Causality and Morality

I must be getting old. Don’t try telling me the London bombings were ’caused’ by the Iraq war or Blair’s entrainment with the neo-cons or the lies about WMD or whatever. Those arguments – nicely wrapped in condemnation for the bombings themselves, of course – leave me cold. They’re morally void. And an abuse of causality.

In fact, causality seems to be the problem here. The apologists (what else can I call them?) have an etiolated, mechanical concept of causality. A produces B (produces C). Blair’s support for Bush produces disaffection in young Muslims (produces suicide bombings in London). As I said: morally void – and often accompanied by a sort of shrug: ‘what did you expect? Of course they bombed London. Blair invaded Iraq’. In this way, the apologists deny the entire Islamic world moral agency, robbing Muslims of their human obligation to act well: ‘how can you expect Muslims to behave morally? Blair invaded Iraq.’

The other side – the Government Ministers and their fellow travellers on the opposition benches – has an equally shaky idea of causality. Politics obliges them to cancel it all together in fact: ‘I see no connection between the London bombs and British conduct in Iraq. 9/11 happened before the Iraq war. So did The USS Cole and the first WTC bombing. Those young men would have bombed London anyway.’ The absurdity of this position is breathtaking.

Blair’s wisdom here, though, is that he has no choice. The tiniest acknowledgement that he and his allies may have contributed to the change of climate that produced the bombings would be politically fatal. So, fact is denied. Reality distorted. Logic inverted.

The truth, as usual, lies elsewhere.

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