Using ends to justify means

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  • Published 20040907
  • ISBN: 9780733314537
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

THE FIRST FOUR years of the 21st century have produced enough strange and unsettling developments to haunt a far longer period. They include the September 11 attacks and widespread terrorism by suicide bombing; the descent into savage despair in that wellspring of hatred and violence, the Israeli-Palestinian problem; the opening of a dangerous gulf of misunderstanding between the United States and much of the rest of the world; the growing, and terrifying, threat of nuclear proliferation; and the proclamation by the US of the policy of preventive and pre-emptive war and at least one questionable experiment with it. The relative optimism that attended the beginning of the century has largely evaporated.

That the actual threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) was, as it turns out, flagrantly misrepresented, continues to preoccupy the Western press and to erode the reputations of several Western leaders. Disarming Iraq Hans Blix (Pantheon, 2004) and the Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly, CMG by Lord Hutton are both retrospective studies of aspects of this complex subject, the one a memoir of the attempt to deal with the Iraqi threat by inspection and disarmament, the other an inquiry into a single tragic episode that transfixed the United Kingdom and threatened the career of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Both books raise important questions about the conduct of national as well as international affairs in the future.

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About the author

Brian Urquhart

Brian Urquhart is a former Undersecretary-General of the United Nations.His books include Hammarskjøld, A Life in Peace and War, and Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey. He...

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