Lying is very common in politics. A politician once said: “We do not lie, we only rationalize on saying the truth”. Political science professor John J Mearsheimer wrote a book titled ‘Why Leaders Lie’, which analyzes lying in international politics.
The book is very interesting and was published by Knowledge World (Alam Al-Maarifah) after they responded to my request to translate it to Arabic to make it handy for everybody. Inquiries have been going on in Britain about the volume of lies and media manipulation former PM Tony Blair’s government had used to justify participating in the war in Iraq.
Pressure groups were formed by the families of soldiers who had fought and were killed or injured there. Such pressure created public opinion against Blair’s party and negatively viewed its performance.
As a result of that pressure, an inquiry committee was formed under judge John Chilcot to investigate the circumstances of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
It is obvious that some fingers are being pointed at Blair and his media advisors and spokesperson Alastair Campbell, accusing them of faking media reports about the war in Iraq politically costing Blair so much.
It seems that the Iraq curse will haunt Blair forever, as a few days ago, the Daily Mail published a US document in which Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state during the George W Bush presidency, talked about Britain’s preparations for war in March 2002 – that is one full year before the war.
In the document, Powell explained that Blair had volunteered to fabricate some media news to support war plans and that he never had any vision concerning a plan for the aftermath of the war.
So, this was what Blair told Powell, while at the same time, he used to tell the media he was working hard on reaching a diplomatic solution and that Iraq could have avoided the war if all WMDs, that actually never existed except in Blair’s and Campbell’s propaganda campaigns and media, had been handed over.
Naturally enough, this is but one example of lies in politics. However, such practices are very common in our Arab region, especially in the absence of independent media monitoring apparatuses to expose such lies.
So, is lying an integral part of politics? Does every politician have to lie in order to boost his/her political career? Those are just two opened and unanswered questions.
—Translated by Kuwait Times
By Prof Ghanim Al-Najjar