nothing at all. Just the corpses of Iraqi children, or, as the peace-loving US Army call them, collateral damage.

Apparently, Blair and Bush thought it was justified to bomb Iraq flat because they were planning to build WMDs. Well, of course! Killing innocent people because you suspect that they may, sometime in the future, attack you is entirely logical, moral and Christian.

Tony Blair is huffing and puffing, behaving like a slighted prima-donna over the irrelevant allegations of mendacity. The Hutton Inquiry is merely a sideshow, a Moscow show trial where the end is known before the first gavel strike. It won’t magically bring Dr. Kelly back to life and neither will it punish anyone in this corrupt, smug, regime who is responsible for his death.

Blair and his cohorts have now got a taste for evil and it shows in their posturing. They’ve managed to illegally invade a non-aggressor nation and massacre its population with nary a squeak out of our yellow press. Look at the way Alistair Campbell practically strutted into the Hutton Inquiry. I’m sure he’s seen all the pictures of Iraqi babies he’s helped to murder but they simply don’t bother him. Blair, Campbell, Hoon – these men are architects of mass-murder. Do they look worried? Do they look hunted? No, they look arrogant and secure. They have cultivated “that deliberate deafness to suffering” with a zeal that would make Mengele proud. To them, Iraqis aren’t humans. They don’t exist: they’re merely pawns to be bombed, strafed, shot, starved, imprisoned and, when inconvenient, forgotten.

But Tony – what about the weapons “45 minutes from launch” pointing at Britain that you spoke of? What became of them? Either you were lying (which means you’re evil) or you were mistaken (which means you’re criminally stupid). Which one is it? Either way, you’ve slaughtered thousands of ordinary people for no visible reason at all. Oh, but you knew, didn’t you? You have superior knowledge that us poor commoners are denied. We are too simple to understand the mind of a great statesman like you, we haven’t got your view from the moral high ground where human life becomes a trivial commodity.

I’ll leave the last word to Bronowski, speaking whilst visiting the site of Auschwitz concentration camp:

“Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas, it was done by arrogance, it was done by dogma, it was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave.”