National Security: QuibblingOct 1st, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Editorials
I attended a school where there was an honor code. For four years, the code that we diligently followed said this: “We will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate among us those who do.” During my first summer, we received instruction in the code, as well as ethics. One of the subjects that was broached during this training was the matter of quibbling – talking around the truth. We were given many examples of this type of dishonesty and told not to do it. Quibbling might not be as egregious as outright lying, but it is dishonest nonetheless. Of course, there’s a matter of discretion. When the boss’s wife asks you what you think of her new hat, it probably isn’t a good idea to tell her it looks like she’s wearing a lampshade. I think of those lessons nearly every day when I view the nightly news and see political leaders quibbling on a regular basis. They talk around the truth. They avoid answering simple questions and, instead, provide an answer that puts them in a good light. I can accept quibbling if it is a matter of national security. We must protect our nation’s secrets, however this is not usually the case. More often, a politician will engage in this type of dishonesty because of political expediency, in the vernacular — CYA. The darnedest thing is that these congressmen and senators are the same people who appoint nearly all of the young men and women to our nation’s service academies where the honor code prevails. In other words, they’re responsible for picking those who will uphold an honor code that they themselves would fail … and do so on a regular basis. It is so hypocritical. I only know one of them who is a graduate of a service academy – Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. He graduated from West Point in 1971, a year after I did from the Air Force Academy. I would like the opportunity to question him on the application of the honor code he lived under to politics and, specifically, how frequently the issue of quibbling is violated. I’ll probably never get the chance to ask that question in person, but I do wonder what his answer would be. Some lies are institutional like the issue of global warming. The data taken from sensors around the earth indicates that the earth hasn’t warmed since 1998. In fact, we may be entering a period of “global cooling.” But some circles are so invested in the theory of global warming that they persist with a theory that the facts belie. First, they change the term from global warming to “climate change” (how convenient it is to switch terms) and then hysterically attack those of us who oppose their point of view as deniers when the facts tell anyone with common sense and the ability to reason something else. The motive for the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya last year is another classic example of a political lie. At the time, America was well into a presidential campaign – the election was only two months away. The Administration willingly lied to the American people, telling us that the attackers were enflamed by a 15 minute video that criticized the Prophet Mohamed and took out their frustrations on our diplomats. They even repeated this lie to the families of the slain. They persisted in this falsehood for three weeks (President Obama mentioned it several times when he addressed the UN in late September) before changing their tune. The reason why the political right is so concerned about the issue of voter fraud is a matter of honesty. Their opponents cry voter suppression, but that isn’t the motivation at all. We simply believe in the cliché, one (qualified) man, one vote. When we permit non-US citizens to vote or others to vote multiple times, then the election is a fraud and the result a lie. The media often participates in the lie of their favorite politician or cause. They really never held President Obama accountable for the lie over Benghazi. In fact, one of their own, moderator Candy Crowley, covered for the president during one of three debates by backing his assertion that he had claimed the act was terrorism all along. Recently, during the Washington Navy Yard attack, the media jumped on the incorrect fact that the shooter had used an AR-15. Did you ever hear one of them issue a public retraction when it was revealed that Aaron Alexis used a shotgun? I didn’t. Honesty is an important element in civil society. The Bible repeatedly brings this subject up and differentiates between the honest and dishonest man. We know the right course; it is a matter of honesty and it is the honorable thing to do.