Friday, June 06, 2003

Spinning Away Trust

Dear Readers,

Senator Robert Byrd, that man with gold heart and enviable guts that many in the political arena are apparently lacking right this moment, pronounced with great solemnity last month, “Truth will emerge”. And truth has ways to emerge. It may takes months or years, but historical truths do come out of the magic bags.

The neocons are not the quitter. They are repeating their infallible mantra, but the mantra sounds tiresome and perhaps not much energy in it anymore. William Kristol, one of the neocon gurus, was explaining other day Wolfwitz’s “explaining” regarding WMD statement. But this time, it was not the same feisty Kristol talking, as if, the neocons are all kind of scared, at least right this moment, anyway.

And they must be afraid. Their deception might get completely exposed to the patient Americans. Even Senator Biden, who was the Iraq war supporter said, “"I think that unless they find what was documented before, or something in addition to that, I think our credibility is damaged among our friends”.

And now the fellow Republican, Bush’s own party man, the Nebraskan Senator Chuck Hagel says, "There's no question, that the government's credibility is at issue on weapons of mass destruction, given the very strong statements of the president and the vice president" and Bush administration’s cabinet members. Senator Hagel wants to know as the rest of the world wish to know: "Where are they?” Where are those tons and tons of WMDs that was presented as the main cause of this war? When innocent bystanders die, like thousands of innocent Iraqis and soldiers, hundreds of American soldiers, there must be no hanky-panky allowed in this grievous matter.

“Citizens in a democracy accept deceiving an enemy during war. What is not acceptable is for a free government to mislead its own people to bring them around to supporting a war.” – E. J. Dionne Jr. writes in his opinion editorial in Washington Post. These are unpalatable for the neocons, but must be said for the sake of democracy.

Senator Hagel said, “The coin of the realm for everything in life, but especially for government and politics, is trust.” Heavy words. But unmistakably powerful notion that feed democracy, this is trust that people bestow to their government for the administration of their nation on their behalf, and this is trust, that must not be broken by anyone, even the superpower. E. J. Dionne is perfectly right about this.

Regards,
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
June 6, 2003


Spinning Away Trust

By E. J. Dionne Jr.

Friday, June 6, 2003; Page A27

It would seem an ungracious moment to challenge the Bush administration on whether it hyped the evidence to push Americans into endorsing the war in Iraq.

After all, one core claim of the war's supporters was vindicated on Wednesday when Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, his Palestinian counterpart, committed themselves to the president's pathway to peace. Defenders of the war always said that overthrowing Saddam Hussein would change the political dynamics of the Middle East. In the short term, at least, they have been proved right.

For the Bush administration's champions, such results -- and the simple fact that a wretched dictatorship has been overthrown -- should be enough. Those who insist on holding the administration accountable for the claims it made before the war, Bush allies say, are churlish losers. The president's friends at the Wall Street Journal editorial page noted that the war's opponents are so upset about Bush's success that they "are now trying to make a war crime out of the fact that the allies haven't yet found weapons of mass destruction."

But the president's defenders have it exactly backward. The people who should worry most about the credibility gap are those who support Bush's foreign policy.

If no weapons are found, and if the administration does not come clean about why it said what it said before the war, America's ability to rally the rest of the world against future threats will be greatly weakened. So will the president's ability to rally his own nation.

Citizens in a democracy accept deceiving an enemy during war. What is not acceptable is for a free government to mislead its own people to bring them around to supporting a war.

Whether the administration likes it or not, that is the suspicion it now confronts. And while the Bush team rarely listens to its opponents, it might consider paying attention to rumblings in Congress and the warnings coming even from those who supported the president on Iraq.

Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, still thinks the United States was right to fight the war. Under U.N. resolutions and the peace agreement after the 1991 Gulf War, he says, the burden was on Saddam Hussein "to prove that he had destroyed what the U.N. Security Council acknowledged he possessed, as certified by the U.N. weapons inspectors."

But Biden says the administration damaged itself by "hyping" the imminence of the threat from Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and his links with al Qaeda, and by greatly exaggerating his nuclear threat.

That makes it all the more urgent for the administration to either find the weapons or explain why it can't. "I think that unless they find what was documented before, or something in addition to that, I think our credibility is damaged among our friends and we've given significant political ammunition to our enemies," Biden said in an interview.

"There's no question," adds Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, "that the government's credibility is at issue on weapons of mass destruction, given the very strong statements of the president and the vice president" and members of the Cabinet. "Where are they?"

Hagel, like Biden, does not rule out the possibility that the weapons will be found. But both senators dismissed the president's claim that the discovery of two trailers allegedly used for weapons production proves that, as the president put it, "we have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The president referred to those labs again when he addressed U.S. troops in Qatar yesterday. But this time, he seemed to acknowledge the need for more convincing proof. "You know better than me he's got a big country to hide them in," Bush told the troops. "We're on the look. We'll reveal the truth."

The truth -- unvarnished and unspun -- is exactly what's required. "I'm not accusing anyone of anything right now," Hagel said yesterday, "but we have to get the facts out."

Maybe the weapons will turn up. Or perhaps the administration figures it can just ride out this challenge, as it has so many others since 9/11, and move on to other things. But as Hagel says, "the coin of the realm for everything in life, but especially for government and politics, is trust." That dictum applies even to superpowers. Two trailers and the fact that Iraq is a big country may cut it with the president's base, but not with the rest of the world.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21731-2003Jun5.html

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