Sunday, April 26, 2009
Lies my president told me
When I was a child my mother convinced me that lying is such an evil that to lie about something is far worse than the act one might want to hide. Sooner of later, the truth finds a way to throw off the cover and reveal itself. The longer the lie goes, the worse the result when the truth comes out.
My readings in philosophy and literature confirmed this wisdom. In the American South, from Faulkner to Tennessee Williams, the destructive force of lies is exposed with all the drama imaginable. Lies work their damning damage in Shakespeare from Lear to Hamlet. Perhaps no one expresses the damage of a lie better than Nicol Williamson who, as Merlin, in the film Excaliber, says:
"When a man lies, he murders a part of the world."
George W. Bush did exactly that. His lies about Iraq and about the Bush/Cheney policy of torture have been murderous. Frank Rich recounts the destructive path of these lies in today's New York Times:
Not to expose these lies and the criminal orders to torture prisoners would be to prolong the lies and to make the results of them even worse. As Senator Leahy of Vermont put it,
We cannot turn the page on torture until we have read it. It is a page written in infamy.