In 1963, before cynicism replaced skepticism in the press, Pentagon spokesman Arthur Sylvester spoke about government's "inherent right to lie." Granted, it was in the context of "to save itself when facing a nuclear disaster..." but as we know from the Pentagon Papers, lies from government became commonplace during the Vietnam War. More than 58,000 Americans, whose names appear on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, are victims of those lies.
President Obama's lies about many things are catalogued on various websites and increasingly in mainstream newspapers. Some who led cheers for him in 2008 are now finding his lies difficult to ignore. Glenn Kessler, who writes the Fact Checker column for the Washington Post, recently awarded the president "three Pinocchios" (out of four) for his claim that "Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency."
There are many, more examples. Sure, Republicans lie, too, but if lying about something, rather than bad ideas or bad behavior, is the new standard in Washington, D.C., someone had better tell the politicians.
Thomas Jefferson did in an Aug. 19, 1785 letter to Peter Carr: "...he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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