Skip to comments.Helen Thomas: "When Governments Lie - Rep. Joe Wilson Has Become Celebrity Martyr For His Rudeness"
Posted on 09/16/2009 5:00:33 PM PDT by seanmerc
WASHINGTON -- Do presidents and other public officials lie? Do birds fly?
That age-old question was recently evoked when Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouted "You lie" after President Barack Obama told a joint session of Congress that his national health care proposal would not cover illegal immigrants.
Wilsons verbal attack was reminiscent of the back benchers in Londons House of Commons where rhetorical bombast is more frequent than in the halls of Congress.
Wilson apologized for his blast but that didnt stop the House from voting 240-179 to rebuke him for a breach of decorum "to the discredit of the House."
Wilson has become a celebrity martyr to many conservatives for his rudeness to Obama, just as the Iraqi journalist who threw a pair of shoes at President George W. Bush during a Baghdad visit has become a homegrown hero in Iraq.
When it comes to governmental lies, the Bush administration is the 21st centurys trophy holder, at least so far.
Remember those blatant lies rolled out by Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney when they tried to justify an invasion of Iraq? Those lies have resulted in a very heavy human toll -- American and Iraqi-- in the war in Iraq.
Bush said Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq, had weapons of mass destruction and ties to the al Qaida terrorist network. Not so. Bush also claimed that Iraq -- a third world country -- was a threat to the United States, the worlds only military superpower. Not true.
Unfortunately, we heard no shouts from members of Congress that would have disrupted Bushs litany of lies to the House, the Senate and the American people. Why not?
Most Democratic and Republican lawmakers were spooked by evocations of the 9-11 catastrophe, a tragic image repeatedly conjured up by Bush and Cheney in their campaign to link the attacks to Saddam, even though no Iraqis were involved.
Heres another fib: Bush said publicly on several occasions: "We do not torture." The president overlooked the fact that the CIA or its subcontractors inflicted waterboarding torture on detainees. During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy was making a speech in Chicago when he decided to hurry back to Washington. His aides put out the word that he had to rush home to the White House because of a bad "cold." They lied.
In the aftermath, Arthur Sylvester -- then the Pentagon spokesman -- caused a ruckus when he said the government had the right to lie in cases of a possible nuclear crisis. Few presidents are immune from telling tall tales. I have come to believe it goes with the turf.
There are clever end runs and linguistic dodges to avoid outright lies. A "no comment" was always an easy way to avoid the truth trap -- that is, until Kennedys press secretary, the late Pierre Salinger, admitted at a briefing that a "no comment" was tantamount to "yes."
The phrase "credibility gap" was coined during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson when he expounded on his budget and the Vietnam War.
Nazi propaganda guru Hermann Goebbels said that if you tell a lie often enough, people will come to believe it.
Franklin D. Roosevelt went to Pittsburgh before the start of World War II and promised that the U.S. would not go to war. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor -- when war became inevitable -- he asked his aides what he should say to the American people? They told him: "Say you were never in Pittsburgh."
Truth telling is easier on the conscience and much easier when it comes to keeping your story straight. As the venerable Sen. George Aiken, R-Vt., once said: "If you tell the truth, you dont have to remember what you said the last time."
You didn’t post WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES ALERT!
I know the Maureen Dowd rule, but what is the Helen Thomas rule?
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. (blood dripping letters here)
True; I had to choose between that and the subtitle of her article. Sorry!
Arg!!!!! Don’t DO that!
Here it is, step right up!
LOL, this disgusting old skidmark is still beating the tired “Bush lied” drum!
Not “for” his rudeness, but in spite of it. Sometimes speaking truth to power trumps decorum.
Ha! My five-year-old just looked over my shoulder and asked “who’s that crazy lady??” Didn’t quite know how to explain the thing to her...
The sad part is that Helen is much more beautiful on the outside than she is on the inside.
Hey Helen what about your boy Klinton, “I did not have sex with that women”? That one has to be at least second to Obambi’s from the other night.
Well, THAT’S a sad commentary, isn’t it?
Helen Thomas...proof positive that earlier generations of man engaged in sex with non-mammal species.