Weapons of Mass Distraction

The recent publication of the Hutton Report has raised once again the issue of the intelligence dossier which gave the impression that, after twelve years of crippling sanctions, Iraq had amassed ‘weapons of mass destruction’ which could be launched against British interests in 45 minutes.

Any casual reader of ‘Freud Today’, or anyone with the slightest inkling of the pervasive nature of the castration complex in human affairs, will find no surprise at all in the fact that a document could be “sexed up” by making it seem more deadly. The fact that 1,400 weapons inspectors, handpicked for their hawkish attitudes and commitment to prove the alleged threat, have failed to find a single weapon of mass destruction, seemed to make no impact whatsoever on the delusional conviction of Bush and Blair.

However, the war games have an amusing side. As one reason is demolished, another takes its place retrospectively. No weapons? Well, Saddam Hussain was supporting international terrorism. No links to Al Qaida? Well, we did it to promote democracy and get rid of a tyrant. And in any case Saddam brought it all on himself by failing to comply with the UN inspectors.

Freud would have been familiar with the logic of our dear leaders. In Jokes and and their Relation to the Unconscious he recounts the story of the man who borrowed his neighbour’s kettle. On being later accused of breaking it he defended himself vigorously:

  1. He never borrowed the kettle
  2. He never damaged it
  3. It had a hole in it already.

School question

Freud calls the ‘kettle joke’ an example of ‘faulty reasoning’. Why is it funny? (use the concept of ‘unconscious desire’ in your answer)

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