Donald Trump certainly lies more often, and sometimes for the most trivial or ego-driven reasons. But presidential prevaricating is a common tactic dating back to the nation’s early days.
After escalated provocations with Mexico until he obtained the necessary pretext in 1846, President James Polk announced, “War exists,” thus explaining away how it really happened. After defeating Spain, William McKinley said he wanted to “uplift and civilize and Christianize” the Filipinos, and “by God’s grace do the very best we could by them.” But they’d already declared independence, so doing the “best” actually meant allowing the worst — killing and burning villages during a 12-year war of resistance.
In 1947, Harry Truman (image right) wanted to “assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.” But the pledge didn’t stop him from approving CIA manipulation of elections in Greece and Italy. And when asked about a US operation to overthrow the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1953, the State Department called the charges ridiculous and untrue. This saved President Eisenhower the burden of lying about it himself. In his memoirs, however, Ike stepped up, still denying that the US had anything to do with the coup.
President Johnson’s most famous lie was his 1964 announcement that two US destroyers had been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin. This trumped up incident provided a pretext to escalate war in Vietnam. The following year, he railed about “atrocities” in the Dominican Republic. The reports weren’t true, but it gave him an excuse to occupy the country.
Nixon, of course, misled Americans about many things, from bombing Cambodia to covering up dirty tricks. But Reagan was equally adept. The Organization of Caribbean States pleaded for the 1983 US intervention in Grenada, he once claimed. Actually, the pleading came from the other side. He also repeatedly denounced the Russians for spraying toxic chemicals over Afghanistan. As it turns out, pollen-laden feces had been dropped by honeybees over Laos and Cambodia. Afghanistan wasn’t even affected.
Experts differ over whether the first war with Iraq was a set up. But there’s no dispute about George Bush’s 1988 claim that he never met Manuel Noriega, not even when he was CIA director. He was later forced to admit the truth.
Clinton certainly lied about “having sex with that woman.” But more crucial deceptions escaped much notice. Bombing a Sudanese drug factory in 1998, for example, he called it a front for nerve gas production, an assertion that proved false. More crucial, he didn’t mention that the US had been conducting a covert campaign to destabilize Sudan’s government for two years, passing on military equipment to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. That was a touchy subject, since the guerrillas were using women and children as forced labor, mortaring urban areas, killing relief workers, and shooting down civilian airliners.
As for Bush, the full scope of his misadventures with candor is hard to cover in one short article. But it clearly started before his crusade to oust Saddam Hussein. One earlier example was his relationship with Enron’s Kenneth Lay, much closer than he chose to admit after it disastrous and bogus bookkeeping was exposed.
As the rationale for US intervention in Iraq unraveled, outrage and disbelief were expressed over the possibility that Bush and his team had “misled” Congress and the public. That leads a related question. When Bush asserted in his 2003 State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein was seeking African uranium, was he just misinformed or purposely deceiving the public?
Whichever is true, he and administration spokesmen clearly asserted that Iraq was a) responsible for the 9/11 attacks, b) directly linked to al-Qaeda, c) trying to import aluminum tubes to develop nuclear weapons, d) hiding vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons from the first Gulf War, e) capable of developing smallpox, f) obstructing weapons inspectors, and g) able to deploy weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes. None of this turned out to be true.
Examples could certainly be added from the Obama years, perhaps starting with the denial of complicity in the overthrow of Honduras’ president early in his administration. “You can keep your plan” also comes to mind. In any case, this sordid record is meant to indicate that presidents frequently resort to fabrication and mendacity in shaping public opinion. But even impeachment isn’t likely to change that, since many of the biggest lies are embraced, at least initially, by most members of Congress, and disseminated without sufficient scrutiny.
The real problem is the presidency itself. As Historian Barbara Tuchman suggests, it has become too complex and powerful to be left to the “fallible judgment of one individual.” Yet if the past is a guide, one thing seems sure: Whether it’s Trump or someone more “normal,” presidents will continue to mislead us until more effective limits on executive power are imposed.
About the author:
Greg Guma is the Author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Big Lies, and The People’s Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.
The original source of this article is Global Research
Join the debate on our Twitter timeline!
The term "security" is a very multifaceted one. But today's geopolitical situation forces us to think about its military aspect above all.
Our attention is completely absorbed by news about wars, conflicts, military exercises and increasing defence capabilities. An average European reader has no chances to skip this kind of news while looking through news feeds of popular media.
Even planned further militarization of the European region and Russia pose the real threat today. A whole generation of European children is growing in the firm belief that the war is approaching. We destroy ourselves by our fears. We notice everything concerning military issues and neglect economic and social sides of our life. We live in a changed world and we are to blame for it.
Let's take Lithuania as an example. This small country with reach history and with immensely kind and open people last few weeks falls into the center of world ...
Vladimir Putin has harmed no American. Russia has not stood in the way of any American’s dream. As for the billionaires though, those American and British money bags, the Russians are posing an insurmountable hurdle for their investments. And we all know nothing can stand in the way of their progress. Unfortunately for the human race, mediocrity cannot rule either. Here is a prophesy as real as any newsreel you will view today, the “end all” conclusion for American “exceptionalism”.
Do you know where Crimea is? Seriously now, a gaff by presidential hopeful Gary Johnson the other day proved once and for all, not even educated Americans have a very big “mental map” of our world. I was a geography student first and teacher second, and I can tell you categorically that very few of America’s leaders know US history and geography, let alone world names and places. If Johnson had ...
A complex geopolitical situation in the region forces the Baltic States and their NATO allies to take unprecedented efforts to increase defence capabilities to counter potential aggressors. A new Lithuanian military strategy approved in March describes Russia actions along with terrorism as the main threats for the security of Lithuania, as reported by Delfi.
Unfortunately for pacifists, the Alliance and Russia today are arming and demonstrating their military power. They constantly compare their armed forces' strength and capabilities, conduct large-scale military exercises, respond to each other by deploying new contingents and military equipment closer and closer to the NATO-Russian border.
The Baltic States have become such a border.
Moscow has placed Iskander-M launchers in Kaliningrad. The Russian Iskander is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and has never been made available to any foreign army for operational use. The weapon affords Russia the ability to use its Baltic exclave to threaten US missile ...
A hegemonic power never says sorry.
Three recent episodes underscore this truism.
When US President Barack Obama offered a floral wreath at the cenotaph of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on 27 May 2016, some peace advocates in the United States, in Japan and in other parts of the world hoped against hope that he would say “sorry” for the Atom bomb that the then US President, Harry Truman, had ordered to be dropped over Hiroshima on the 6th of August 1945. The deadly bomb claimed 140,000 lives. Three days later a second Atom bomb destroyed the city of Nagasaki killing another 80,000.
There is a view advanced by a number of scholars and activists that based upon documentary analysis Japan had already indicated to the US Military Command in the Pacific a couple of months before 6th August that it was prepared to surrender if there were some safeguards for the position ...
Exclusive: Few Americans understand the ugly history behind the Nazi-affiliated movements that have gained substantial power in today’s U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime. Western propaganda has made these right-wing extremists the “good guys” versus the Russian “bad guys,” as Jonathan Marshall explains.
By Jonathan Marshall
The latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, one of the leading journals in its field, offers a two-page photo essay on “what to see, do, and buy” in Lviv, a picturesque city in the Western Ukraine. “Amid the turmoil that has rocked Ukraine over the past two years,” the article gushes, “Lviv has stood firmly as a stronghold of national culture, language, and identity.”
That’s one way of putting it. Another, less charitable way would be to note that Lviv has for nearly a century been a breeding ground of extreme Ukrainian nationalism, spawning terrorist movements, rabid anti-Semitism, and outright pro-Nazi political organizations that continue to pollute the country’s politics.
Sen. John ...
This article was first published in September 2014. Can we believe Hollande and Cameron? Evidence confirms that NATO is behind the recruitment of “jihadist terrorists
While NATO leaders in Newport Wales [September 2014] debate the Atlantic Alliance’s role “in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East”, it is worth recalling that in 2011 at the outset of the war in Syria, NATO became actively involved in the recruitment of Islamic fighters.
Reminiscent of the enlistment of the Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war, NATO headquarters in Brussels in liaison with the Turkish High command, according to Israeli intelligence sources, was involved in the enlisting of thousands of terrorists:
“Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish ...
According to a number of global mainstream media sources, the Pentagon is covering up a disturbing video that was never made public with the rest of the recent torture report.
According to various well respected journalists, including Seymour Hersh, the appalling video was recorded at Abu Ghraib, the notorious US torture dungeon in Iraq that made headlines roughly a decade ago, when the inhumane tactics being used at the prison were exposed.
Sadly, it seems that the evidence released years ago was only scratching the surface.
While the video has remained under wraps thus far, Hersh says it is only a matter of time before it comes out.
Giving a speech at the ACLU last week after the senate torture report was initially released, Hersh gave some insight into what was on the Pentagon’s secret tape.
In the most revealing portion of his speech he said that:
“Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened ...
September 17, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - Over recent months the situation in the Mediterranean has served as a dramatic reminder of what the leaders of Europe have tried hard to forget. The Syrian crisis has reached Europe. Although a lot of talk has been made over numbers and percentages of refugees that every country may or may not accept, let’s not forget that behind those numbers and the showy emotionalism of the politicians hides the ugly side of world politics.
The plans to overthrow the “annoying” regimes in the Middle East began at the time when the war hawks of Washington and their European allies prepared the first Iraqi war.
In a 2007 speech, US General Wesley Clark recounted a conversation he had back in 1991 with the then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. During that talk, the Secretary told the General that the Pentagon had already drawn plans in ...
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America has systematically violated the prohibition against the threat or use of force contained in the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. It has carved out a regime of impunity for its crimes based on its UN Security Council veto, non-recognition of international courts and sophisticated "information warfare" that undermines the rule of law with political justifications for otherwise illegal threats and uses of force.
Former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz has compared current U.S. policy to the illegal German "preemptive first strike" policy for which senior German officials were convicted of aggression at Nuremberg and sentenced to death by hanging.
In 2002, the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy described post-September 11th U.S. doctrine as "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept." And yet the U.S. government has succeeded in assembling alliances ...
Many articles in the US press have speculated at length in an attempt to define a new ideology called “Putinism.” The pieces serve as an attempt to fit Putin into an outdated Cold War narrative, as if some new ideology in the Russian Federation is playing the role that Marxism-Leninism once played in the Soviet Union, though the current Russian constitution forbids this.
The notable leaders of history are rarely ideologues. History judges people mainly by what they achieve, not what they write or say. As Chinese President Xi Jinping recently put it: “The worth of any plan is in its implementation.”
Putin has continued to play a specific role in the history of his country and the world. It is in his role as a leader of Russia that we can really define “Putinism.” However, when examining his achievements, Putin’s role and methods are not so different from those utilized by ...
BELGRADE – NATO soldiers should in future have free transit through Serbia, use its military infrastructure and be “protected” with a special status while staying in the country, writes “Vecernje Novosti”.
This is only one of the obligations Serbia committed to with individual action plan (IPAP), whose entry into force was officially marked by the Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Defense Minister Bratislav Gasic.
IPAP, among other things, involves signing of the so-called SOFA agreement (which Serbia already has with the US) with NATO member states, which regulates border crossing and immunity level for the members of Alliance while they are passing through Serbia or are residing in the country, as well as access to military facilities.
Serbia also committed to open the regional training center “Jug” near Bujanovac for all the members of the Partnership for Peace and NATO, to gradually harmonize its regulation in the field of defense with the EU ...
This article by Dr. Jacques Pauwels was published six years ago.
In the current context, the US is threatening to wage a preemptive nuclear war against Russia, which possesses a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons. Hillary Clinton has confirmed that “nukes are on the table” and she intends to use them if she becomes president. We need to defend ourselves against Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. Her solution is to blow up the planet.
World War II ended in Mushroom Clouds.
If Hillary decides to wage a preemptive nuclear war on Russia, World War III would commence with mushroom clouds.
How would World War III end. Would it have an ending?
In the words of Fidel Castro, “the collateral damage” of a nuclear war in the present context would be humanity in its entirety.
The threat is real: the US contemplates waging war war on Russia, which is tantamount to waging war on the World.
Liberal Democratic Party calls on to all Russian citizens to boycott Ukrainian confectionery company “Roshen”, owned by the country’s President Peter Poroshenko.
Ukrainian authorities continue punitive operation against its own citizens! Now abandoning their country in thousands for refugees fleeing to Russia, mostly old men, women and children. People are forced to leave all their belongings for years! Horror, fear, hunger and humiliation – that is what has prepared Kiev junta civilians southeast. From the illusory hopes that the election of President Ukraine peace returns, no trace – she melted like candy chocolate baron Poroshenko. Having full power, he actually gave the nod to the destruction of innocent people by declaring them bandits, separatists and extremists.
Killed Russian-speaking civilians in Donbass region by Kiev Nazi junta
Russian Liberal Democratic Party urges citizens to support the civilians of southeast. Each of us can now express their civic position by taking part in fundraising for ...
Let’s imagine for just a moment that a people was forcibly dispossessed of its homeland.
Let’s imagine that a portion of this people had rotted in refugee camps for some seven decades while others had lived under a brutal military occupation for almost five decades.
Let’s imagine that the people living under this military occupation were systematically tortured, abused, stolen from, and prevented from exercising their most basic and universally ratified human and political rights.
Let’s imagine that for nearly a decade, a part of this people was placed under an inhuman and illegal siege that brought about the complete collapse of their already desperate economy, and rendered their environment borderline unfit for human inhabitation.
Let’s imagine that, on top of the expulsion, military occupation, and inhuman and illegal siege, these people suffered periodic massacres, the most recent of which killed more than 2,200 people, including 550 children, and destroyed or rendered uninhabitable fully 18,000 homes.
Let’s imagine ...
EU leaders will meet in the Slovak capital on Sept. 16 to discuss the future of the organization. They will just meet, talk, have lunch, take pictures and say goodbye to each other. Once again nothing will happen, nothing will change. The fact is the EU leaders really do not know what actions to take but need to portray activity. Europeans are beginning to get used to the uselessness and ineffectiveness of such pathetic and costly events.
Meanwhile, the most vital issues on the European agenda are Great Britain's leaving, regional security, and immigration. Today it is absolutely clear, that Brexit won't dominate the upcoming European Union summit (http://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-brexit-wont-dominate-bratislava-summit-european-union-priorities-agenda-estonia/), though the other two topics will be in the center of attention. Now it is difficult to say from what point of view the leaders are going to touch upon them because they directly depend on London's decision to leave the EU.
A decade ago left-wing governments, defying Washington and global corporations, took power in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador. It seemed as if the tide in Latin America was turning. The interference by Washington and exploitation by international corporations might finally be defeated. Latin American governments, headed by charismatic leaders such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, won huge electoral victories. They instituted socialist reforms that benefited the poor and the working class. They refused to be puppets of the United States. They took control of their nations’ own resources and destinies. They mounted the first successful revolt againstneoliberalism and corporate domination. It was a revolt many in the United States hoped to emulate here.
But the movements and governments in Latin America have fallen prey to the dark forces of U.S. imperialism and ...
Fifty years ago this next month (December 1965), with the urging of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the rubber stamp approval of President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the United States Air Force started secretly spraying the forests of Laos with a deadly herbicide that was known as Agent Orange.
Operation Ranch Hand, whose motto was “Only We Can Prevent Forests” (a shameful takeoff of Smokey the Bear’s admonition), was a desperate, costly and ultimately futile effort to make it a little harder for the National Liberation Front soldiers from North Vietnam to join and supply their comrades-in-arms in the south. Both the guerilla fighters in the south and the NLF army had been fighting to liberate Vietnam from the exploitive colonial domination from foreign nations such as imperial France (that began colonizing Vietnam in 1874), then Japan (during WWII), then the United States (since France’s ...
NATO has expanded dramatically after the collapse of its primary rivals, the USSR and the Warsaw Treaty Organization, Canadian Professor Michael Jabara Carley notes, posing the question whether NATO was founded as a defensive or an offensive alliance.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance aimed against the Soviet Union, was established on April 4, 1949; and only seven years after the formation of NATO the Warsaw Treaty Organization was established bringing together eight nations (versus 15 NATO member-states).
So, who was the real "aggressor"? What alliance was an offensive one?
"There has been much discussion recently of NATO in the mainstream and alternate media. Why was NATO founded in the first place and why did it expand so rapidly after the collapse and dismemberment of the USSR in 1991," Professor Michael Jabara Carley of the University of Montreal writes in his article for Strategic Culture Foundation.
© AFP 2015/ FRANCISCO LEONG
The Canadian academic points out that according to widely held views in the West, NATO originated as a ...
Unification of Europe has brought about radical new divisions within Europe. The most significant split is between the people and their political leaders.
The June 23 British majority vote to leave the European Union has made strikingly evident the division between the new ruling class that flourishes in the globalized world without borders and all the others who are on the receiving end of policies that destroy jobs, cut social benefits, lower wages and reject as obsolete national customs, not least the custom of democratic choice, all to make the world safe for international investment capital.
Actually, the lines are not quite so clear-cut. Political choices never correspond completely to economic interests, and the ideological factor intervenes to blur the class lines. Globalization is not merely a process of economic integration regulated by flows of capital, which is deepening the polarization between rich and poor in the Western countries. It is also ...
This article was first published on August 1, 2010
“It isn’t just conspiracy theorists who are concerned about HAARP. The European Union called the project a global concern and passed a resolution calling for more information on its health and environmental risks. Despite those concerns, officials at HAARP insist the project is nothing more sinister than a radio science research facility.”
– Quote from a TV documentary on HAARP by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is a little-known, yet critically important U.S. military defense program which has generated quite a bit of controversy over the years in certain circles. Though denied by HAARP officials, some respected researchers allege that secret electromagnetic warfare capabilities of HAARP are designed to forward the US military’s stated goal of achieving full-spectrum dominance by the year 2020. Others go so far as to claim that HAARP can and has been used ...
Who will secure Lithuania?
The Empire of Mediocrity and the End of the World
Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: Defence against Russia or target for terrorists?
Hiroshima, Vietnam, Cuba: A Hegemonic Power Never Says Sorry…
Nazi Roots of Ukraine’s Conflict
The Atlantic Alliance’s “Holy War” Against The Islamic State (ISIS): NATO’s Role In The Recruitment Of Islamic Terrorists (According To Israeli Intelligence News Source)
Classified Evidence: US Soldiers Raped Boys In Front Of Their Mothers
The Dirty Role Of The West In Syria
Appeal from U.S. to World: Help Us Resist U.S. Crimes
“Putinism” In American History: Lincoln, Roosevelt, And The Fight Against ISIS
Serbia Gives Access To Military Facilities, Special Status To NATO Soldiers
Why World War II ended with Mushroom Clouds
Boycott bloody President!
EU: talking instead of doing
In Latin America, The Empire Strikes Back
War Crimes: Agent Orange, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Other Ugly Legacies of the Vietnam War
Why Didn’t Washington Dissolve NATO After Collapse of USSR?
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
HAARP: Secret Weapon Used For Weather Modification, Electromagnetic Warfare