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Is G W Bush's foreign policy ethical or is it just murderous blather?

By Joe Siracusa - posted Thursday, 28 August 2003

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable, for in politics there is no honour.
-Benjamin Disraeli

To expect that politicians should always tell the truth, keep their bargains and not subvert the public trust is probably too idealistic.

Perhaps the only important thing is that they should not be so indifferent as to be caught out.


All's fair in love, war and politics.

But the argument is certainly one of ethics, though the threshold is not necessarily an absolute, but rather one where people might say, "They have gone too far this time."

A number of recent crises in foreign affairs has raised considerable alarm, as well as a resurgence in the ethics of international relations.

The war in Iraq is the latest case in point, with the questions surrounding Iraq's putative missing weapons of mass destruction taking on added urgency.

Where are the massive stockpiles of VX, mustard and other nerve agents that we were told Saddam Hussein was hoarding? Where are the thousands of gallons of botulinim toxin? Where are the components of his nuclear aresenal?

The stark reality is that two months after the fall of Baghdad, the United States, together with its allies, has yet to find any physical evidence of those lethal weapons.


Could they be buried underground? Were they destroyed before hostilities? Have they been shipped out of the country? Do they actually exist?

Equally important, how reliable were the claims of the Coalition of the Willing that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed a clear and present danger to the international order, so much so that a preventive war was justified?

Today, it is clear that not only was the intelligence on which these claims were based was doubtful, but also that our political leaders probably lied to us.

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About the Author

Dr Joe Siracusa is a visiting fellow in the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, Griffith University.

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