In One Eye

Saturday, June 21, 2003
Dr. Marshall's latest blog has to do with the essence of reality and the morality of decision making. It's an interesting piece, even though there's a certain--I hate to use the word--naiveté about it.
Even if the consequences of going into Iraq turn out to be good -- and that seems to be an open question, though I think it was and to a degree remains possible -- it's wrong to have deceived the public to make the policy happen. It's wrong to have damaged the country's intelligence agencies. Let's not even get into the damage that was done to the country's standing in the world. It's also wrong for the political opposition not to say it was wrong, even if the short-term political consequences are uncertain or even damaging.
That is, some things are right and some things are wrong. Lying is wrong, and not pointing out that it's wrong is also wrong. Those who are right--who have taken the moral high ground--need to strengthen their resolve to pursue the truth.

Although I happen to agree wholeheartedly with this position--and thus, perhaps, expose myself as a naif--I have trouble wrapping my mind around this vis-à-vis the Bushies. I don't think they see their contentions regarding WMD (and other domestic issues) as being mendacious. Furthermore, I'm not sure I do. As Marshall himself admits, "It's more complicated than people just lying. It's having your agenda and then having the facts. You try to get them to fit together. And when they don't, well, you go with your agenda."

Given this agenda-driven mindset, then, the Bushies don't see their unfounded conclusions ("Mission accomplished," "There were WMD in the trailers") as necessarily lying. As stated in a previous post, the Bushies are convinced of the veracity of their "lies." Therein lies the major problem for the country.

Thus, it's easy to castigate people who lie. It is easy to call lying "wrong." A moral difficulty arises, however, when those same people don't see themselves as liars or their utterances as lies.