Peter Hitchens, to paraphrase Correlli Barnett, speaks in broadsides in his wonderful piece in The Spectator.
The national puzzle is this: why did so many mainstream, reasonable, informed and sensible non-Trotskyist people readily accept the most transparent twaddle as fact?
What we really need is not Chilcot, but an inquiry into how we, the British educated classes (perhaps above all in my trade of journalism), are so easily talked into wars.
I don't think there is a puzzle here, though. We are witnessing today an emerging dictatorship of mediocrity and incompetence, wrapped in the ideological banners, known as media (see my post about Razib Khan below). We have brain surgeons writing about operations and not of the brain kind, more along the lines of naval and air force ones, we have people with no knowledge operating with information not knowing the difference between the two. There is also no time for reflection between media cycles. We have lawyers assessing intelligence information, we have economists writing about submarines' combat informational control systems. Housewives and househusbands with degrees in literature and gardening are judging force structure of enemys' navies. We finally got it--we leave in Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame paradigm when anyone, without risking anything, without any consequences has a lot to say and they do say it. Everyone is "journalist" today, hey, yours truly included, but at least I do not write reviews on New York theater scene and do not pretend to know everything about quantum mechanics. I also hate war. And then comes this ever important issue, about which I write for years now--in general, Anglo-Saxon elites, yes, even British ones, ARE NOT conditioned by the realities of the Continental Warfare. Yes, Britain fought its namesake air battle in WWII and she had London and Coventry, among many, bombed into oblivion, but that was it. No invasions for centuries, no artillery, tanks and urban combat blowing cities to smithereens, no rapes, no pillages, no slaves. There is NO framework in which to grasp the realities and then, of course...there are Precision Guided Munitions which make them all feel good. This is the key to this puzzle.
But I salute Peter Hitchens for his moral courage, for his integrity and hope that his salvo will hit the target. As Leo Tolstoy said in War And Peace:
I want only to say that it is always the simplest ideas which lead to the greatest consequences. My idea, in its entirety, is that if vile people unite and constitute a force, then decent people are obliged to do likewise; just that.(c)
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