Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Government lacks credibility, so does nation

    It is a profoundly distressing thing to realize that one’s own government is so distrusted, particularly when it comes to matters of peace versus war, that its leaders must resort to all sorts of public relations tricks and constitutional somersaults in its quest to respond to a clear foreign-affairs challenge. Having been burned very badly by the Iraq War WMD intelligence fiasco, Americans almost automatically discount anything our national security apparatus has to say about events in the Middle East.
    Obama and his associates tell us that those Assad regime varmints in Syria are world-class devils whose “mass destruction” proclivities must be punished severely. Trouble is, this public relations line parallels almost exactly the Bush crowd’s rhetoric back in 2002 and 2003 with regard to Iraq. The president argues that America’s “credibility” is on the line when it comes to our response to events in Syria. Sen. John McCain and other national security hawks in the GOP advance much the same thesis, and go even further than the president in wanting to bash Assad in the head with our military power. Both Obama and his political foes seem desperate to show that our words can truly be believed.
    So, it has come to this. Washington, D.C., has fibbed, dissembled, distorted and dishonestly manipulated intelligence findings so often over the years that our officials are not believed even when they are telling the truth. Our “credibility” is doubted largely because our functionaries have so often been lacking in it.
Frank Goheen
Camas, Wash.


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