Summary: Here’s the big list of lies by our leaders. It’s one of the most important posts among the 3,300 on the FM website. It should be posted in every home. America will change when enough Americans no longer accept leaders who lie — even those of their own party. This goes up as a reference page on the right-side menu, to be updated with future lies by our leaders. In the comments post other big lies by our leaders that should go on this list.
“Since becoming a journalist I had often heard the advice to “believe nothing until it has been officially denied”.
— Claud Cockburn (Irish journalist) quoted in Discord of Trumpets: The Autobiography of a Legendary Newspaperman (1956). Often attributed to Bismarck.
- Examples of lies to guide us.
- FDR before WWII.
- Fear-mongering to start the Cold War.
- All our foes are Hitler.
- Other examples.
- Are we cowards, or just gullible?
- For More Information.
(1) Examples of lies to guide us
“I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.”
— George Washington in his Farewell Address (1796).
The history of American since WWII is one of lies by leaders that we eagerly embrace. No matter how often they lie, we believe. Here are some of the most outrageous, some of the most influential, and some that are just routine.
- There was no missile gap.
- There was no bomber gap.
- The Tonkin Gulf incident was fiction.
- 9-11 was not staged from Afghanistan.
- Saddam was not working with al Qaeda.
- Iraq’s soldiers didn’t kill babies in Kuwait.
- Torture didn’t help us find & kill bin Laden.
- Hitler didn’t plan to conquer South America.
- The Russians shot down our U-2 over Russia.
- The policeman didn’t warn 12-year old Tamir Rice before killing him.
- US intel had little evidence proving Saddam had functional WMDs.
- The 1976 “Team B” reports about the aggressive powerful USSR were fiction.
- There were no Libyan hit teams roaming America (gated TIME article; open version)
- Iran has been 3 years from having an atomic bomb since 1984 (& still doesn’t have it).
- The USS Vincennes did shoot down Iran Air Flight 655 (we eventually admitted it, then lied about the circumstances). More details here.
- Yemen’s al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) does not “pose the greatest potential threat to the United States.”
- It’s false to say about ISIS in Syria and Iraq that “We are now facing an existential threat to the security of the United States of America …”
(2) FDR’s campaign against Germany before Pearl Harbor
“I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany”
— Speech by FDR about NAZI plans to conqueror the western hemisphere.
This is not a lie by US government officials, but still an amazing story: the British Security Coordination project set up to run information operations in the US to push us into WWII. See this description of the BSC in The Guardian. Their greatest success was the fake map showing Hitler’s plans to invade the western hemisphere, a keynote of FDR’s powerful speech on 27 October 1941 (see this story in The Daily Mail. For the full story see British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, 1940-1945.
(3) Fear-mongering to start the Cold War
“Mr. President, if that’s what you want there is only one way to get it. That is to make a personal appearance before Congress and scare the hell out of the country.”
— Senator Arthur Vandenberg’s advice to Truman about how to start the Cold War. On 12 March 1947 Truman did exactly that. From Put yourself in Marshall’s place by James P. Warburg (1948). In 1941 he helped develop our wartime propaganda programs.
The Soviet Union was a great power, looking for opportunities to expand after WWII. But the US government created the Cold War by exaggerating its menace and power, and lied routinely to keep it going.
What’s sad is that they’re running the same playbook again, and we’re buying it. Government officials demonize Russia while ignoring our role in creating the Ukraine civil war: Finding truth amidst the lies about Russia & the Ukrainian civil war.
For more about this see The Ukraine anti-semitic flyer: a case study in propaganda, Let’s stop the 2-minute hate on Putin & think before we reignite the Cold War and Finding truth amidst the lies about Russia & the Ukrainian civil war. and The first rule of American war is not to believe what we’re told.
(4) All our foes are Hitler
“Every nation has the government it deserves.”
— Joseph de Maistre (lawyer, diplomat, philosopher), letter dated 13 August 1811 from Lettres et Opuscules.
Just as every geopolitical crisis is Munich 1938 to our hawks, all our foes are Hitler. Here are some claims by our Presidents. There’s a larger body from US officials, and an almost endless list of often-daft such claims by our geopolitical “experts” and other Very Serious People.
Saddam Hussein was not like Hitler, despite both Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. making the comparison. Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia was not Hitler, despite Bill Clinton making the comparison. Vladimir Putin is not Hitler, despite Hillary Clinton making the comparison of Russia with NAZI Germany (as did British PM David Cameron).
See more examples in an excerpt from War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death by Norman Solomon (2005), and in “61 Times Bill Kristol Was Reminded of Hitler and Churchill“.
(5) Other examples of lies to guide us
“An honest man’s word is as good as his bond.”
— Said by the squire Sancho Panza in Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote (1605).
Keeping us scared by false alarms about terrorism in America: The US government is competent, as proven by the results of the latest terror alert, Should we panic at the many warnings about domestic terrorism?, Are ISIS terrorists coming to America from a base in Mexico?, Who believes that the Federal government seeks to take over Texas?, and Prepare for terror on the 4th of July!
Debunking the lies: The most useful news story of 2015: the truth about the bin Laden hit.
Add your contributions to the list in the comments.
(6) Are we cowards, or just unusually gullible?
“Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful — horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember; Hatred has its pleasures. It is therefore often the compensation by which a frightened man reimburses himself for the miseries of Fear. The more he fears, the more he will hate. And Hatred is also a great anodyne for shame.”
— From the demon Screwtape, in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.
See the common element to these lies: they arouse our fear. Why does fear have such an effect on us, despite officials ‘long history of lying to us about threats? How do you describe people ruled by their fears? We call them cowards. It’s the description of us that none of us dare say.
- Are Americans easily panicked cowards? I think not, but many experts disagree.
- Today’s fear-mongering (they think we’re cowards, but I’m sure they’re wrong).
- Why are we so fearful? Have we become cowards?
Our leaders so frequently employ fear to guide us because lies work. The information superhighway has not made us smarter, it just carries the lies faster and father. Our leaders will stop when we become stronger and more skeptical. On that day we will have taken a large step towards retaking control of America.
(7) For More Information
- Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations.
- Our minds are addled, the result of skillful and expensive propaganda.
- Why do we believe, when the government lies to us so often? When we change, the government also will change.
- Amnesia and anger: one is the problem, the other the cure.
- Government officials’ lies erode the Republic’s foundation. Do we care?
We hold the solution in our hands…
- Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America.
- Remembering is the first step to learning. Living in the now is ignorance.
- Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.