The Big Lie is common in America today. The election was stolen from Trump. Climate change is a hoax. Biden is the new FDR. America can’t afford a $15 minimum wage or health care for all. The biggest lies of all involve wars. Take the Afghan War. The U.S. military is already preparing a new stab-in-the-back myth. You know the routine: We were on the road to victory until Biden pulled out the troops. As you can see from this article that I posted five years ago, America clearly was losing in 2016, and things have only grown worse as the Taliban has grown in power and influence.
Isn’t it time we stopped lying to ourselves? The truth, harsh as it may prove, really will help to set us free.
Hannah Arendt, cigarette in hand (Arendt Center, Bard College)
(This is part 2 of 2 of an essay dealing with lying, politics, and war, inspired by Hannah Arendt’s writings on The Pentagon Papers. For part 1, click here.)
After the Vietnam War, the U.S. government oversaw the creation of a post-democratic military, one that was less tied to the people, meaning that the government had even less cause to tell the truth about war. Unsurprisingly, then, the hubris witnessed in Vietnam was repeated with Iraq, together with an even more sweeping ability to deny or disregard facts, as showcased best in a statement by Karl Rove in 2004. The actions of the Bush/Cheney Administration, Rove suggested, bypassed the fact- or “reality-based” community of lesser humans precisely because their premises (the need to revolutionize the Middle East and to win the War on Terror through violence) were…
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