As a youngster growing up in a police family, I always heard talk of “securing the crime scene”. So fascinated was I with the concept that I got my late dad to bring me home remnants of the bright yellow “crime scene” tape used to encircle crime scenes and, thereby, keep out people who might plant, tamper with or destroy evidence. (Indeed, our government’s record of bulldozing the crime scenes at Waco and Oklahoma City, makes such securing even more imperative.)
Watching our search for “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, I am at once struck by the failure to secure the crime scene. By this, I do not mean having troops and tanks stationed about–these forces represent the aggressive power (the U.S.) and, some contend, violators of international law.
If the U.S. seriously wanted to prove its case before the world, it would have immediately sought U.N-stationed security forces around suspect facilities and reinstatement of the arms-inspection mission. This would have done much to assuage any world doubts as to the authenticity of evidence “uncovered”.
Now, the fact that no such weapons have yet been found proves to my satisfaction that none existed that in any conceivable way could have posed a threat to the U.S. Almost daily, however, we are fed a stream of “information” about “smoking guns”–nerve agents that turn out to be pesticides, nuclear weapons that turn out to be opened waste canisters, etc.
No doubt, when the purported “smoking gun” is found–and it has got to be found–a stream of Iraqi generals will come forth with waterfalls of testimony and evidence. (This brings to mind the more than 20 German officers who had testicles amputated after the Second War due to being repeatedly kicked in them to extort atrocity confessions.) And, no doubt, the average G.I.s who find the “evidence” will be impeccably honest, clean-cut American boys.
If I were a juror in an imaginary trial involving such found evidence, I feel I’d have to ignore it because the U.S. “world police” failed to secure the crime scene. I think many in the world will feel the same way.