Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What Ever Happened to Ferocity About Veracity?

There's a little article on page A-ll of today's Kansas City Star. I'd link it for you, but it isn't on the Star website. The article isn't "breaking news," apparently. It's short, though, so I'll just retype it:

"WASHINGTON--Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday that the Pentagon was reviewing its practice of paying to plant stories in Iraq, withdrawing his earlier statement that it had been stopped. Rumsfeld told reporters he was mistaken in the earlier assertion. 'I don't have knowledge as to whether it's been stopped,' Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news briefing. 'I do have knowledge it was put under review. I was correctly informed. And I just misstated the facts.'"

Now, call me sensitive, but I think if you are "correctly informed" about something, and you say something else, then you are not "mistaken." You are choosing not to tell the truth.

I suppose I should be pleased that Rumsfeld is willing to say right up front that he "misstated the facts." But it seems to me to be the height of hubris to just throw that out there, as if it is okay.

But it's not Rumsfeld who dissappoints me. To be honest (hey--why not?), I now expect this sort of bold assertion of the untruth. It's a news media which buries the story on page A-11, and a public which will be unmoved by the story, if they happen to read it, who worry me. Shouldn't the fourth estate challenge this sort of, well, lying? And shouldn't the citizens of a democracy expect more of their officials?

I'm still idealistic enough to want my leaders to tell me the truth--and to expect some outrage when they "misstate the facts." I'm still idealistic enough to believe that someone will stand up and declare that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes--even when he's wearing a borrowed flight suit.

Yeah, I wrote a letter. Hopefully a few other people did too. And hopefully a new day will dawn--a day full of grace, as the hymn goes--and maybe even the truth.


Andy B. said...

I just happened to notice that little news blib, actually heard it on NPR (Ahhh, NPR! What would life be without you?). A big cheese administration official caught in and admitting an outright lie about an unethical practice - and it is not even going to ruffle anyone's feathers. Amazing!
Mouth agape,
Andy B.

Donna said...

Is that agape the Greek or the English? :)

If you google "misstated the facts," you get a whole compendium of administration double-speak. And not to pick on Republicans, it's certainly the same old tactic Bill Clinton (the pol who broke my heart) used in the old "depends on what is is" days.

Does seem to be rampant in this administration, though.

Thanks for writing in, Andy.


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