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The Road To Democracy

The Road To DemocracyOn campus last week for a one-day conference on weapons of mass destruction, former United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix discussed WMD and the war in Iraq.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [10.24.05] Hans Blix, chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, emphasized the importance of critical thinking as it relates to such weapons during a speech at a one-day conference sponsored by The Fletcher School on Oct. 21.

“The need for critical thinking is my overriding message to you today,” Blix told a crowd at the Non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Current Challenges and New Approaches conference. “With avian flu around the corner we are glad that our scientists and health institutions are working with more critical minds and more knowledge. Yet, our public arena is full of unsubstantiated or exaggerated assertions.”

Blix, the former United Nations chief weapons inspector, said the United States misled itself and the entire world about the presence of WMD in Iraq leading up to the war, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

Although he doesn’t believe that the Bush administration “deliberately misled” people, he thinks that “they misled themselves…And then they misled the world,” according to the newspaper.

At a press conference after his speech, Blix explained that “the administration interpreted satellite pictures and Iraqi defectors' information as evidence that weapons existed in Iraq,” according to the Globe report. In his opinion, that information was inconclusive, he told reporters.

''They took things they saw as conclusive," he said, according to the Globe. ''They were not critically thinking. They wanted to come to these conclusions."

Blix, who headed the inspection team before the US-led military action in Iraq, pointed out during his speech that, of the 700 sites inspectors visited in Iraq, “we didn’t find anything,” the Globe reported.

During his speech, Blix compared the United States to “an impatient Mars quick to use its strong military force to solve problems.” He likened Europe to “a patient Venus, eschewing force and endlessly negotiating solutions.”

In the conclusion of his talk, he shared with the Tufts community his hope that, when it comes to arms control in the international community, Venus’ approach “will…prevail at the global level.”












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