Suppose your husband is acting rather distantly. You suspect he is having an affair. He denies it but, in due course, you are proven right. Husband is contrite, you are forgiving. A few years later you notice the same symptoms of distance. Is he having an affair? You ask him. He denies it. Do you believe him? And, in a nutshell, we have the problem of trust. Why should you believe his declarations? Would your girl-friends advise you to be very wary? Quite frankly you need an unimpeachable source and your husband just doesn't cut it.
Now we hear the claim that the Syrian government has unleashed chemical weapons on the rebel insurgency. The US is outraged, sabres rattle, and we hear the familiar prelude to a US-UK intervention. Should we believe what we are told? Doesn't our memory go back to 2002/2003 when we were told with cast-iron certainty that Iraq - another oil-rich country - had WMD and that armed invasion was therefore vital.
The US and the UK have a credibility problem of gigantic proportion. Let's leave aside the question of whether they have a moral obligation to go to war (I think not, but that is not the point I want to address here). Let's assume that war could be justified if the WMD claim is true.
But how can we the ordinary voters know what to think? After all, it wasn't just the leaders of the US and the UK who sold us a pup 10 years ago. Our media, including the "quality press" (such as the UK Observer - see the expose by Nick Davis in Flat Earth News), bought in to and passed on as truth, all their government's propaganda. Seriously, folks - what could convince us that Syria is not another Iraq? The resemblance is uncanny.
I don't know what could realistically be said or done to make us believe the claims of chemical weapons. Obviously what the US and UK governments say is worthless. Obviously, what the US and UK press say is tainted by their past behaviour. The chickens of their lies have come home to roost.
We need some credible sources and those sources have to be clearly not beholden to the US and UK. So, how about inviting the Chinese to investigate? How about flying in the Libyans? Or the North Koreans? Or some representatives of America's down-trodden black community who have suffered the most in the financial fallout from the two trillion dollar spend in the Iraq war? I am not joking - I would trust these sources more than I trust our official overlords.