September 14, 2004

Truth

In these troubling, uncertain times post 9/11, it is extraordinarily difficult to ascertain truth in the tangled, and often covertly manipulated information that we are given from our governments and media. To even assume that we are not given truth, is blasphemy among some quarters.

Truth is an object of knowledge that captures an unalterable phenomenon in reality. In science, truth is established through empirical observations that are later validated by independent teams of scientists, who repeat an experiment over and over.

In politics, truth is a little trickier to pin down, because political opponents must always out-do each other, by trying to convince the public that they are telling the truth. However, the truth is often not enough to bring political success to a candidate, and so truth is either embellished or discarded. The educated electorate will select their favourite candidate based on who presents an argument that seems, at least, the closest approximation of truth in their opinion. The politically ignorant, on the other hand, will simply accept the arguments of the candidate they find most charismatic.

During the run-up to the Iraq War, Bush and his team successfully spun a reality based upon faulty intelligence, regarding WMD and links between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Opponents of Bush, such as former UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, battled to contradict what they believed were blatant lies from the Bush administration.

Yet, with great skill, through repetition of specific statements, Bush succeeded in shaping reality for a vast number of Americans who embraced his views, believing that there was a direct link between Saddam and 9/11. The WMD issue was easier to accept, due to the ruthless dictator's use of such weapons on the Kurds in 1988. The repeated images of dead Kurds, reinforced the fears that he still had such weapons, even though former UN inspectors insisted that most of his WMD had been destroyed after the First Gulf War.

As time has proven, Saddam did not possess WMD, and was not an immediate clear and present danger to the US. After the blatant lies that were presented in the run-up to the conflict, it is amazing to see Bush's true agenda for the invasion, still remain draped in more lies for the "ignorant" masses.

Evidence has been clambering out from many sources that Iraq was a priority for Bush well before 9/11, and well before he entered office. Immediately after 9/11, memos from Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, demanded that a link be established between 9/11 and Saddam, regardless of having any basis in truth.

Sadly, the Neo-Conservatives who dominate the Bush administration, openly believe that the general public does not have the right to be privy to the truth. Leo Strauss, the founding father of the Neo-Conservative movement, said that "essential truth about human society and history should be held by an elite and withheld from others who lack the fortitude to deal with truth." The election will tell us how successful Bush's smoke-and-mirrors show has been.

In the meantime, let us remember the far more positive words of Robert Kennedy: "The greatest truth must be recognition that in every man, in every child is the potential for greatness." That's a truth I can live with.

- El-Branden Brazil -

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