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Lies that Kill People

Dana Blankenship wrote a compelling denunciation of Bush’s mispresentation of the Iraqi threat :

Bush lied.

Bush lied in his claim Iraq was a direct threat to the United States. Bush lied to the United Nations, lied to the U.S. Congress, and he lied to you.

Bush didn’t lie about a blowjob. Bush lied about the most important part of his real job, the decision to commit U.S. troops to risk their lives. So far, 6,000 Iraqis have lost their lives in that war. I mention that because the Administration now claims 9/11, in which 3,000 died, as its justification for the Iraq War. Since May 1, the day Bush said on national television that hostilities ended, 45 more U.S. soldiers have died. I guess if you can lie about the reason for a war, a lie about when it ends doesn’t mean much to you.

Since the war, of course, the Administration has been moving the goal posts, hoping history will still record a touchdown. It wasn’t whether Hussein had enough weaponry to threaten us, but whether he had any unconventional weapons at all. (A lie.) The war was about “liberating the people of Iraq” from a tyrant. (A lie.) We have secret intelligence proving we are telling the truth. (A lie.)

What’s more important, war and the death of thousands, or a blowjob? What is more deserving of removal from office, the death of thousands or a blowjob?

I don’t want to sound like I’m undercutting the criticism, but is there such a creature as a “political lie?” A politician plays up certain facts or plays down others in order to make his case to be as convincing as possible. Perhaps it’s not a lie but simple self-deception. Do political lies belong in a different category? Or are lies just lies? Clinton lied to protect his reputation. Bush “lied” to promote his policy. One could make the argument that Bush’s deception had honorable intentions and that his problem was not dishonesty but blindness to the bigger picture. But ultimately Bush’s deception cost us more than Clinton’s ever did.

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