Arbitrary Suspicion

So, here’s Former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind proclaiming that he believes the US government intentionally delayed the verdict of the Saddam trial to coincide with their mid-term polls. He readily admits to having no evidence to support this accusation but instead seems to have based it on the idea that the timing is “deeply suspect”.

Presumably then, given the lack of any evidence, the only way the timing could be thought of as suspicious is if we’re to accept that there’s a certain kind of probability relationship between good news for the Republicans and the mid-terms. One that means that as the mid-terms grow closer the natural occurrence of this kind of news becomes significantly less likely. But, of course, there’s no sensible reason to accept that such a relationship exists; unconnected world events do not naturally align themselves to avoid occurring at times when the US happen to be holding their elections. There is simply no need for a conspiratorial explanation for this kind of phenomenon. This sort of unreasoned proclamation by a politician in the media is far from unique, but it’s less common, apart from perhaps in the religious sphere, to see such an overt and unapologetic example of irrational belief. Now, none of this is to say that the Republicans haven’t pulled this particular stunt, and I certainly wouldn’t put it past them, but if Rifkind is right, it’ll be through sheer luck rather than anything approaching intelligent thought.

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