After escalated provocations with Mexico until he obtained the necessary pretext in 1846, President James Polk announced, “War exists,” thus explaining away how it really happened. After defeating Spain, William McKinley said he wanted to “uplift and civilize and Christianize” the Filipinos, and “by God’s grace do the very best we could by them.” But they’d already declared independence, so doing the “best” actually meant allowing the worst — killing and burning villages during a 12-year war of resistance.
In 1947, Harry Truman (image right) wanted to “assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.” But the pledge didn’t stop him from approving CIA manipulation of elections in Greece and Italy. And when asked about a US operation to overthrow the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1953, the State Department called the charges ridiculous and untrue. This saved President Eisenhower the burden of lying about it himself. In his memoirs, however, Ike stepped up, still denying that the US had anything to do with the coup.
President Johnson’s most famous lie was his 1964 announcement that two US destroyers had been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin. This trumped up incident provided a pretext to escalate war in Vietnam. The following year, he railed about “atrocities” in the Dominican Republic. The reports weren’t true, but it gave him an excuse to occupy the country.
Nixon, of course, misled Americans about many things, from bombing Cambodia to covering up dirty tricks. But Reagan was equally adept. The Organization of Caribbean States pleaded for the 1983 US intervention in Grenada, he once claimed. Actually, the pleading came from the other side. He also repeatedly denounced the Russians for spraying toxic chemicals over Afghanistan. As it turns out, pollen-laden feces had been dropped by honeybees over Laos and Cambodia. Afghanistan wasn’t even affected.
Experts differ over whether the first war with Iraq was a set up. But there’s no dispute about George Bush’s 1988 claim that he never met Manuel Noriega, not even when he was CIA director. He was later forced to admit the truth.
Clinton certainly lied about “having sex with that woman.” But more crucial deceptions escaped much notice. Bombing a Sudanese drug factory in 1998, for example, he called it a front for nerve gas production, an assertion that proved false. More crucial, he didn’t mention that the US had been conducting a covert campaign to destabilize Sudan’s government for two years, passing on military equipment to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. That was a touchy subject, since the guerrillas were using women and children as forced labor, mortaring urban areas, killing relief workers, and shooting down civilian airliners.
As for Bush, the full scope of his misadventures with candor is hard to cover in one short article. But it clearly started before his crusade to oust Saddam Hussein. One earlier example was his relationship with Enron’s Kenneth Lay, much closer than he chose to admit after it disastrous and bogus bookkeeping was exposed.
As the rationale for US intervention in Iraq unraveled, outrage and disbelief were expressed over the possibility that Bush and his team had “misled” Congress and the public. That leads a related question. When Bush asserted in his 2003 State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein was seeking African uranium, was he just misinformed or purposely deceiving the public?
Whichever is true, he and administration spokesmen clearly asserted that Iraq was a) responsible for the 9/11 attacks, b) directly linked to al-Qaeda, c) trying to import aluminum tubes to develop nuclear weapons, d) hiding vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons from the first Gulf War, e) capable of developing smallpox, f) obstructing weapons inspectors, and g) able to deploy weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes. None of this turned out to be true.
Examples could certainly be added from the Obama years, perhaps starting with the denial of complicity in the overthrow of Honduras’ president early in his administration. “You can keep your plan” also comes to mind. In any case, this sordid record is meant to indicate that presidents frequently resort to fabrication and mendacity in shaping public opinion. But even impeachment isn’t likely to change that, since many of the biggest lies are embraced, at least initially, by most members of Congress, and disseminated without sufficient scrutiny.
The real problem is the presidency itself. As Historian Barbara Tuchman suggests, it has become too complex and powerful to be left to the “fallible judgment of one individual.” Yet if the past is a guide, one thing seems sure: Whether it’s Trump or someone more “normal,” presidents will continue to mislead us until more effective limits on executive power are imposed.
About the author:
Greg Guma is the Author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Big Lies, and The People’s Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.
Source: Global Research, 2016
Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled activities.”
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.”
The report is a description of “tools and infrastructure used by Russian intelligence services to compromise and exploit networks and infrastructure associated with the recent U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities.”
The report does not provide ...
James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal, Terrorism and Tyranny, and other books. Bovard is on the USA Today Board of Contributors
The presidential campaign has mortified millions of Americans in part because the presidency has become far more dangerous in recent times. Since 9/11, we have lived in a perpetual emergency which supposedly justifies trampling the law and Constitution. And the illegalities will not end after Tuesday’s vote count. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have signaled that they will perpetuate power grabs in the next four years.
For generations, politicians have touted voting as a magical process which almost automatically protects the ...
Paris vs. Donbass
Forty-three years ago on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military led by General Augusto Pinochet, crushed the democratically elected Unidad Popular government of Salvador Allende.
The objective was to replace a progressive, democratically elected government by a brutal military dictatorship.
The military coup was supported by the CIA. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger played a direct role in the military plot. (Nixon and Kissinger, image right)
For details see: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/KOR309A.html and references below.
In the weeks leading up the coup, US Ambassador Nathaniel Davis and members of the CIA held meetings with Chile’s top military brass together with the leaders of the National Party and the ...
On Friday, October 5th, the U.S. Secretary of State – John Kerry calls for war crimes investigation of Russia’s and Assad governments for the destruction of Syrian city of Aleppo. The western corporate mass media was a very quick, like, for instance, The New York Times, immediately and clearly to accuse the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for alleged war crimes in Syria – the same cliché used by the same propaganda machinery against the Serbs (Srebrenica case from 1995 or Kosovo War from 1999) during the bloody destruction of ex-Yugoslavia (by the U.S. and ...
How can it be that in virtually all of the Presidential-candidate head-to-head Democratic versus Republican polling that was done of both Democratic and Republican candidates during the primaries, the preferred Democratic candidate against any one of the Republican candidates was Bernie Sanders, but he almost certainly won’t be that Party’s nominee (and there’s more on that here); and the preferred Republican candidate against either one of the Democratic candidates was John Kasich, but he certainly won’t be the Republican nominee?
Sanders and Kasich also scored the highest in his respective Party for net favorability rating, but almost certainly neither candidate will ...
“While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked. The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate. Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer, and Syria will be no different.” Senator Rand Paul, (R-Kentucky), 7 April 2017.
A central concern of the Founding generation, when writing the Constitution, was to ensure that no one man, or one man and his clique, could take the republic to war. To that end, the Constitution ...
As explosions from detonated mines continued in the background a Syrian general confirmed in some detail an ugly truth: Washington and its close allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel backed the ISIS takeover and destruction of Palmyra.
Most of the weapons ISIS used were from the US , with some ammunition from Israel . ISIS had US Hummers, spinning explosive projectiles and military rations from the US , Turkey and Saudi Arabia .
That should not have been a surprise. US officials admitted in 2014 that their allies Turkey , the Saudis and Qatar were backing every single armed group in ...
Although the 2016 presidential election is still in the primaries phase, contenders have already brought up America’s failed foreign wars. Hillary Clinton is taking flak over Libya, and Donald Trump has irked the GOP by bringing up Iraq. But what of Kosovo?
The US-led NATO operation that began on March 24, 1999 was launched under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine asserted by President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. For 78 days, NATO targeted what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – which later split into Serbia and Montenegro – over alleged atrocities against ethnic Albanians in the ...
The world has suddenly realised that there is a “refugee crisis”. There are more refugees now than at any time since World War II. The number has grown three-fold since the end of 2001. The problem is treated as if it arose just recently, but it has been a long time coming. The pressure has been building and building until it has burst the dams of wilful ignorance.
Death and despair has migrated to the doorsteps of Europe. But tens of millions of people do not simply abandon home and native land for an insecure dangerous future of desperate struggle. The ...
“Reform always provokes rage on the part of those who profit by the old order.” Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Crisis of the Old Order
Who are the anti-Trump protesters besmirching the name of progressives by pretending to be progresives and by refusing to accept the outcome of the presidential election? They look like, and are acting worse than, the “white trash” that they are denouncing.
I think I know who they are. They are thugs for hire and are paid by the Oligarchy to delegitimize Trump’s presidency in the way that Washington and the German Marshall Fund paid students in Kiev to ...
One has to wonder just how much longer the American people will silently permit the categorical failure of American foreign policy, both in theory and in practice. The evidence confirming the totality of our failure is breathtaking in scope and severity. Changes are needed to preserve U.S. national security and economic prosperity.
Recent headlines have captured the character of this failure. Fifteen years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released findings that “corruption substantially undermined the U.S. mission in Afghanistan from the very beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. … We conclude that failure to ...
So, here's how it is:
1) There is still no evidence - that has been presented to the public - that Assad ordered a chemical weapons (CW) attack.
2) Yes, that evidence should be made public, discussed and debated by Congress, and a vote taken before we use force. I acknowledge that the War Powers Resolution gives the President the authority to use force for 60 days - but the interests of peace and stability are better served through a debate and a democratic process as opposed to a unilateral decision made in secret, especially when the military action is punitive and ...
The chronic want of food and water, the lack of sanitation and medical help, the neglect of means of communication, the poverty of educational provision, the all-pervading spirit of depression that I have myself seen to prevail in our villages after over a hundred years of British rule make me despair of its beneficence. — Rabindranath Tagore
If the history of British rule in India were to be condensed to a single fact, it is this: there was no increase in India’s per-capita income from 1757 to 1947.
Churchill, explaining why he defended the stockpiling of food within Britain, while millions died ...
On the 70th anniversary of Tokyo’s fire bombing, relatives are asking for a real tribute to its victims.
It was just after midnight when the rumble of B-29 bombers was heard, jolting Tokyo awake. The incendiaries that fell from their bellies, full of jelly petroleum, were like nothing anyone had ever seen.
They turned canals and rivers into flame and if the jelly stuck to you, it kept burning till flesh turned to bone. “The planes filled the sky like dragonflies,” recalls Michiko Kiyoka. “Everywhere you looked there were charred bodies.”
Today, Ms Kiyoka, now 91, will join a small group of elderly ...
Serbia today is a member-State of United Nations (U.N.), after the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was split into several nations during the early 1990’s when war broke out between Serbian General Milosevic and neighboring nations. After partition, Serbia is still the most powerful “state” of the former Yugoslavia.
“Kosovo”, the term used for the territory of southern Serbia, is de-jure recognised as a “state” by over 110+ “states”, but is not a “state” itself, as per the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (1933), and is not a “state” at the U.N. where 2/3rd positive vote is ...
“We could become the first country to go fascist through free elections.” — William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Generally, we avoid using the word “fascism” in polite company, and until recently, a person pointing out parallels between Nazi Germany and the current United States would invite elevated eyelids along with the outworn charge of sounding like a “conspiracy theorist“. The current electoral cycle seems to be changing that, so I will trust that now is the right time to convey some ideas I’ve been marinating regarding fascism in my US Homeland. The ruling plutocrats are clearly ferrying the ...
On April 7, two U.S. Navy battle ships USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Ross launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at al-Shayrat military airfield in Syria’s Homs province from the Eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. strikes particularly targeted the main landing strip, aircraft, radio locators, air defense system and fuel stations.
The strike was approved by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said that the Syrian Air Force used affiliated al-Shayrat air base to prepare chemical attack on the city of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and ...
What Is The Obama Regime Up To?
Twenty Years Of Dictatorial Democracy
Chile, September 11, 1973
The 2016 Aleppo Massacre: Are Putin And Assad The Only “War Criminals”?
John Fire Lame Deer to the American people
US, UK, & EU, Are Now Dictatorships
The President Needs Congressional Authorization for Military Action as Required by the Constitution
How The US Backed The ISIS Takeover And Destruction Of Palmyra
Kosovo: An evil little war (almost) all US candidates liked
The Refugee Crisis And The New Holocaust
The Anti-Trump Protesters Are Tools Of The Oligarchy. Their Objective: Delegitimize Donald, Install “Madam President”
The Wholesale Failure of American Foreign Policy
Mark Twain on the Americans
Only Fools and Liars will Blame Assad
British Colonials Starved To Death 60 Million-Plus Indians, But, Why?
War Crime: Tokyo Fire Bombing 70th Anniversary, 100,000 People Died In A Single Night
Illegal occupation of southern Serbia: Kosovo – Analysis
A Brief History of Fascism in the United States
Chemical Attack in Idlib – Duplication of Scenario in Eastern Ghouta