A lie is a lie is a lie and is equally
deplorable, whether it involves a blue dress or the loss of thousands of
lives. As we see the Middle East, Iraq and Haiti burn, it sounds
counterintuitive, but this is the moral lesson the previous president's
detractors taught us.
Agree with this morality or not, it's indisputable
that President Clinton did dishonor his office.
Clinton's supporters rejected that right-wing morality
play primarily because his detractors applied it
disproportionately, selectively and with a vengeance. They didn't show the
same outrage when the Reagan-Bush administration went behind the backs of
Congress to conduct its secret and illegal wars in Central America and Africa
at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.
None of this excuses Clinton's moral lapses. Few of
his supporters were willing to concede that his conduct was unbecoming of
a president. Instead, they gave him a pass because of that
right-wing hounding, as exemplified by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr,
who investigated Clinton endlessly.
During that time, pre-eminent indigenous human rights
activist Suzan Harjo was the first person we know of who wasn't an
extreme right-winger who was unequivocal in her denunciation of the
president's moral transgressions. She was straightforward: The struggle to
uplift humanity requires the highest of morals. The lesson here is
that morality -- including the view that all life is sacred -- is not
the domain of one political party. And just because one supports
people politically doesn't mean one has to adopt their morality.
Conversely, those who adopt high moral standards have to apply them equally,
lest they be perceived as hypocritical.
Translated: A lie is a lie is a lie, regardless of who tells
it, and it doesn't become truth simply because one parses or twists
the meaning of words.
Enter the current President Bush's stalwart supporters and
- The president never claimed that the Iraqi
threat was imminent. (Echoes of "it depends on the meaning of what 'is'
- The president cooperated with and acted on
behalf of the United Nations. (No. The allies spied on -- and the president
willfully circumvented the will of -- the United Nations.)
- We went to war because Iraq refused entry to
the U.N. weapons inspectors. (This argument has been recently advanced by the
president himself, as well as his supporters.)
- Iraq was a direct threat to the United States,
and even though we found no WMDs, it was an even bigger threat than we
previously thought. (Mind-boggling logic.)
- The war was part of the president's road map
and vision of bringing peace and democracy to the Middle East. (Anyone smell
a Nobel Peace Prize?)
- It is necessary to give up our rights and freedoms while
we fight to protect our rights and freedoms. (Not yet content, the president
and Attorney General John Ashcroft is clamoring for a USA Patriot Act
In all this, Saddam Hussein's extreme brutality (which
the Reagan-Bush administration tolerated) has never been in question. No one
has suggested he be given a pass.
The question before the nation has been one of truth,
honesty and credibility. Can the administration's above rationales be
considered simply incompetent explanations (or evidence of utter
incompetence), as opposed to lies? Perhaps that question was answered
recently when several dozen prominent scientists issued a report criticizing
the administration's systematic misuse of science to bolster virtually
all its policies, including the environment, arms control, public health
... and war.
In regard to Iraq, the evidence suggests that the president
was so desirous of war that he exaggerated and manipulated the truth
for fear of losing his pre-emptive war
In his own mind, the president had a great cause; thus,
the spilling of thousands of lives would be worth it. Unfortunately,
that morality play taught to us by Clinton's detractors is that a
lie, regardless of the cause (or how many fear-laced patriotic ads
the president hurls at us) is still a lie. Forget the individual words.
If the president is reduced to mincing words, then we already know
the answer. Despite this, the administration's plan seems to be to
continue to treat us all like children.
And now we come to understand the importance of
credibility: Haiti's democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, has charged that the United States kidnapped him and assisted the
thug rebels in staging their insurrection. The administration denies
this. Who do we believe? Right about now, President Hugo Chavez of
Venezuela and Cuba's Castro should be concerned.
Gonzales & Rodriguez can be reached at 608-238-3161or XColumn@aol.com -- PO BOX 5093, Madison, WI 53705. For speaking availability, bios, publications and other info, call/write us or visit: http://hometown.aol.com/xcolumn/myhomepage/index.html
© Copyright 2004 Universal Press Syndicate