OPINION

Truth and clumsy lies

In just a short paragraph, Greece’s leadership managed to convey the confusion it finds itself in, in its effort to conceal yet another truth from the people of this country. «Greece is not participating and will not be involved in the war,» said Prime Minister Costas Simitis two days ago. And just two lines further down in the text of the same speech, he said: «Greece will abide by any commitments it has made in treaties and agreements it has signed.» It was an extremely clumsy way of hiding the truth, but for the prime minister it was clearly the only way he could stay on the tightrope he has been walking for the past few weeks. Greece, as a member of NATO, adopted an anti-European position (disagreeing with France, Germany and Belgium) by agreeing to provide support for Turkey in the event of an Iraq war. Through its bilateral defense agreements with the US, Greece is obliged to provide a number of facilities to American armed forces heading for the Gulf once again. Otherwise, Greece «is not involved» in the war. The political leadership does not have the courage to assume its responsibilities to its citizens in this major international crisis. Whether we like it or not, our country is involved in an undertaking whose final cost no one can know. It doesn’t require much brainpower to realize that «involvement» in a war these days does not necessarily mean sending troops into combat, or that Greek planes need to bomb Iraq. By its stance in NATO and its commitments to the US based on specific agreements, Greece is participating in this war. The fact that this might be a problem for the country’s leadership is of concern to no one in the rest of the world. The only thing the prime minister has achieved by his stance is to lose credibility with a public that is well aware of the true state of affairs regarding Greece’s participation in the war.