The stories report that “officials” are saying that there was no indication that the second shooting spree at Fort Hood was terrorism-related. They say that “Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, III Corps commander at Fort Hood, said the shooter was a soldier who was under evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder.” They say that “the shooter, identified as 34-year old Ivan Lopez, is among the dead.”
So they say. But these days what brain-functional person believes what officials, even those in high positions of responsibility, say about events like this. Just yesterday, April 2, I was reading about Michael Morell, a former deputy director at the CIA, who told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence “that the CIA ignored a key piece of information that was the exact opposite of what then-U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice told the American public” about the attack on U.S. personnel in Benghazi that took the life of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, among others.
The information came from CIA officers on the ground in Libya, but Morell said “he did not believe there had been no protests because there were press reports describing protests.”
What if the III Corps commander is saying there was no terrorism involved in the latest Fort Hood shootings because the people briefing him have read press reports saying there was no terrorism involved in the latest Fort Hood shootings?
That’s the problem with living in a media whirl where everything is being fabricated by people who believe that there is no “truth,” that it’s all relative to someone’s point of view. Of course that includes the bureaucrats’ concern with how others may react to what the facts say about their competence; the military officers’ view of how others will judge their fitness for command; the appointed government officials’ view of whether and how others will upbraid their policies; and the elected politicians view of how their backers will view their viability in the next election.
And, of course, there’s the media bureaucrats’ fear of what viewers will do with the TV remote if their network comes late to the feeding frenzy because they waited to check out whether the latest “news” feed contained poison.
There was a time when it was not entirely irrational for Americans to assume that, where life and death matters of public concern were involved, “big lies” would not routinely be the stuff the news was made of. We expected high government officials to hem and haw a bit while they were catching up with events. But we also expected that, once the facts became clear, they would make an effort to provide a true account to the people at large. National security considerations made for exceptions to this, of course, but they were not the rule.
In the last generation or so, however, a maxim I often heard associated with a well-known public figure in the early years of my public service seems to have become the rule: Never tell the truth when a lie will do. The maxim depends on a simple logic: Information is power. Sharing power tends to diminish it. Therefore, never share information unless doing so preserves or increases one’s power.
Moreover, when the power to fabricate information is comprehensively monopolized over several generations, as it was in the heyday of Communist Party dictatorship in the old Soviet Union, the time comes when people at large resign themselves to the fact that their peaceful daily existence depends on conforming to whatever “truth” those in power are determined to impose upon them.
Solzhenitsyn famously chronicled the enormous spiritual and moral toll this resignation of truth involves. On the day before he was forcibly sent into exile in the West he released the essay “Live Not by Lies!” in which he wrote of himself and his fellow citizens in the Soviet Union:
We have so helplessly ceded our humanity that for the modest handouts of today we are ready to surrender up all principles, our soul, all the labors of our ancestors, all the prospects of our descendants – anything to avoid disrupting our meager existence. We have lost our strength, our pride, our passion. …
We have internalized well the lessons drummed into us by the state; …We can do nothing. …
Some will counter: But really there is nothing to be done! Our mouths are gagged, no one listens to us; no one asks us. How can we make them listen to us?
To make them reconsider – is impossible.
The natural thing would be simply not to re-elect them, but there are no re-elections in our country. … [Translation from: “The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings,” Edward E. Ericson, Jr. and Daniel J. Mahoney (ed.)]
In America we are still supposed to be able to do “the natural thing.” But how many of us discern the fact that our nation is now on the brink? One fact about the latest attack at Fort Hood should awaken us: “While it was happening, soldiers began jumping over fences to escape the attacker.” All were told to “Close your windows! Seek shelter immediately.” So thanks to the lie that guns kill, we lose the lives of people trained in using them to stop the real killers.
Policies put in place during the Clinton era, and maintained by Republican and Democratic administrations in Washington since then, require U.S. armed forces be disarmed on American military bases. The nation’s defenders are prohibited from being ready to defend themselves or their family members. As a result standing orders condition our troops to run from the sound of the guns when fighting starts in their own front yard. So-called “leaders” from both wings of the sham party system are thus content to foment a culture of behavioral cowardice in our troops.
So what do you think they mean to do to the people at large, as they collude to disarm us and make us dependent on their commands for our life and health and daily bread, as Soviet citizens were dependent on their party bosses and bureaucrats? Until and unless we dramatically signify that we have not forgotten the allegiance to self-evident truth that has been the foundation of our nation’s exceptional character, we are doomed to be consumed by lies, just as they were.
But unlike them, we can still do the natural thing (i.e., the thing we are entitled to do, by “the laws of nature and of nature’s God”). As citizens we can use our votes to send a simple message to our elected representatives: “The purveyors of the culture of lies, behavioral cowardice and death must go, along with all of their collaborators, or else we will dismiss you.”
I see only one movement under way that rejects the vocationally deceitful political culture that now predominates in both so-called “major” political parties. It is the congregation of those who have pledged to use their vote to energize the political will needed to impeach and remove Obama from power, by constitutional means, along with his henchmen and collaborators,. Have you informed yourself about this movement? Have you signed on? Or are you content simply to cooperate with the twin-party sham, thereby proving that Americans, too, have now “lost our strength, our pride, our passion” for truth, justice and the liberty of our republic?
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