THE IRAQI crisis has taught the critical observer not to have an opinion, because there are too many claims being made on both sides.
After the resignation of secret-service boss Vladimír Mitro and the events that led up to his departure, Slovaks have no choice but to apply this newly acquired skill to domestic events as well. There are just too many claims being made.
Mitro may be an innocent victim of political speculation, intelligence games, or dissatisfied arms traders who want to get their way. But he could just as easily be a manipulator who has only managed to stay in power thanks to access to damning information about Slovakia's political elite.
The list of people who might be affected by that information seems to be endless - Palko, Rusko, Dzurinda, are probably just the tip of the iceberg. And there are still the unknown number of mysterious "interest groups" with unknown interests, which Mitro himself referred to in his resignation message to the press.
As with Iraq, the solution should lie in a straightforward evaluation and verification of the facts. However, in both cases the evidence is obscured by a layer of misinformation and mistrust.
The tapping system of the secret service is, naturally, secret, and the little information about it we have from sources that should know - the Interior Ministry and the SIS - is contradictory. Even a foreign expert on the system, who came to investigate, failed to present a clear position.
And just as in the case of Iraq, there is no public authority whose opinion would answer all questions and put the minds of Slovaks to rest. It's no surprise when politicians fight for their own interests first, their party's second, and the country's far down the list.
Yet there is one fact that makes it a little easier to accept the domestic uncertainty and feeling of helplessness. The SIS may now be all about money and power, but at least it is no longer all about life and death.
17. Mar 2003 at 0:00