Saturday, January 26, 2008


1,000 Lies

What I love about the new Center for Public Integrity study -- documenting 935 false public statements made by Bush and his administration to justify going to war in Iraq -- is the pure numoristy of it. Not only is it a big number, and a big validation of the feeling of most of us that we were repeatedly lied to. It's a number. A simple, compact fact. A reduction of an entire campaign of lies, indeed of an entire administration to a single integer.

And it cries out to be rounded off to 1,000. "The Presidency of the 1,000 Lies" -- a beautifully perfect historical label. The chapter heading for "w" in the Book of American Presidents.

Or you could think of it as the Scheherezade Presidency. "If you tell the American people one lie every day for a thousand days, you will have a second term."

I wonder whether this study will have any impact at all on the 2008 presidential election. The story has been picked up by msm, but does it have any "legs"? In my book, the Republican Party should be per se disqualified from the election. I say, more than 500 big lies and you're out.

Oooh, I like this. A lie litmus test. Plus, it provides a challenge, perhaps a metaphysical one, for the other team. What constitutes a lie? In this case, it seems easy enough. The facts on the paper said one thing, the words coming out of their mouths another.
The fact they can be counted, that they aren't vague, general lies, gives the number a sort of precision. The kind the lying team couldn't be relied upon to produce.
Oscar, there is a reason this story won't have "legs". There are a bunch of people like yourself who have a low opinion of President Bush and his administration, this confirms your beliefs but so what? Your mind was already made up, it is not like this is suddenly a dawning realization.

For the rest of us: We know the difference between being mistaken and telling a lie. Here is an example the article gives:

On August 26, 2002, in an address to the national convention of the Veteran of Foreign Wars, Cheney flatly declared: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."

This, since it is an example, should be one of the best of the "1,000" and it doesn't even hold up. I have no doubt that Cheney was sincere when he said this.

Should we also hold as lies all the anti-war types who were sure we shouldn't attack because of the havoc Saddam would wreak on our troops with WMD? Or how about those who were certain Baghdad would be another Stalingrad?
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