QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd
2004-08-27 - 5:19 p.m.
A second post today...
A column from the Chicago Sun Timesexpresses my feelings so well. If you tell something loud enough and often enough, the masses of this country tend to believe it. Even in the face of strong evidence, 50% of those polled believe that George Bush is doing a good job; they also believe that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was worth the loss of lives and the muddle things are still in over there. As a country, we don't seem to pay much attention to history and all that we could learn from it.
Bush's lies cause untold pain
August 27, 2004
BY ANDREW GREELEY
I was perhaps 14 years old. I was praying late in the afternoon in our old basement church. At the front of the church, beneath the Blessed Mother's altar and our parish service flag with its many blue stars and, in 1942, a couple of gold stars, a woman was praying fervently. She was perhaps 12 years older than I was, fashionably dressed, and apparently distraught.
''Dear Lord,'' she cried out suddenly, ''Why didn't you take me instead of him!''
By that time in my life I had become an incorrigible if precocious news consumer, reading newspapers every day and listening to the news broadcasts on our Philco radio. I knew all about strategy and tactics (or thought I did) and followed the war on maps. Casualties were a part of war. Men died and that was a shame, but they had died in a good cause. I was not aware of the pain of loss so many mothers, daughters, wives, lovers and sweethearts would suffer. Later I would hear a news commentator reflect on the line, ''Only one of our planes was lost'' about the tragedy of the loss of a single life and the agony of those who had loved that pilot.
War, I realized then, is not a game but horrible madness: 20 million Russians dead, 600,000 Germans killed in air raids that did not shorten the war by a single day. Classmates and friends killed in Korea, children of classmates and friends dead in Vietnam -- each death a loss from which many others would never recover. Even those who were on the right side, as we were in the World War, did terrible things and caused enormous human pain. The woman in St. Angela Church, from whose grief I had quickly and silently fled, had told me what war was all about.
The brief obituaries of almost a thousand young men and women dead in Iraq tear at my heart: the promise of lives obliterated and a wake of pain left behind -- some of it to blight the survivors for the rest of their lives. And what of the grief of the Iraqi survivors we watch without much sympathy as they scream at us on the TV screen? They are only Arabs, no more important in our calculations than the Indians wiped out by cowboys or the cavalry in old-fashioned Westerns.
One sees buttons that read, ''At least Clinton's lies didn't kill anyone.'' Harsh words. Yet the Iraq war is the result of deceptions in which the president and his administration have indulged and indeed continue to indulge. Planned before the attack on the World Trade Center, it is not part of the so-called war on terror. Iraq was not involved in the attack and was not seriously linked with al-Qaida. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There is little hope of a peaceful and democratic Iraq. The Iraqis hate us (as the Gallup Polls there indicate). There will not be a shift of the balance of power in the Middle East. The ouster of Saddam Hussein might cost eventually thousands of American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.
Some defenders of the president argue that he did not deliberately deceive the American people. Yet he and the vice president and the neo-con intellectuals continue to repeat the falsehoods, modifying them ever so slightly so they will enjoy some superficial plausibility: We may still find the weapons of mass destruction, there were some ''connections'' between Iraq and al-Qaida.
If you tell a big enough lie and tell it often enough, some people will believe you. Never admit your mistakes, never assume responsibility for the consequences of these mistakes. Keep repeating the same old deceptions -- often with a show of anger -- and enough people will believe you to re-elect you. The war proves that you are a strong leader, a man who can make the tough decisions, a man not greatly concerned about ''sensitivity.''
If ever there were high crimes and misdemeanors, the lies about the war in Iraq fit that category. We are an odd people. We impeach a president because he lied about his private sex life, which killed no one and harmed no one beyond his family. Yet we support and may well re-elect a ''strong'' president whose lies are responsible for so many flag-draped caskets, so many poignant obituaries, and so much grief. How many women are sobbing in church these days because of Bush's lies?
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