Monday, September 26, 2016

Culture of Lies

I am old enough to remember the Soviet Union when it was at the peak of its power. The memory that stands out most is the culture of lying leaders.

When President Khrushchev, or President Brezhnev said something, you could be certain that the opposite was true. If Khrushchev reported that the wheat crop had doubled, everyone understood that that the harvest had failed. If Brezhnev reported that Soviet troops had travelled to Hungary for rest and recreation, everyone understood that the tanks had rolled in to suppress the people.

This great edifice of lies eventually collapsed, and the Soviet Union is now gone.

Strangely, a similar political culture of lies seems to have emerged in the United States. I don’t know when it began, but I first noticed it during the Vietnam War. The Gulf of Tonkin incident used as a justification for escalation of war turned out to be a false flag. “We are not bombing Cambodia”, meant that it was bombed to crap. When a new president was imposed upon the poor South Vietnamese by the US, he would be described as a perfect man. Then he would turn out to be a thief and a murderer. The US was always announcing that another battle had been won, but the war was being lost.

This torturing of the truth continued through the death of JFK, through the shooting down of Iran Air flight 655, the sinking of USS Liberty, TWA flight 800 to 9/11. Now a culture of lies seems to control Washington. In foreign policy, if the Secretary of State says that something has happened, the opposite is probably true. Victory in Iraq means destruction of political order. “No boots on the ground” means 500 special forces in Syria. Training moderate forces means supplying weapons to Al Qaida. “Fighting against terrorism” means air support for ISIS in Syria. "Building democracy" in Libya means destroying the most prosperous nation in Africa.

This strange culture has now culminated in a presidential election where the people of the United States have to choose between two proven liars. And no one seems to care.

I am not expecting this to be exposed soon. The history of the Soviet Union shows that lies can keep a rotten system going for many decades. I suspect they can keep a powerful rotten system going for a long, long time.

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