I’m confused, can anyone help me? – Part 4

Neil Clark
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
AFP Photo / Frederick Florin
I’m confused. The first thing I’m confused about is the suspension of NBC news anchor Brian Williams. Williams said he’d been in a helicopter which had come under fire in the Iraq war when he hadn’t been.

He told a lie about what had happened to him, but it was a lie which didn’t cause anyone to lose their lives. But those politicians and “experts” who lied us into the Iraq war in the first place, by falsely claiming that Saddam Hussein had WMDs which could be assembled within “45 minutes” have not been suspended. Why is it considered a more serious offence for a news anchor to tell a lie about being in a helicopter, than it is for politicians and pundits to tell us lies which led to an illegal war in which up to 1 million people have been killed? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m also confused about the stance of the western elites towards fascists and Nazis.

We’ve recently been commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Red Army, but President Putin of Russia was not invited to the ceremony in Poland. The western elites keep telling us how much they oppose Nazism – and why it’s a case of “Never Again” – yet in the Ukraine conflict they supported a violent putsch in which fascists and neo-Nazis played a leading role.

If the western elites are so opposed to far-right extremists, why have they been on the same side as them in Ukraine? Does “Never Again” actually mean, “Never Again, but we’ll make some exceptions for Ukraine?” You’d also think that laughing at the Holocaust was a definite no-no, but an exhibition in NATO member state Estonia encourages us to do just that – and there’s been no condemnation from western elites. And the leading western oil company Royal Dutch Shell is using a ship named after a Nazi war criminal.

Reuters / Darren Hauck

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused about possession of weapons of mass destruction and their ability to deter attack. The British political class says we must renew Trident (Britain’s nuclear weapons system) because without it the UK might be attacked. Trident is a “deterrent,” we are told. But a few years ago, the British political class told us we had to attack Iraq precisely because it did possess WMDs.

If the elite believed Iraq had WMDs in 2003 – and ones that could be deployed in “45 minutes,” then why, according to their own logic of “deterrence,” did they attack the country?

As the writer David Lindsay noted on Twitter:

“No country with nukes has ever been invaded? Weren't we supposed to believe that Iraq *did* have them, hence our own ‘need’ to invade Iraq?”

The same elites have also accused Iran of trying secretly to develop nuclear weapons – saying that Iran has no need to have such weapons. But if nukes can deter an attack on Britain, why can’t they also deter an attack on Iran? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused about the west’s commitment to democracy. We’re told repeatedly that the west supports democratic governments and doesn’t like undemocratic ones. But when Hugo Chavez, the four-time democratically elected leader of Venezuela, died in 2013, there were no glowing tributes to him from western leaders. By contrast, King Abdullah, the unelected ruler of Saudi Arabia – a country where there is no democracy – was hailed as a “man of wisdom and vision.” Glenn Greenwald wrote about the very different White House reactions to the deaths of Chavez and Abdullah here.

And here is the take of the media monitoring group Media Lens.

Surely if we’re supporters of democracy we should be lauding the democrat and not the unelected despot? Yet, with Chavez and King Abdullah it’s been the other way round. I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused too about the MH17 air disaster. When the plane came down last July, western leaders and neocon commentators were very quick to blame Russia. Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper even had “Putin’s Missile” on its front page. But six months on, it’s all gone very quiet about MH17. An investigation into the disaster began – but like the Chilcot Report, we‘re still waiting for the findings. People who couldn‘t stop talking about the crash last July – and blaming Russia for it – have gone rather quiet. If Russia really was responsible, then surely we’d have seen the evidence by now? And why aren’t the people who accused Russia interested in this issue any more? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused about Israel and its role in the war against Islamic State. Israel – which we‘re told is on the same side as the west in the “war on terror” – bombed Syria in January, but not to bomb ISIS positions, but Hezbollah fighters and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard who were in Syria to help government forces fight ISIS and other jihadi extremists.

It’s not the first time Israel has bombed Syria in recent months – but each time it’s attacked forces supporting the secular Syrian government.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane (MH17).(Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)

If Israel is on the west’s side in the fight against Islamic State, why is it bombing people who are fighting against Islamic State? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused – very confused – about freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The west’s political elite made a big thing of their support for freedom of speech and freedom of expression in the light of the Charlie Hebdo killings.

We were told by some people that freedom of speech meant nothing if it didn’t mean the freedom to cause offense. Yet shortly after the Paris killings, a French comedian was arrested for expressing his feelings on a Facebook post.

Over 60 people were arrested in France, not for things they did, but for things they wrote about the Charlie Hebdo attacks on social media. Do we believe in free speech and free expression – and the right to cause offense – or don’t we? Or does it apply only if we want to express some views but not others? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused also about certain western “journalists” who seem to spend half their waking hours obsessively attacking RT and the people who appear on it. If these critics hate RT so much, then why do they keep watching it? After all, watching RT is not compulsory. These “critics” claim to support media plurality, yet some of them have openly called for national broadcasting regulators to take action against RT. In other words they’re supporters of free speech and free expression who want to silence free speech and free expression! I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

Neil Clark’s I’m Confused, can anyone help me Parts One, Two and Three.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.