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October 14, 2004

Liars? Idiots? Liars AND Idiots?

Some time ago, I mentioned that everyone in America should be praying to god the Bush administration was consciously lying about Iraq. Because if they actually believed everything they were saying, we're REALLY in trouble.

I like to believe I was one of the first people on the praying-to-god bandwagon. Because recently Seymour Hersh said the same thing. And now Charley Reese has chimed in:

Whether the president is actually in denial or is misleading the public for partisan purposes, I will leave to your judgment. It would be less dangerous if he were engaged in deliberate deception. That, at least, is a sign of sanity.

In addition, veteran Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery has made a similar evaluation about Israel. Here he writes about claims by the Israeli army that UN ambulances in Gaza were being used to carry weapons:

Sharon ordered his generals to supply the Foreign Office’s propaganda department with secret army photos, in order to prove that UNRWA cooperates with the “terror organizations”.

The next day, all the Israeli TV channels displayed aerial reconnaissance photos showing a Qassam rocket launcher being loaded into an UNRWA ambulance... Two days later, the whole thing came apart. UNRWA claimed that the man in the picture was not carrying a rocket launcher but a stretcher. The generals first issued a denial, than stuttered, then half-heartedly admitted that, perhaps, a deplorable mistake had occurred: the professional analysts in the army intelligence department, lowly sergeants or second lieutenants, may have misinterpreted the pictures.

Did the analysts lie or did they believe what they said?...

If the experts lied, they did nothing unusual. It can be said that they did what intelligence people do all over the world: supply their bosses with the information they want to hear. Bush wants to attack Iraq? The CIA provides information about Sadam’s WMDs. Sharon wants to destroy UNRWA? Army intelligence provides photos of Hansen’s rocket launchers...

So it is not surprising that army intelligence is lying. In countless appearances before the cabinet and the Knesset foreign-and-security committee, the intelligence chiefs have peddled outright lies and false assessments. That’s nothing new.

But there is also the possibility that the analysts did believe that they were providing accurate information. And that is even more frightening.

Of course, it should also be pointed out that both governments may both be lying and believe their own lies. That may sound weird, but if you haven't noticed, people have the capacity to do all kinds of strange things. Particularly when they've been driven insane by power.

UPDATE: Get Your War On gets on board too:

You know what thought woke me up at three in the morning last night? Rumsfeld, Feith and Perle are actually more incompetent than they are evil. How is that possible?
Posted at October 14, 2004 09:54 AM | TrackBack

commenting on the update quoted from "get your war on" -

i notice that they don't include cheney and rove in the "more incompetent than evil" category

and what about powell? he has to have noticed what his boss and colleagues are like, and yet he stays at his post - is he hoping that somehow things will turn around, or does he kid himself that if he left his [hypothetical] moderating effect would be lost?

Posted by: mistah charley at October 16, 2004 09:35 PM