Human Probabilities

Thomas Fairfax, a Parliamentary general in the English Civil War, said, of the proposal to launch a pre-emptive attack on Scotland:

Human probabilities are not sufficient grounds to make war on a neighbour nation

How little things change. True, Iraq is not a neighbour to Britain, but then the world is a very much smaller place than in 1650. The basis for going to war was that Saddam posessed weapons of mass destruction, an opinion - very much an opinion - based on intelligence gathered from various sources. Such information is very much, and of necessity, a human probability.

Now we see, played out in Uzbekistan, the consequences of a war justified on human probabilities. I cannot help but think that the actions of the Uzbek government are due, at least in part, to their closeness to the US. Not only was a war made on human probabilities, but the probability (in the opinion of some) Islamic fundamentalism is now used as justification for the unjustifiable.

I suspect that in the coming days we will hear that the decisions to use such heavy-handed tactics were made down the command chain (conveniently away from Karimov, but no surprise there). Terror is such a nebulous concept that it can be used, as we now see, in a manner very much like Emmanuel Goldstein in 1984.

What concerns me is the lack of protest from Washington.

 

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