Thursday, April 3, 2003

Interesting article by James Bowman on Saddam, Lies and Honor

Of course there can hardly be any doubt that the end of the barbarous Hussein regime is a good in itself and a boon to humanity -- especially to the Iraqis themselves, many of whom chose to die in defense of it. Yet it would never have come about if only Hussein himself had been open and forthcoming about his weapons of mass destruction. Why would he not have been more honest and open with the inspectors in order to save his regime? Is he, like some liars, so accustomed to lying that he can't tell the truth to save his life?

I don't think this is the answer. We may yet find the nerve gases and the anthrax that President Bush promised us were there, but even if we do, I believe that it is not improbable that Saddam Hussein would have refused to give them up even if he hadn't had any. The point isn't that he wanted these weapons for their own sake, either to use or to threaten to use. He just couldn't be seen to accede to the demands, still less to the threats, of an outside power. This is because of the way an honor culture works.