Went to see CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interview former U.N. Weapons Inspector Hans Blix last night (part of the Media at War conference). A remarkable mind – what struck me most was how totally lucid and committed to his own neutrality he was. It wasn’t that he didn’t have his own conclusions and observations – of course he did – but rarely do you encounter people involved in political processes who so carefully downplay or force aside their own biases, who struggle so carefully and naturally toward the elusive goal of total objectivity. His central problem: The paradox of proving the negative. “How can I prove there is not a tennis ball in this room?” he asked, gesturing to the interior of Zellerbach Hall. Also enjoyed his references to the best headlines he had seen regarding himself in the press, such as “Blix Tricks Irk U.S.”
Dean Schell, in his introduction, quoted Donald Rumsfeld’s tricky koan: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Which is an absurd piece of semantic trickery politically speaking, and yet also philosophically true.