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From Scheuer to Blair

You Only Get the Truth From Former Officials

by BOUTHAINA SHAABAN

Warning us about the Obama administration’s submission to Israeli pressure, in an interview with Lebanon’s OTV, Michael Scheuer, a former senior CIA officer, said: “Three hundred million Americans could wake up tomorrow to discover that a foreign leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, led them to war with Iran, which might lead to war with the rest of the Muslim world”.   He added, “Israel has no value whatsoever when it comes to American interests.  It does not produce or give us anything we need.  The only thing we get from it is that it is leading us to a religious war it seeks with Islam”.

Documents released by the National Security Archives Center, after having been declassified, show that hours after the 9/11 attacks, former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld talked about attacking Iraq – according to minutes of a meeting held that day – and asked for “evidence which shows an alleged relationship between the former head of the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda leader”.  The United States acknowledged later that no relation existed between the former Iraqi regime and the 9/11 attacks.  Nevertheless, it went ahead with invading Iraq.

In his memoirs, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted that “there was no evidence to prove Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda”, or that it possessed mass destruction weapons”.  The decision to invade Iraq was taken on the first day that George W. Bush and his team took office.

Shall we wait, every time, for a certain official responsible for waging a war to retire, to know the real objective of that war?  The more important question is: why do not Western officials, who play leading roles in their countries with impact on the lives of millions of people in other countries, dare say the truth and behave accordingly?  Why do they, in moments such as the attack on Iraq, toe the line of other forces and reduce themselves to mere instruments?  The answer might be that these forces are capable of putting an end to their political existence altogether under one pretext or another.

If we examine what is happening today, in light of what happened in the past, we find that the six countries involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program state repeatedly that they “prefer a diplomatic solution with Iran”.  President Obama, during his election campaign, said he “does not want or intend to strike Iran”.  Who then is drumming up war against Iran?  And who is drumming up war against it or against Lebanon every time the prospects of a peaceful settlement looms in the horizon? 

There are two main factors here: the first is that most mainstream Western media are sympathetic to Israel.  That is why most Western officials do not dare say the truth when it comes to Israel’s crimes.  They might whisper in private, or write in their memoirs after they leave office and become ‘former’ officials about the racist reality of Israel.  But it is rare to find a Western official prepared to sacrifice his position to reveal the truth.  That is why private memoirs of ‘former’ officials shed light on past events.  But we should learn the lesson from past decisions which brought destruction and disasters to millions of people in order to avoid similar ones which could bring the world similar disasters.

The second factor is that Arabs in general still deal with the United States, which gives billions of dollars worth of weapons to Israel, in addition to the money given to expand settlements and support settlers, as if it were neutral and an honest broker between Arabs and Israelis. Not an honst broker?  They only need to recall footage of American Secretary of State Hilary Clinton arriving in occupied Palestine and received by Shimon Peres, holding his hands and massaging them with warmth and affection.  She did so, as if she had not heard the racist statements of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who said about the Arabs, on the Jewish New Year celebrations, “God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians”; and as if she did not hear of Israeli soldier Eden Aberjil, after she posted photos of her blindfolded Palestinian prisoners on Facebook, “I would enjoy killing Arabs”.  All this racism did not merit a word of condemnation from any Western official.

BOUTHAINA SHAABAN is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria. She can be reached through nizar_kabibo@yahoo.com