Comments: Happy Lying Anniversary

That is one of those pictures you never forget, which reminds me of the Vietnam War where Powel began his political career in cover-ups. He has had lots of practice. Still, Powell is quite the respected person isn’t he? We do have great values.

Posted by rob payne at February 5, 2011 10:02 PM

1968, My Lai, and Powell's take on the matter: the Vietnamese damn well love us!...or: on having the bullshit ready before the question is asked...

"Tom Glen, a 21-year-old soldier of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade, wrote a letter to General Creighton Abrams, the new overall commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, accusing the Americal Division...of routine and pervasive brutality against Vietnamese civilians. The letter was detailed and its contents echoed complaints received from other soldiers.

Powell's considered response to the Glen missive:

"In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai#Cover-up_and_investigations

Posted by Dean Taylor at February 5, 2011 11:16 PM

every day is an anniversary day for lying for US officials..... but this was a big one.

Also another anniversary of the lap dog corporate media unable to do any critical thinking. I watched Powell's speech, and just assumed that the US media would tear it apart because it was so damn weak, but no..... they bought it hook, line and sinker... and it was a stinker!

I call all those people either TOOLS or FOOLS. I use FOOLS when I am feeling charitable. Powell was clearly a TOOL.

Posted by Susan at February 5, 2011 11:50 PM

ALL governments look pretty much fucked, BUT STILL I think WE will win the prize.

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 6, 2011 01:26 AM

Thanks for the twin posts in response to my O/T comment!

For me, 2/5/03 was an awakening. I'm a lifelong left-liberal, but I was incredibly naive about how utterly broken our politics and media are.

Like Mary Hartman's discovery of the waxy yellow build-up, seeing Powell tell the flimsiest lies imaginable and having the entire media call it "compelling"--and an iron-clad license to kill--started me peeling the onion of how deeply rotten our political and journalistic establishments are.

And here I thought "The Emperor's New Clothes" was just a fable.

Posted by vastleft at February 6, 2011 10:33 AM

Not that Mary Hartman figured all that out from the waxy yellow build-up, but that's when she started to look below the surface of things, something I, too, was long overdue in doing.

For example, I used to think Democrats represented the interests and values of liberals. Yeah, I was a dope. And odds are, I'm still not nearly cynical enough.

Posted by vastleft at February 6, 2011 10:39 AM

For example, I used to think Democrats represented the interests and values of liberals. Yeah, I was a dope.

Me too, vastleft. And I'd guess most of us came from that same place.

Posted by John Caruso at February 6, 2011 12:10 PM

NOT ME. My ride on The Army's Merry-Go-Round during The Viet Nam War(I like to think of it as my "Boot-To-The-Head" moment)SHOWED me just how rotten things were THEN. They've gotten worse but are fitting LOGICALLY in my world view. THAT'S WHY I STOPPED PAYING THEM 33/4 years ago.

John Caruso/vastleft: Third Party, Folks.

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 6, 2011 01:31 PM

Thanks, Mike. And you might want to consider contacting Congress sometime.

Posted by John Caruso at February 6, 2011 02:50 PM


"And odds are, I'm still not nearly cynical enough."
--vastleft

"No matter how cynicial you get, it's impossible to keep up."

--Lily Tomlin
http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/959.html

Powell was always in it for himself. (How unusual!) That he is personable shouldn't be surprising. Gloria Steinem once wrote a good essay about how charming Hitler was thought to be by many in the 30s. People don't rise to the top by having halitosis. If you're a real turd, washing often is all the more important.

Posted by N E at February 6, 2011 04:23 PM

John Caruso: YOU're welcome. I OFTEN give Congress MY 2 cents worth. I don't give them MY money, whenever possible, as I have PERSONAL revulsion to bombing childern, which I feel Congress doesn't mind doing with it.

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 6, 2011 06:30 PM

Said it before, & apparently must say it again. At the UN Colin Powell was not knowingly lying. He was presenting the administration's party line intelligence assessment. His own intelligence people at the State Dept. disagreed with some of that assessment, but Powell himself was not sufficiently knowledgeable to depart from his CIA-approved script. In politics, in bureaucracies, sometimes you are required to do this, and you do it like a good soldier unless your personal knowledge and strong disagreement rise to a certain level, in which case you resign. Powell was not at that level, even if some of his closest advisors were.

The Iraq WMD threat was a massive exercise in miscalculation and self-deception on the part of the administratin insiders and the intelligence community. Not the same as lying.

Posted by Ralph Hitchens at February 7, 2011 05:01 PM

Lying to oneself is still lying. Just because YOU ate ALL the horseshit YOU piled on YOUR OWN plate makes YOU STUPID, not honest.

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 7, 2011 07:34 PM

"This Small, Horrible Human Being"

"Bush at the Super Bowl"

By RUSSELL MOKHIBER


from CounterPunch, 7 February 2011:

"'The disparity of justice in America is nothing short of staggering and obscene,' says [Vincent] Bugliosi.

"To put some balance back in the system, Bugliosi wants Bush charged with murder.

"Bugliosi argues that Bush misled the nation into a war that has killed more than 4,000 Americans.

"In the book, he lays out the case for a prosecution of Bush for murder.

"Under what law?

"Any of the homicide statutes in any of the states.

"Bugliosi mailed the book to more than 2,200 district attorneys.

"And all 50 state Attorneys General.

"So far, he has had no takers.

"But there is no statute of limitations for murder.

"And he believes he can nail Bush for murder – if given the chance" [Mokhiber].

http://www.counterpunch.org/mokhiber02072011.html

Posted by Dean Taylor at February 7, 2011 07:47 PM

"At the UN Colin Powell was not knowingly lying. He was presenting the administration's party line intelligence assessment. His own intelligence people at the State Dept. disagreed with some of that assessment, but Powell himself was not sufficiently knowledgeable to depart from his CIA-approved script."

That may, then, come under the heading "culpable ignorance*," i.e., even if the claims of "I didn't know" are true, as a duly authorized agent of the Bush/Cheney hoodlum regime he had NO business NOT knowing. He quite willfully didn't trouble to ask--ask himself, ask others, etc.

ANY reasonably informed sixth grader will be happy to point out the verities of corruption--its presence, its activity, etc.--by those in Power, e.g., via John Dalberg-Acton: "Power tends to corrupt, absolute Power corrupts absolutely."

If Powell entered the precincts of Power with the belief that he need not QUESTION his superiors then he was begin WILLFULLY IGNORANT. What the fuck did he think he was doing--selling insurance policies in Lake Ronkonkoma, L.I.?

The fascists in Power in the forties argued at Nuremberg that they were merely following orders ("Who knew?"). Jurist Robert Jackson SPECIFICALLY WARNED US then NOT to emulate those we were zealously, triumphantly walking to the gallows.

But we did.

"In 1945 and 1946, during the Nuremberg Trials the issue of Superior Orders again arose: These trials gained so much attention that the 'Superior Orders defense' has subsequently become interchangeable with the label, 'Nuremberg Defense.' This is a legal defense that essentially states that the defendant was 'only following orders' ('Befehl ist Befehl', literally 'orders are orders') and is therefore not responsible for his or her crimes.

"Before the end of World War II, the Allies suspected such a defense might be employed, and issued the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which specifically stated that following an unlawful order is not a valid defense against charges of war crimes.

"Thus, under Nuremberg Principle IV, 'defense of superior orders' is not a defense for war crimes, although it might influence a sentencing authority to lessen the penalty. Nuremberg Principle IV states:

"'The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him'" [Wiki].

of Powell: They told him just what to say, and, darn it, he went ahead and said it.


Bush lied, Tenet lied, Cheney lied, Blair lied, Rice lied, Rumsfeld lied, Powell lied, etc., and we are to believe that each one was utterly convinced of the credibility--of the INTEGRITY--of the others? In Washington Fucking DC?

What the fuck!--over.


* "It has limited significance in Criminal Law except in cases of reckless Homicide in which a person acts negligently or demonstrates a reckless disregard for life, which results in another person's death. ....culpable ignorance is the lack of knowledge or understanding that results from the omission of ordinary care to acquire such knowledge or understanding."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_Orders#Nuremberg_Trials_after_World_War_II


Posted by Dean Taylor at February 7, 2011 08:53 PM

Said it before, & apparently must say it again.

No, you could just shut the fuck up.

Posted by NomadUK at February 8, 2011 06:00 AM

Too many of you guys are rewriting history. Looks very simple from a distance, but it was far less clear-cut at the time. The worst-case WMD scenario preferred by the administration was -- just barely -- within the margin of error and ambiguity offered by the evidence. We learned much later that Saddam was playing a double game: while he was, by and large, complying with the UN sanctions he also needed to appear to that all-important "Arab street" that he was heroically defying the West. He fed the WMD hype and the intelligence community (eagerly seconded by the Bushies) swallowed it hook, line, & sinker. I was "in the business" at the time, and can attest that it was difficult to tell the substantial from the insubstantial. As is often the case with intelligence.

"No, you could just shut the fuck up."

Ah, reasoned discourse! You must be one of those "Second Amendment Remedy" people we've heard so much about.

Posted by Ralph Hitchens at February 8, 2011 08:43 AM

Sufferers of 'short man's disease" like Ralphie rely on pathetic excuses, plausible deniability and cognitive dissonance to bolster their "crackpot realism" defense of the authority figures they worship. When finally cornered, and their idols exposed as venial corrupt mandarins, the Ralphs of the world resort to braying about imaginary threats of physical violence in a desperate attempt to gain some small scrap of sympathy.

So, in sum, yeah - just shut the fuck up, Ralphie.

Posted by AlanSmithee at February 8, 2011 12:32 PM

While I think the evidence shows Ralph is clearly wrong, he's speaking in good faith and has experience others here (including me) don't. I'll get more into this later if I have time, but in the meantime, everyone else should knock off the dumb insults.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at February 8, 2011 01:32 PM

(However, witty, insightful insults [directed at anyone] are welcome.)

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at February 8, 2011 01:33 PM

SUNSET THE PATRIOT ACT, call John Boehner @1-202-225-0600. Lets return to OUR Constitution.


PLEASE Alan, YOU are making me like YOU.

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 8, 2011 01:38 PM

"it was far less clear-cut at the time"

Well, what is 'clear' to anyone is always subjective, and since the intelligence community is in the business of deception and self-deception, it's not surprising to me that those involved in it either believe or half-believe a lot of utter bullshit.

But to anyone with any intellectual honesty, curiosity and ability to think objectively--unobstructed by all sorts of political crap masquerading as analysis--the lies were about as clear as lies could ever be.

Posted by N E at February 8, 2011 01:44 PM

Ralph Hutchins: As OUR first poster(rob payne) pointed out, Powell STARTED his political on a HORRIBLE&TRAGIC lie. Why would ANYONE, In-The-Business, think he was truthful WITHOUT reliable verification? ANYTHING out of his mouth NEEDS actual documentation, not something written in crayon as his UN speach was. Didn't the TREASONOUS Wilson/Plame affair lend a REASONABLE doubt to the situation, enough to take a second look, enough to ask "what and why". IMHO AMERICA WANTED TO KILL SOMEONE (anyone but BIN LADEN it seems)over 911 and blindly jumped on Cheney/Bush,s bandwagon. How about YOU Ralph? Were YOU pissed when YOU saw the towers burn? Pissed enough to "look the other way"?

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 8, 2011 02:06 PM

Holy shit, is someone STILL pushing the line that it was all a big mistake? My God, didn't we already get a tell-all book or two pointing out that the "slam dunk" Iraqi line was sold because the CIA chief thought it was the best line to run with?

The plans to invade Iraq were discussed before Bush even went into office -- Palast reported on documents written up by Cheney et. al. predating Bush's ascension.

Why come on a non-establishment site and even bother to spew a tired lie here? There aren't even trolls here that believe that.

Posted by No One of Consequence at February 8, 2011 07:54 PM

on taking the path of least resistance...

"In politics, in bureaucracies, sometimes you are required to do this, and you do it like a good soldier unless your personal knowledge and strong disagreement rise to a certain level, in which case you resign."

Or, like Ellsberg--and from an abiding sense of self-respect, conscience, backbone, etc.--you make it your business to go and tell the truth.

Powell did, indeed, resign and got what, one imagines, he coveted all along--a fucking Corvette. How's that for class? A miserable, crass, obvious Corvette, no less!

http://bit.ly/e77Ugy

What type of personality profile comes to mind when we consider the military careerist--then and now? The individual raised at some remove from a center of cultural stimulation and passionate creativity--i.e., a hick raised somewhere out in Bohunk.

"Whut? We ain't got us no dang yew-nuh-vur-suh-tee out here, Son! We got us some cows, tho'...some cow shit (quite a bit, in fact, yessiree), guns (a LOT of them, too), critters, critters that dun got shot...no yew-nuh-vur-suh-tee tho'..."

You join the military: you have taken the path of least resistance.

To question the authority figure--and, if necessary, to oppose the authority figure--this takes spine, and self-respect. We are, in fact, morally obligated to do so!

To give yourself over to the authority figure--i.e., to have them do your thinking and decision making for you--this is inherently, radically immoral from the word "go".

To willingly give up your freedom to an institution whose morals are always-already suspect--like the military: this is the act of a coward and a cheat. This is taking the path of least resistance.

Posted by Dean Taylor at February 8, 2011 10:11 PM

"Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood."

--T.S. Eliot, "Ash Wednesday" (1930)
quoted as frontispiece in Andrew Bacevich's Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (2010).

In the introduction to his book Bacevich explains how in middle-age he came to realize that much of what he had believed all his life was false. He "had always taken comfort in orthodoxy" and had spent his life in the military "subject to authority," where "deference had become a deeply ingrained habit." Nonetheless, he came to conclude at the end of his military career, which coincided with the collapse of the USSR, that "the powerful . . reveal truth only to the extent that it suits them" and "even then, the truths to which they testify come wrapped in a nearly invisible filament of dissembling, deception, and duplicity."

Bacevich admits that he "came to these obvious points embarrassingly late in life", so he knows about self mockery, but he has become quite honest. In all that his path parallels that of the late Chalmers Johnson. His book's conclusion, no more optimistic than Johnson's, is that "over the horizon a shipwreck of epic proportions awaits."

That 'epic' isn't hyperbole.

Posted by N E at February 9, 2011 07:50 AM

NE: May I suggest, Harry Chapin's "Dance Band On The Titanic"? 'Singing "Nearer, My God, To thee".'

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 9, 2011 11:24 AM

God dammit.

I hadn't realised that Chalmers Johnson had passed. Troubled year here.

Posted by No One of Consequence at February 9, 2011 08:09 PM