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WMD Scandal: The Arab Silence Perplexing

WMD Scandal: The Arab Silence Perplexing


By Ramzy Baroud

Weapons of mass destruction scandals are gaining momentum in the United States as well as Britain. The two major war allies, who violated Iraq’s sovereignty without an international mandate last year, are now scrambling to show that they were simply behaving with honorable motives when they marched to Baghdad, leaving behind uncounted corpses of innocent Iraqis.

The intelligence was botched, tampered with and “sexed up”. As a result, an inquiry in the US is about to unfold while new ones (aside from the baffling Hutton report that oddly enough exonerated British Prime Minister Tony Blair) are expected to unleash in Britain soon. Analysts everywhere predict the scandals to persist for quite a while. Political scapegoats have either been located, or are in the making: The BBC is paying for Blair’s inflated intelligence, while the CIA’s George Tenet is a likely candidate to carry the brunt of the Americans’ own fraudulent war pretenses.

Expectedly, the opposition in both countries is learning how to exploit the WMD sham to their favor. US Democratic presidential candidates’ nitpicking obliged President George Bush to agree to an independent inquiry. “I, too, want to know the facts,” a suddenly doubtful Bush told reporters. Meanwhile in Britain, despite his undeserved exoneration, one can hardly claim that Blair emerged from the tragic death of Dr. David Kelly unscathed; the prime minister’s record is now dotted with discord. The British public is little impressed with his performance, especially with people such as Robin Cook tailgating him. “Now that even the White House has admitted they may have got it wrong, it’s embarrassing to watch our government still trying to deny reality. The game is up,” the former foreign secretary said.

Every frivolous detail that was once seen as fleeting and inconsequential is likely to be brought up, time and again. I wonder if we’ve seen the last of BBC’s Andrew Gilligan. But, it’s almost certain that former US Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neil, who revealed Bush’s intentions to oust Saddam Hussein from power before the attacks of Sept. 11, will make more informative TV appearances in the near future. The political consequence of his revelation is now more pertinent than ever before.

But still, justice is far from being served in Iraq. Little can be done to bring back those who so unjustly perished, the collateral damage of Bush’s quest to rid the world of alleged weapons of mass destruction. Much is still at stake for this corroding Arab country, whose freedom from tyranny came at a more unbearable price, a vile occupation with an unmatched disregard for human rights. Not a day passes, without Iraqi blood being shed, in the name of “liberty and freedom”. Nonetheless, one can hardly hide an inner reverberation of moral vindication.

Those who genuinely opposed the war knew that hell was about to break loose in Iraq, considering the many alarming factors already at play, including the fundamentalist mindset of Bush’s ruling elite, rooted in a strange mix of religious zealots, ideologues and corporate interests. This moral vindication must be used to recharge efforts to bring an end to the international crisis created by this band, which shrewdly employed the justified fear of terrorism to espouse recalculated wars, evoking more anxiety and greater chances of violence.

Yet, what I find most disheartening, is the inability of Arab governments to assume any significant role in holding the American and British governments accountable for their deceit.

After all, long after the immanent departure of the invading armies, it’s the Arab world that will be left with the responsibility of patching up the future of the region, of which Iraq is key. Allowing the US and Britain to maintain their pre-emptive logic will keep Arab countries in the center of Washington and London’s war games. What it greatly needed is a collective and robust international stand, centered in the Arab world, aimed at countering the seemingly unchallenged US foreign policies and imperial designs.

To achieve this, Arabs must cease falling into their reactive role, only rejecting accusations of aiding or harboring terrorists, but never proactive in confronting Washington and its neoconservative band. Destabilizing the US and British administrations in this particular time is essential, but only useful as a short-term strategy. For the long run, a more concrete and viable alliance must be forged, where countries that oppose such unwarranted military occupation as Iraq’s, along with Arab countries, work to remove the shadow of war and uncertainly imposed by the US and its so-called coalition. Arabs must abandon their standard position of simply fighting off accusations, but in fact take part in the pressure campaign mounting against those who led an illegitimate war in hunt for weapons that only seemed to exist in “sexed up” intelligence reports.

- Ramzy Baroud is an American-Arab journalist.

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