Masquerading as truth

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2003

Here's comment on the current controversy over "faulty" intelligence being used and promoted by the executive branch. "Thou shall not bear false witness," one of the Ten Commandments, is a citizen tool for measuring the worth of national public officials today. It's not that officials sometimes lie - we all do that. It's not that officials sometimes allow their biased guesses to masquerade as truth - we all do that, too.

What is astonishing is that certain public officials knowingly avoid ethical responsibility for their bearing false witness - ordinarily done by broadly correcting the misunderstandings and mischaracterizations caused by one's statements. For their own gain and protection, some officials even intentionally remain silent or plead security-secrecy when challenged, in order to allow their bias to spread to public who aren't picky about what "trusted" sources tell them. Furthermore, to protect a reputation for infallibility, these same officials respond to eventual exposure of their false witnessing by blaming others for it with plausible excuses. Thus, operational intelligence used for critical national decisions is currently very prone to selfish manipulation. Job security for the intelligence bureaucracy and financial gain for those selling intelligence to our government, is invariably depending on the agenda and prejudices of those public officials in power.

This vulnerability of government intelligence to manipulation or error was nicely explained by Thomas Paine in his 1791 English preface to "Rights of Man:" "That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country make it their study to sow discord and cultivate prejudices between nations, it becomes more unpardonable." The midwife to the current version of U.S. intelligence was the remnants of Nazi intelligence networks that we snapped up as spoils of war after WWII. The Nazi covert intelligence specialty was exactly as Thomas Paine describes - and this is what the U.S. has been practicing, worldwide, ever since to protect "national interests" against international opponents. The current consequences from such long-term activity are the widespread antagonisms toward the USA. The official public relations explanation for such antagonism is "unprovoked jealousy of U.S. freedoms and way of life." I refer anyone who is tempted to believe such an improbability to the teachings of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:1-5).

Stuart Thompson

Auke Bay

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