Truth, Lies and Weapons of Mass Destruction ; They Almost Enjoy Implying, `So What If We Made It Up, What's Anyone Going to Do about It?'

Article excerpt

I think I've detected a new type of Gulf War Syndrome, a shocking disease that attacks the nervous system. It afflicts anyone defending the latest Gulf war, making them see piles of imaginary weapons. For example, one American soldier, interviewed after his regiment shot dead 14 demonstrating Iraqis, said his regiment was under attack, adding: "It was like the Alamo out there." Yet not a single US soldier or US thing of any nature was dented by a bullet.

Or maybe the soldier was telling the truth, and at the Alamo the Americans came under siege from a terrifying horde of Mexicans carrying placards. And their leader cried: "Abandon the fort, amigo, or you leave us with no choice but to chant slogans. And I warn you, I have the fastest megaphone in Texas."

But this is a mild attack compared with the alarming delusions of those victims who, for a year before the war, were certain they were in the presence of weapons of mass destruction. Now Donald Rumsfeld is suggesting the reason they can't be found is because they were destroyed before the war started. So we went to war to rid Saddam of weapons that were already destroyed. We had no choice in this, because the destroyed weapons could have been used against us, or fallen into the hands of al-Qa'ida, who would then have been able to take them down the council dump or maybe sell them for scrap. In any case, as he'd destroyed his weapons of mass destruction, this meant he couldn't hand any over to weapons inspectors, which was a flagrant breach of UN resolution 1441. If he wanted to comply with the UN he'd have built a nuclear plant so he could hand it over, but typically he had no interest in co-operating.

The lack of actual weapons is a little embarrassing for the British Government, so you get statements like that made by Jack Straw when he said it didn't make much difference that there was no "literal" evidence. If only we weren't so bureaucratic and were happy to accept conceptual evidence or imaginary evidence or evidence in which Jack Straw puts an ashtray on the table and says: "So let's say this is his bunker. Then this salt pot here is his anthrax. Well there you are, there's his weapons of mass destruction."

Then there's astrological evidence, documented evidence from tea leaves, evidence that Nostradamus predicted a man with a moustache would threaten the land of the eagle with deadly vapour, but knee- jerk anti-Americans persist in demanding the literal type. …