Sunday, December 31, 2006

Reckless Disregard for the Truth

From the git-go, the supporters of the Bush regime and its optional war have engaged in a special form of lying called "reckless disregard for the truth." It's a beautiful thing, because it lends itself to a complete lack of accountability and an intellectual laziness that appeals to Bush and his ilk.

The most famous example, of course, was the infamous WMD. Personally, I doubt that Bush actually knew there were no WMDs. So, when we claim that "Bush lied, people died,", we're dancing close to the edge of falsehood, though we are saved by the guardrail of incontrovertible fact - we were assured they were there, and they weren't.

The point isn't that Bush actually was certain that there were no WMDs. How could he have such certainty? That's why the good people who argued against the war were hamstrung by the truth - they could make no assertions. Hans Blix was not in a position to prove the negative - he was only in a position to tell us that no weapons had been found yet, that no evidence existed that weapons would be found, and that he wanted to continue his search for the truth.

Bush, on the other hand, never really cared about the truth about WMDs. He wanted to invade Iraq from the beginning. When he couldn't get enough people to fall for the lie that Iraq was tied to 9-11, the WMD canard sufficed. He never cared whether they were actually there or not - it would be better if we found some, but victors get to write the history books, and he knew that intellectually corrupt right-wing apologists would rally to his defense even if they were not. And he was right about that.

Such mealy-mouthed truth cannot withstand an assault by confident misinformation. Intellectually honest good faith melts in the heat of intellectually dishonest swagger. Public opinion tends favor the cockiness of a lie over the uncertain truth. That's why umpires are taught to make their most uncertain calls at their highest volume.

What provokes this meditation on mendacity? Watch Joe Lieberman tell us that he is " confident that the situation is improving enough on the ground that by the end of this year we will being to draw down significant numbers of American troops and by the end of next year more than half of the troops who are there now will be home."

Technically, Joe might not have been lying. Who knows? He may have been confident of that result when he said it. He may have been honest, or he may have been intelligent.

We can only be certain that he wasn't both.

People like Tom Friedman and Joe Lieberman and their echo machine of bloggers like Media Lies and other pro-war cheerleaders have been assuring us for months and months that the turn-around is just ahead, and that things are actually just fine in Iraq, and that it's just the corporate media (they, laughably, call it the "liberal media") that convinces us that the death of six soldiers today, and four soldiers tomorrow, and 5 soldiers the day after that, continued on into infinity, is not a great, glittering success. They offer us such a bright, shining lie, and when time proves them wrong, they offer us a fresh lie - the turn-around is always just ahead.

Their statements aren't technically lies, and, if we had the good sense to ignore them or treat them with the complete disdain they have earned by being so consistently wrong, there would be no harm to their ill-informed rantings. If I were to sincerely tell you that I am sure the Royals are going to win the World Series in 2007, I would not be dishonest, but I would be showing stupidity and a reckless disregard for the truth. Damage would only result if you somehow thought I had superior knowledge - if I worked in the headquarters of MLB, or made my living as a student of baseball.

It is time to acknowledge that the President has lost all credibility. It is time to greet the next pronouncement by the right-wing pundits with derision. It is time to stop falling for the glittering falsehoods offered by those who are constantly wrong.


Anonymous Missourimadness said...

Amen to that!

12/31/2006 9:57 PM  
Anonymous JW said...

And now Pat Robertson is carrying the terror torch with a prediction, "I'm not saying it will be nuclear, but it will be like that".
We are clearly no longer in control of our country, and should not be surprised of the consequences.

1/03/2007 8:46 AM  

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