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Uploaded: 07 December 2004

The morality error.

Writing a site like this is not easy. What I write is usually prompted by some kind of internal shit detector, some kind of moral sense, or, often, because something pissed me off. But some things almost defy writing about and yet demand to be written about, but getting at them is incredibly difficult, so they sit on my mental back burner until something comes along that is an 'in'. Well something just did.

"A leading British arms manufacturer is accused of paying a 16m bribe to sell tanks to Indonesia, the high court heard yesterday. Alvis plc is fighting to prevent the Guardian gaining access to court documents about the 160m sale of Scorpion tanks to the then Suharto regime in Jakarta." Guardian

I can't comment on the case as it is sub judice, but what it highlights is that money has no morals, of course, but I think that people 'should' or 'do'. I constantly try to see and understand the world in moral terms, which I must do, but my mistake is in considering that others do also, especially the Arms Trade and other multinational businesses. Of course, they don't, they are in the business of making a profit. Moral issues are not even secondary, they aren't even in the frame. If this company has supplied arms to the Suharto regime and indulged in skullduggery in order to do that, then the enormity of the crime is beyond any words I have to express it. What I struggle with isn't whether this particular company is guilty or not, but that this kind of stuff goes on all the time and vast numbers of people end up very dead as a result, and the companies who supply the arms don't give a shit.  What went on in Indonesia was so brutal, so bad, so terrible, it's hard to grasp, but worse than that is that we almost don't see it any more, it's so normal in the world we now live in, just like Iraq, that moral outrage is hard to keep hold of. 

I am in error assuming moral standards for any of these people and companies, and in this I must include governments. The moral posturing of Bush and Blair over Iraq is just that. It's chutzpah, spin, blag, what it isn't is any kind of, in their cases, Christian morality, and they are the more immoral for raising Christian morality as an issue in pursuing their objectives. 

I recall a case many years ago of a minister stealing from the collections in his church. Ok, that's wrong, no problem. What is amazing is that this guy was so stupid as to think he could rob God and get away with it. It is mind bogglingly crazy. If Bush and Blair are Christians and believe, then they are committing crimes against God. If there is no God, or you just don't care or believe, and moral issues are irrelevant, including the value of human life, then the invasion of Iraq makes good sense. But if any moral or religious considerations come into it, then the invasion was a crime against humanity and God and that is a measure of how crazy they are, and how dangerous.

Update on the Alvis situation

Keith Lindsay-Cameron 2004

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