David R. Hoffman
October 27, 2008

In a recent article for the Miami Herald, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts discussed two “still-classified” government memos that not only revealed how the United States government, under George W. Bush, authorized and engaged in the use of torture, but also how Bush himself blatantly lied to the American people about this reality.

The memos, written in 2003 and 2004, were designed to alleviate the concerns of then-CIA director George Tenet that agents might be criminally prosecuted for torturing “high value” terrorism suspects. Yet two years later, George W. Bush was telling the American people, “The United States does not torture. It’s against our laws and it’s against our values. I have not authorized it—and I will not authorize it.”

Pitts made two other compelling points in this article. The first was that the corporate-controlled media largely ignored the revelations in these memos, a development that, while disturbing, is certainly not surprising given the plethora of so-called “news” channels that favor sensationalism and superficiality over substance.

Pitts’s second, and salient, point was how the American people have become so brainwashed after the events of September 11, 2001 that they no longer seem to be disturbed by their government’s mendacity, use of torture, warrantless surveillance, denial of legal due process, or prolonged imprisonment of suspects without charge or trial.

The tragedy is this denial of due process has become so transparent that attorneys once assigned to prosecute alleged terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay have resigned in protest, condemning military tribunals as little more than kangaroo courts where defense lawyers are routinely denied access to evidence that could assist them in refuting the charges leveled against Guantanamo’s detainees.

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Even when this misconduct causes charges to be dropped against alleged terrorism suspects, the result is simply more corruption and machinations. This was clearly in evidence when charges were recently dismissed against five Guantanamo detainees. Instead of being released, these detainees were simply thrust into more prolonged detention and legal limbo while prosecuting attorneys (who obviously lack the integrity of their protesting colleagues) debate whether or not they should “reinstate” the charges.

Even more disturbing than the evils perpetrated by the Bush dictatorship is the willingness of the American people to accept, and even condone, them, even if it means, as Pitts said, “Swallowing lies like candy.” It truly makes one wonder whether George W. Bush and his minions have made Americans more evil, or whether the Bush dictatorship simply reflects an evil that has always existed in America’s shadows, but now no longer fears the light of day.

The tragic reality is that liars have the advantage in American society, and perhaps in societies throughout the world. People who are honest in their dealings with others tend to assume that others will be honest in return; therefore they are more receptive to lies.

Also, as Adolph Hitler pointed out in his “great lie theory,” political leaders have a greater advantage when it comes to telling lies. A “common” person calling for war by deceitfully arguing that a country is producing “weapons of mass destruction,” would probably be dismissed as paranoid. But place that same lie in the hands of a president, and it is readily believed.

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