Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Lying and Deception as the Government Policy

Lying and Deception as the Government Policy

By Ramzy Baroud

What is even more imprudent than the invasion of Iraq and the ‘war on terror’ is the Bush administration’s determination to interpret the tragedy of that stricken nation in a way that lays blame on just about everyone else but itself. And yet this is just one thread within an elaborate web of lies and deceit initiated by the Bush administration years ago.

Immediately after its seizure of power by a court negotiated ruling, the Bush administration seemed determined to marginalize the American public. The terrorist attacks of September 11 were the needed element that transformed that determination into policy: anything goes — from unleashing unwarranted wars abroad to monitoring people’s reading habits at public libraries and tapping into their telephone conversations - as long as the goal is to safeguard ‘national security’.

While many Americans seemed willing to concede part of their freedoms to preserve the rest - or so the cliché goes - Bush’s detrimental policies, at home and abroad, remained heedless and self-serving. The relatively small gap between the government and the public turned into a bottomless abyss.

Not as if past US governments were known for their integrity and painful honesty with the American people regarding their backroom dealings and undemocratic tendencies from Latin American, to Indochina to the Middle East. But the Bush administration has undeniably pushed the conventional and sometimes acceptable margin of a government’s deceit to the point that lying becomes the primary, if not the sole form of public policy.

Despite the ruthless marketing of pretenses and policy shams, the US public has grown weary and skeptical. The blanket public approval enjoyed by the president after September 11 - seen then as a green light to take on Afghanistan, perhaps the poorest country in the world - is steadily diminishing as the Bush administration stumbles at every corner. According to a February 28 CBS News poll, President Bush’s approval ratings have hit an all-time low of 34 per cent. The same poll indicates that Vice-President Cheney’s numbers are even lower, at 18 per cent.

On one hand, one has to wonder when and if such low ratings will ever inspire serious debate in Congress regarding impeachment possibilities - after all, dragging America into a bloody, senseless and destructive war that merely benefits the profit seeking few at the expense of uncounted lives, is as one would assume, an impeachable offence. On the other hand, it is somewhat exhilarating that most Americans have managed to see through the clever propaganda, the smokescreens and fear tactics to realize that they were purposely duped into consent.

Unfortunately for the Bush administration, cant and deceit are the only lifelines still available to win back the discontented public. Numerous opportunities have been lost, including that of providing a tangible timeline as to when the US will withdraw from Iraq, signaling the end of the nightmare. The confounded public is even denied the mere courtesy of being informed with a realistic assessment of the US ‘war on terror’ and the Iraq quagmire. In the meantime, America — its economic prospects, its people’s welfare, its reputation, its internal struggles, and more — all are being held hostage to a ‘war on terror’ that even the administration’s own pundits are finding it difficult to define. The botched war is a disaster save for a few neo-conservative think tanks, their followers and a dwindling number of rightwing dreamers, who haven’t a clue what this war is really like.

Iraqis are of course suffering the consequences of the administration’s imprudence as well. In fact, the price they have paid is most unmatched. They were promised freedom and were delivered a torturous war and civil strife that can only worsen. They too were victims of double talk and rosy promises that are yet to actualize.

Not that deceit doesn’t have its generous rewards for some. By checking on the growing profits of Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, CACI and Titan, BKSH & Associates, Bechtel, ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco, one will understand that the war in some strange way is not as ‘senseless’ as one might think.

The Bush administration is likely to carry on fighting descent at home and elusive terrorists abroad so that the status quo is maintained. More Americans are opposing the direction in which the country is headed, but no tangible policy is yet in place to translate such resentment into effective tools to put an end to this violent nightmare. The looming civil war in Iraq is just another outcome of sectarian division, brimming for many years, but cemented by the US policy of divide and conquer. The calamity shall carry on as long as our dissent is merely transmitted through opinion polls that might sound vindicating, but are negligible in the eyes of our government’s determined militancy.


-Arab American journalist Ramzy Baroud teaches mass communication at Curtin University of Technology and is the author of the forthcoming, The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London), now available at

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news