When Iraq invaded Kuwait back in ’91, it was reported that Iraqi soldiers were looting incubators from premie wards. I remember wondering at the time whether this was an invention of some Madison Avenue PR firm hired by the Kuwaiti government-in-exile to stoke American support for the liberation of Kuwait. It emerged not long afterwards that this was an invention of a Madison Avenue PR firm hired by the Kuwaiti government-in-exile for just that purpose. And, of course, it worked. So ever since I’ve eschewed any rush to judgment about the atrocity-of-the-week and who might be responsible for it. It turns out ‘our’ propagandists are as adept at making shit up as theirs.

The western media is reporting some pretty egregious behaviour by the Russians in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine. The Russian media is denying it. Those corpses were staged. Those eyewitnesses are actors. Those victims with their hands tied behind their backs were collaborators executed by the Ukrainians themselves after the Russians had withdrawn. And so on.

Assuming we want to be epistemically responsible, our problem is that any forensic team ‘we’ send in will be suspect. And there’s nothing you and I can ever do to discharge that suspicion. So we default to what we have no choice but to default to. We default to our peeps because our peeps wouldn’t lie to us. That the Russian people are in the symmetrical position is the one thought we have to dismiss out of hand. They can’t be, we tell ourselves, because if they were then neither of us could know who’s telling the truth. But we do know. How do we know? Because our peeps wouldn’t lie to us! Except, well, they have. But that was then and this is now.

Do I believe those corpses were staged? That those witnesses were actors? I do not. How do I know? Because I’ve already blogged about Bucha. So for me the cost of entertaining any evidence to the contrary is already too high.

When you’re in high dudgeon – be it about Bucha or the Holocaust or what have you – thoughts like this do nothing but take the wind out of your sails. And then you’re dead in the water. That’s why I haven’t had the thought I haven’t just had.

Categories: Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask

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