Thursday, December 04, 2003

Compulsive behavior

So now it turns out that the Turkey Bush was shown prominently "serving" in Iraq was actually just there for the photo and was not actually eaten by the troops.

Now, normally I wouldn't make a big deal about something like this because I like to live by what I call the Huffington standard (in honor of Arianna Huffington who first expressed it in a way that I much appreciated): when someone you don't like is case in a negative light for something that happens to them ask yourself if you would treat it as seriously if it was happening to someone you did like.

However, this administration has a tendency to go for the photo-op, the neat-o story, over the substance. And they have a tendency to overdue it when it really isn't necessary. Whether it was the "Mission Accomplished" banner, the ever changing story about whether Air Force One was sighted by a British Airways pilot or this latest story with the faux-Turkey, it all suggests a disturbing pattern. It's called compulsive lying.

A compulsive liar has many flaws, but one of the most prominent is the fact that they often lie about something that they don't need to lie about. The British Airways story is a perfect example of this. There really is no need to add this little bit of intrigue to the story (except to maybe make it more exciting). The secret trip to Bagdad was certainly compelling enough as it is. But the PR people in this administration felt compelled to embellish it even more.

During the 2000 election a lot was made of Al Gore's alleged tendency to exaggerate. Many people felt that it indicated that he couldn't be trusted to tell us the truth about really important things.

Well, can we trust an administration to tell us the truth when they can't even let basic facts speak for themselves?

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