Chapter 107: A Good Question

Previous: Free At Last!

Robin Cook resigned in protest
but drew no support from his 'peers.'
Mycroft looked more confused than convinced, but he stood and drank with us.

Then, settling once more upon the couch, he spoke again.

"Thank you very much, gentlemen," he said, "but you raise more questions than you answer."

"Ask, then," replied his brother.

"You have made serious allegations against the Foreign Office. Can you support them?"

"Certainly," said Sherlock. "It may take some time to satisfy you. But we have plenty of time. Where should we begin? Let's start with a question. Why did the United States invade Iraq?"

"Weapons of mass destruction," replied Mycroft.

"What weapons of mass destruction did Iraq have?" asked Sherlock.

"Um," said Mycroft.

"No such weapons were ever found," continued Sherlock. "Was that a surprise to you?"

"Um," said Mycroft.

Hans Blix led a team of UN inspectors
who found no weapons in Iraq.
"It was common knowledge that Iraq had no such weapons. Does the name Hans Blix ring a bell?"

"Um," said Mycroft.

"Surely you remember Hans Blix," insisted Sherlock, "the Swede who was in Iraq, leading a team of weapons inspectors from the United Nations. I heard reports from him every day in the months before the war began. And all of his reports said more or less the same thing: 'We can go anywhere we want. We can see anything we want. Nobody stops us from going anywhere or looking at anything. But we haven't found any weapons.' Do you not remember that?"

"We were told," said Mycroft, "that the Iraqis most certainly had such weapons. Did you know Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Africa?"

"Oh, nonsense!" replied his brother. "That story was fabricated, and everybody knew it. Do you mean to say the Foreign Office was unaware of the deception?"

"Um," said Mycroft.

"Um what?" replied Sherlock. "I've heard enough 'um.' Speak, man!"

Mycroft paused for a very uncomfortable moment, while his younger brother glared at him.

It was common knowledge
that Iraq had no such weapons.
"We were under enormous pressure," he said at last.

"Pressure to tell the truth?" asked Sherlock. "Pressure to protect the innocent?"

"Not exactly," said Mycroft.

"I didn't think so," said Sherlock. "Did you ever get the impression that this pressure was being applied by honourable men acting on honourable motives?"

"Um," said Mycroft.

"Or did you just not have enough spine to stand up to it?" asked Sherlock.

Mycroft turned and twisted, clearly becoming even more uncomfortable, but he did not speak.

"Do you happen to remember Robin Cook?" asked Sherlock.

"Yes, of course," replied Mycroft. "He was my superior, for a time."

"Until he spoke out about what was happening, one time too many," said Sherlock. "Then what?"

"Um," said Mycroft.

"The he was shuffled out of the Foreign Office," said Sherlock, "to a position from which he could do less damage to the government. But he still couldn't support the rush to war, over which he resigned in protest and disgust.

"And what support did he get from Parliament? Oh, they stood and cheered his speech, but did they change their ways? Of course not.

"What support did he get from the rest of Cabinet? Did any of them resign along with him?

"What did he get from the Foreign Office?" continued Sherlock. "Did you you stand up for him? Did anybody?"

"Um," said Mycroft.

Shock and Awe: Iraq burns because of a lie...
"Um, indeed," replied Sherlock. "And we all know what happened next. Or at least we should. The information is freely available, even if it isn't common knowledge. The US, aided by the UK and several other countries, bombed and invaded Iraq, setting off waves of violence and chaos that will not subside in our lifetime. The Americans set up death squads, instigated sectarian conflicts, bombed mosques and marketplaces, captured innocent people by the tens of thousands and tortured them -- all with British help.

"The occupation has continued for years, during which they have killed millions of innocent people, injured millions of others, and driven millions more into exile. Those who remain have lost everything: their water, their power, their schools, their hospitals, their museums -- everything!

"Everything the Iraqi people once had is destroyed. No building of any size is still intact. The landscape is poisoned with radioactivity from the depleted uranium the Americans use to make bullets and shells. And the most horrible birth defects are turning up everywhere.

"All this and more was done to a country that had never harmed the US, the UK, or any of the other aggressors, and never intended to, and never could have done so.

"... setting off waves of violence and chaos
that will not subside in our lifetime."
"All this and more was 'justified' by a pack of lies which were quite obviously false, such as the story about weapons of mass destruction, which was disseminated widely and relentlessly, even though Iraq had no such weapons, and even though weapons inspectors on the ground at the time were finding nothing!

"And what did you do about all this?" asked Sherlock. "What did you do other than succumb to the pressure, keep your mouth shut, and allow the lies to circulate unopposed?"

"Are you accusing me," asked Mycroft, "of complicity in the deliberate destruction of an entire country, and the murder of millions of innocent people?"

"Oh, no," said Sherlock. "I would never do such a thing. If you have been put under accusation, it was by your own conscience, not by me. I am merely stating the horrible facts, and asking the obvious questions.

"It is not for me to accuse you," continued my friend. "And by the same token, it is not for me to forgive you."

"Do you think I am in need of forgiveness?" asked Mycroft.

"Do you?" replied his brother. "Honestly?"

"Honestly?" repeated Mycroft. "Honestly? Oh, God, what have I done?"

"That's a good question," answered Sherlock.