We all, all of us watched Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN Security Council about the impending and real danger presented by Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. He pointed to first-hand eyewitnesses to the weapons. It was the defining moment leading up to an avoidable war. And it was all a lie.
The Guardian reported last week that the defector known as “Curveball” who provided the intel used to make the assertions of Iraq’s WMD program believable had lied. He simply made it all all up. He has no regrets for what he did. His lies helped remove his native land’s cruel dictator, which also helped the world.
The lies he told are not the fascinating element to this story. No, the fact that they were so easily believed by millions around the world is the real story. People, especially those in the US still bruised from 9/11, wanted, needed something to believe. Curveball provided “the details” we needed to hear. Colin Powell gave them credibility. And, of course, the rest is history.
Mankind’s history is replete with misplaced beliefs that furthered on causes at the expense of another. Hitler told lies about the Jews and people believed. McCarthy told lies about supposed communists and people believed. The lies told are not nearly as interesting as those who believe them and then act in accordance with the wishes of the liars.
It is as I often say — the problem is not liars, it is the believers.