Friday, September 24, 2004

On Lying - the Cost of Political Lies

The war, illegal and founded on a vast lie, has produced two tragedies of equal magnitude: an embryonic civil war in the world's oldest country, and a triumph for those in the Bush administration who, without a trace of shame, act as if the truth does not matter. Lying until the lie became true, the administration pursued a course of action that guaranteed large sections of Iraq would become havens for jihadis and radical Islamists. That is the logic promoted by people who take for themselves divine infallibility -- a righteousness that blinds and destroys. Like credulous Weimar Germans who were so delighted by rigged wrestling matches, millions of Americans have accepted Bush's assertions that the war in Iraq has made the United States and the rest of the world a safer place to live. Of course, this is false.

But it is a useful fiction because it is a happy one. All we need to know, according to the administration, is that America is a good country, full of good people and therefore cannot make bloody mistakes when it comes to its own security. The bitter consequence of succumbing to such happy talk is that the government of the most powerful nation in the world now operates unchecked and unmoored from reality; leaving us teetering on the brink of another presidential term where abuse of authority has been recast as virtue.

The logic the administration uses to promote its actions -- preemptive war, indefinite detention, torture of prisoners, the abandonment of the Geneva Convention abroad and the Bill of Rights at home -- is simple, faith-based and therefore empty of reason. The worsening war is the creation of the Bush administration, which is simultaneously holding Americans and Iraqis hostage to a bloody conflict that cannot be won, only stalemated.

Excerpt from "Hell", by Phillip Robertson. Complete article on Salon - requires subscription or viewing an ad.

Here is what a nation lying to itself has accomplished. Make no mistake; America lied to itself in order to engage in this endeavor. The administration is living in a fantasyland, utterly out of touch with reality, and always has been. As Richard Clarke documented in "Against All Enemies," they simply did not wish to believe the evidence in front of their faces that Al-Qaeda was a real and serious threat to the US and all civilized peoples. Why not? Because their fantasy revolves around Iraq; getting Saddam, taking over the oil fields, privitizing the national resources, installing a more amenable dictator. Their lie was there for all to see before one US boot touched the ground in Iraq.

And far too many continue to lie to themselves about what we are about in that butchered land. Colin Powell's cynical analysis - You break it, you bought it - is a truth most will not accept. Part fantacize that we are bringing "democracy" to Iraq (News flash - you might try bringing it to Florida, first), while others take up the equally dangerous dream of walking away, saying that the sinkhole of misery we have in no small part created is not our problem any more.

The US is going to be in Iraq for the next 20 years - because we broke it. The press hounds Kerry for his "Iraq Plan" and he does his best, but the only honest answer is "Who knows what kind of fucked up mess I will inherit in 2005? I will give you a plan when I know what I've got." When the owl of Minerva takes flight, and we can look backwards at this presidency and the actions of the US, we will be able to take full measure of the folly that is "Iraq War II." But I will wager two things will be so. First, that this will be acknowledged as the single worst policy decision in the history of the republic. Second, that it marked the end of America's leadership of the world.

And to think that all of this could have been avoided by telling the tuth - that Osama bin Laden & Al-Qaeda are a pack of murdering thugs who are the furthest thing from devout Muslims on the face of the stinking planet; that they declared war on all nations, all peoples, and all civil life when they destroyed the WTC; that we owed the world and Afghanistan all our strength and ingenuity to stablize that nation; that while we could lead, this was not just our fight.

Back in fighting mode,


Kerry/Edwards 2004 - a vote for truth

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