Lies And Damned Bloggers
Ron Fournier wrote in yesterday's WaPo about the lying rightwingers at CPAC and the equally dishonest liberal activists who hate them. His theme is that Real Americans are sick of all this lying by the partisans of both sides and just want the truth.
He then takes an example of each side's lies to illustrate this. The first is Mitt Romney, whom many people consider to be the front runner for the Republican nomination, at CPAC. He points out that Romney lied about the Democrats' policies on taxes, jobs, deficits, tort reform, and the treatment of terrorist suspects in his speech to the faithful. For the Democrats he used as an example an anonymous diarist at DKos who wrote that Dick Cheney was a "self-confessed war criminal," insisting that's a lie because Cheney has not been charged with a war crime, nor has he confessed to one.
Aside from the bizarre asymmetry of a top tier presidential candidate and an anonymous blogger being used as equal examples of bipartisan lying, he didn't even get it right. It's true that Cheney has never been formally charged with a war crime, but Dick Cheney did go on national television just a week ago and blithely admit, “I signed off on it; others did, as well, too,” when he was asked about waterboarding.
Waterboarding is a war crime. Here's just one example out of many that have been prosecuted:
Chase J. Nielsen, one of the U.S. airmen who flew in the Doolittle raid following the attack on Pearl Harbor, was subjected to waterboarding by his Japanese captors. At their trial for war crimes following the war, he testified "Well, I was put on my back on the floor with my arms and legs stretched out, one guard holding each limb. The towel was wrapped around my face and put across my face and water poured on. They poured water on this towel until I was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let up until I'd get my breath, then they'd start over again... I felt more or less like I was drowning, just gasping between life and death."
Cheney can say that he doesn't believe that waterboarding should be a war crime but that doesn't mean it isn't one. And every Justice Department coming along behind him can cover up for his war crime by failing to charge him with it, but that doesn't mean that he didn't confess to signing off on waterboarding on national TV last week-end --- which, again, is a war crime. Therefore, Dick Cheney confessed to a war crime and just because our political system is too weak to prosecute him for it doesn't mean it's a lie to point that out.
But hey, by all means, let's pretend that Mitt Romney's lies and this anonymous blogger's truth are both to blame for the fact that the country has no faith in politicians. Luckily we have the village arbiters of reality to help us work our way through it.