HOW MANY MORE SCANDALS CAN WE TAKE?

JOHN MCGURK

Hard on the heels of the Volkswagen emissions and World Cup football bribery scandals comes the revelation that world athletics is also immersed in cheating, extortion and cover-up.

Yesterday’s report from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which concludes that Russia should be banned from international athletics because of state sponsored doping, confirms long-held suspicions that too many sporting performances are boosted by drugs.

A laboratory in Moscow managed to destroy 1400 suspected samples which may well have confirmed just how widespread the practice is.

The fact that officials at the top of international athletics, in particular its 82 year-old former president, are accused of accepting bribes to cover-up the scandal, is arguably just as great a crime.

Seb Coe, the ennobled one hailed as the mastermind behind the London 2012 Olympics now marred by the revelations, must be wishing he had accepted the job as Director General of the BBC rather than the new boss of world athletics, the IAAF.

Given that Lord Coe has been at the top of athletics since he won his gold medals, it’s perhaps surprising that he is so shocked by what has been going on. Whether he is now the right person to clean up athletics is open to question.

But how many more scandals like this can we take?

In amongst all of the above shockers is a book out this week which tops the lot because it reveals just how dangerous a place the world became under George W. Bush the 43rd President of the United States.

The book is an authorised biography of his father, George Bush senior the 41st President, who blames power-mad advisers for poisoning his son’s presidency thereby stoking up the terrorism and instability which threatens the world today.

Tempting as it is to suggest that this is an attempt to rewrite Dubya’s toxic legacy, his father has outlined a scandalous indictment of what was really going on in the White House and the Pentagon in the run-up to and during the War on Terror.

The finger is pointed very firmly towards “iron-ass” vice president Dick Cheney and “kick-ass” defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the “vulcans” who are accused of running riot in their attempts to impose their will on the world after the tragic events of 9/11.

Destiny and Power: the American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham sends shivers down the spine as it describes how these men went about the business of running the world’s most powerful military machine and advising the President.

Cheney in particular was a more dangerous figure than anyone knew. Apparently, he made repeated trips to CIA headquarters in Langley to bully analysts into preparing reports advising military interventions.

Bush senior reveals that when Cheney was defence secretary he commissioned a study on how many tactical nuclear weapons would be required to eliminate a division of Saddam’s republican guard.

The answer which came back was 17.

It’s also claimed that he wanted to use what’s described as low-yield nuclear bunker busters against Iraq’s underground uranium enrichment facilities.

Old man Bush says that Rumsfeld used the same bullying tactics at the Pentagon where he continually demanded evidence from dubious Iraqi exiles about Saddam’s regime and why it should be extinguished.

Bush senior, now 91, says of Rumsfeld there was a “lack of humanity…a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks. I think he served the President badly.

“I don’t like what he did and I think it hurt the President having his iron-ass view of everything.”

History, of course, is littered with such scandals but how much more evidence do we need to conclude that corruption and lust for power is now an everyday occurrence?

 

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