<%-- Page Title--%> Musings <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 110 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 20, 2003

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An Extinct Breed
Nadia Barb

The hunt for the weapons of mass destruction seems to be coming up empty handed every time. So those of us who had our doubts about the existence of these WMD and even those who believed that indeed Saddam Hussein did possess WMD are probably feeling that we might in fact have been duped by the arguments put forward by the US and UK. In the Chambers English dictionary, one of the definitions of a politician is “one who makes a profession or game of politics”. It looks like some have taken the meaning literally. Not only do most politicians speak a language that is meant to appease and pacify the general populace; it really does not have to be based on facts or the truth. To put things in perspective, the war in Iraq seems to have been based on exaggeration, hyperbole, and blatant lies. Having listened to politicians and even military personnel in the last few months, my sense of cynicism and suspicion has increased in leaps and bounds at much of the speeches and information that have come my way. The term “An honest politician” is really becoming an oxymoron. And like many other endangered species, they are now becoming an extinct breed.
For example, during the war in Iraq, the UK Defence Secretary Mr. Geoffrey Hoon managed to lose credibility at least in my eyes by the way he handled or should I say “mishandled” the news from the war. At one point Mr. Hoon stated on BBC radio that there was an “uprising” by the people of Basra against Saddam Hussein but then had to retract this statement as it was not actually true. He then claimed that the coalition troops had found chemical suits which “categorically” showed that Saddam Hussein was in all intents and purposes preparing to use chemical weapons. This was subsequently contradicted by Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, Chief of the Defence Staff, who cautioned against jumping to conclusions!

Actually what is galling is that it does not even matter these days whether a politician has manipulated the truth or not, but whether he has been successful in “getting away with it”. Throughout the War in Iraq, the former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf was seen on television, making statements that were patently untrue. Despite the fact we could hear the sound of shooting and bombs going off in the background during some of his speeches, he stated with great confidence that the US and British forces had not entered Baghdad! Interestingly enough, the self assured manner in which he delivered his speeches and his total lack of respect for the truth and outrageous remarks seem to have landed him with a huge following. A website was even created that was solely dedicated to the Iraqi Information Minister or “Comical Ali”
as he is otherwise referred as and its popularity was completely unexpected. Ironically, the only statement that may actually hold true might just be the one where the Mr. Sahaf said it was a "lie" that Iraq still had weapons of mass destruction.
The whole argument for going to war in Iraq which claimed that Saddam Hussein possessed these so called weapons of mass destruction and was a threat to international security appears to be falling to pieces. When the US and UK found that they could not sway the UN Security Council nor millions of people around the world with this argument and justify war on those grounds, the reason became “regime change” and of course liberating the Iraqi people.
If it turns out that the entire war in Iraq was in fact based on a lie, then not only will it have cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars, it may just prove to have been a war that was illegal from the outset. Thankfully more and more people are asking the question whether we were coerced into entering a war that really was based on nothing but half truths and manipulation of information. The foreign affairs select committee in the UK has said that it is now to investigate the "government's presentation of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction" (Guardian). The Committee will try to ascertain whether Downing Street doctored an intelligence dossier last September which stated that Iraq could commence a chemical or biological attack within 45 minutes of the order being given. All we can do is wait and watch.
Although highly unlikely, let us hope that this will bring about some sort of change within politicians around the world and create a new breed that is endowed with honesty and integrity and a desire for the pursuit of the truth.


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