Come clean, America

It is 12 January 2003 and US president Bush has rallied his troops for what he calls “The first war of the 21st century”. What is your view of this crisis, where, briefly, do you stand? This is the question we are putting to people around the world, especially those with their own public reputation and following. Our aim, to help create a truly global debate all can identify with.
Eyal Weizman
12 January 2003

Nobody has yet managed to provide a good explanation why - even in its own terms - America needs to go to war with Iraq.

Could it be that the true, missing relation between its rhetoric and its plans lies well beyond our ability to see only two steps ahead?

For the latter possibility I have a 1960s technophobic-fantasy version. Somewhere at the renovated Pentagon there is a giant computer that simulates possible scenarios when you press ‘play’. It is a kind of an ‘international relations laboratory’ that runs alternative futures in fast forward mode.

Maybe when they ran it often enough, it no longer came up with deadly urban warfare in Iraq, a massive humanitarian problem or a wave of global terrorism. Maybe Sharon withdrew from the West Bank and established Palestine. Maybe Iran, rubbing shoulders with half a million Americans, switched to the west again. Maybe Saudi Arabia brought science back into its textbooks.

This is a simple call for the American administration to come clean - and tell us what the end-game is (or put the software on the web), and why what we think willhappen will not happen. In an age when even ‘good causes’ are questionable, how can we be expected to accept something whose relation to any cause or common-sense is so feeble? And yet we do.

Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.

See also Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. II


How can Americans fight dark money and disinformation?

Violence, corruption and cynicism threaten America's flagging democracy. Joe Biden has promised to revive it – but can his new administration stem the flow of online disinformation and shady political financing that has eroded the trust of many US voters?

Hear from leading global experts and commentators on what the new president and Congress must do to stem the flood of dark money and misinformation that is warping politics around the world.

Join us on Thursday 21 January, 5pm UK time/12pm EST.

Hear from:

Emily Bell Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism and director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

Anoa Changa Journalist focusing on electoral justice, social movements and culture

Peter Geoghegan openDemocracy investigations editor and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Josh Rudolph Fellow for Malign Finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy 

Further speakers to be announced

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