Sometimes I think that the word “liar” is the linguistic third rail of American politics. Even in the dirtiest political campaigns, adversaries are often reluctant to call each other liars, as if avoiding that word means they have held the line and remained civil.
Thanks goodness I’m not running for office. I can say “lie” or “liar” when I want.
But – truth be told — I rarely do so. And when I do, I do it carefully. Because lying, at least as I have always understood it, is not simply making a mistake: It is intentionally telling someone something that you know not to be true. It is using a position of superior power and influence to say something untrue to hurt or deceive another person.
And, in the worst case, it is intentional deception that makes it more likely that another human being might be hurt, injured, or killed.
That is why I really have no problem saying that David Barstow’s remarkable piece in today’s New York Times, telling the story of how the Pentagon groomed some of the military analysts who have appeared on television to offer opinions about the war in Iraq, is a story about liars.
After reading Barstow’s piece, I feel on absolutely solid ground using the word. This is the story of a small group of senior military officers who, knowing one truth about the disastrous progress on the ground of the war in Iraq, intentionally went before mass audiences and – under the direction of the Pentagon — made contradictory and untrue statements, statements that they hoped would have the effect of marginalizing and silencing opponents of the war.
Even worse, these were lies that several now admit were made to protect ongoing profitable relationships with the Pentagon and defense contractors.
Angry disagreement about foreign policy is one thing.
But this was lying. And it was lying that cost lives. It is despicable.
Read it and see if you agree.
I wholeheartedly agree that the deliberate lying that costs lives is despicable and the fact that it’s happening in the highest echelon of government military officials is quite frightening, actually. It just reinforces what Americans have been feeling of late – that they can’t trust their own government, that government is looking like a large mass of liars, criminals and perverts. I think the only way out of this deplorable mess is to clean house. If this means throwing out the next president soon after he takes office because he doesn’t think there’s a problem with rogue players in our highest officialdom, then we still have a very big problem. This top down cast of oinkers have shown us over and over again that they can’t police their own. What ever has happened to professionalism, integrity, and personal behavior beyond reproach? It’s up to our moral and religious leaders to tackle this problem head-on in the public forum along with condemnation of unethical behavior as a whole. I would think the next step to address unethical behavior should be reinstated in the school system and in the home – starting with the parents.
I grew up knowing that those adults around me served as role models. I quickly learned from my elders who the bad apples were and who to stay away from. To think we don’t look to role models is to think like a silly sausage..:) Role models serve a purpose in that they display exemplary behavior for our youth to emulate. We usually look for role models at the top of their game. Some people would say the political arena is one such area where we should insist on exemplary behavior. Even if we don’t have the finest role models in politics or government, we need to throw the rogues out, if only to serve as an example of behavior that is not acceptable! We should be grooming our youth to become leaders in society in a way befitting a statesman.
We really need to stem the tide of this uncivil behavior and I guess we can start 1 heart at a time..:)