neo-neocon and lying liars

Saturday, January 07, 2006
Why is it the Bush haters insist that Bush lied? Not that he was mistaken..but that he lied? Is it about what he said or what they heard? In other words is it all about them?

neo-neocon has an interesting and I think insightful explanation for the way some people think. The lady discusses the error that has its genesis in the growth of narcissism.


truepeers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
truepeers said...

I haven't read all the comments at nenneo, but one point I think is missing is that one of the reasons much of the lib left goes crazy over the "bush lied, people died" theme, is that the idea of the President lying inevitably draws one into consideration of the basis by which we have ever protected ourselves against lying. And this has to do with what society makes sacred, or transcendent, a process whose importance most of the secular left would deny.

To lie about the sacred signs and positions that bond the community, or to be a worldly representative of the sacred, like the President, and to be a liar, is something society cannot long tolerate. Traditionally, it has been religion, its social authority and teachings, that has been the guarantor of this obligation.

While a conservative can decry Clinton's lying as a sign of the decline of sacred and moral values, and still take such values seriously, a liberal secularist who may have the thought that Bush is lying, cannot so easily decry the decline of sacred values. How often do you hear Bush being criticized from the left as a bad Christian? Sometimes it happens - there are still libleft Christians out there - but it it not mainstream liberal sentiment today.

It is because the left cannot criticize Bush by holding up religion, and because they cannot hold up religion as our surety against the moral hazard of lying, that they are driven to tizzies. They can offer no guarantee in general for moral behaviour, once they themselves have turned against the sacred. What they see in the allegedly fallen president is a sign of their own nihilism. Unable to come to terms with this, they just go crazy instead.

truepeers said...

BTW, my point is not that religious guarantees of honesty don't often fail, but simply that the secular left have yet to devise an alternative vision of how we might put our faith in people.

terrye said...


Oh yes, it is like catching the preacher with the choir leader.

What I do not understand is how they can simply ignore the 90's. In fact if we had not invaded Iraq the world would still think the weapons were there. Why not?

I think a lot of it has to do with the impeachment of Clinton.

truepeers said...

Yes it has a lot to do with Clinton. Clinton's dishonesty worked to remind many of us of what we, the citizens of democratic nations, have to put our faith in when we choose our leaders. The Clinton situation was a boon for the renewal of conservative thought. But if Bush is dishonest - not that I think he is particularly - what implication can it have for the left? If it cannot be a basis to call for more conservative values, then it can only be a reason for them to indulge in more fits of self-righteousness. But they are already over-invested in histrionic self-righteousness, so the possibility that Bush is dishonest only leads them to slip more fully into delusions of their own sanctity, vis a vis the conservatives (while conservatives can accept that we are fallen beings and still get on with the work of trying to save humanity from the most fallen among us).

terrye said...

It is also true that the Dems want revenge.

Seneca the Younger said...

I guess I hve two thoughts:

(1) I need to make my post titles less subtle ;-)

(2) I've gotten the feeling for a long while that there is a really strong (conscious or unconscious) effort to make sure to claim Bush did anything wrong that Clinton was caught at.

markg8 said...

I refuse to believe Bush has had sex in the White House. Even with Laura.

markg8 said...

"Bush lied, people died." How hard is that to figure out? I read a few of those longwinded psychobabble explanations and figured the hell with it. It's pretty simple. He warned us Saddam had WMD but by the time he invaded it was obvious his people were working overtime to suppress conflicting information coming out places like Langley and Oak Ridge TN. He kept making up arguments like claiming his opponents don't think Arabs can handle democracy. I know of no one on the left or anywhere else who made a case for Arabs being too simpleminded to vote. He just made it up. We call that kind of thing a lie. You may choose to think he was just mistaken. So take your pick he's a liar or a goofball. I'd really rather not have either as my president.

It's also a nice follow up to the "Clinton lied" meme we heard throughout the late 1990s. Ya know, Clinton's bl*wjobs didn't affect me but my son getting his legs blown off on the road to Najaf, well that's just a touch more serious.

Peter UK said...

"but my son getting his legs blown off on the road to Najaf, well that's just a touch more serious."
You've got a son now Markg8? Odd you want to send other peoples sons to war,it must be this empathy deficiency you have.

markg8 said...

Nope Petey I was speaking in the third voice of someone who chants Bush lied, people died at a demonstration ya dimwit. If I had my way we wouldn't have sent anybody's kids to war in Iraq but now that we have I'm all for sending the next generation of Jack Abramoffs and Karl Roves off the the front lines.
And you Petey? When do you go? C'mon
think of the sun and surf in Basra! Has to be more interesting than fighting the war from your mother's spare room in gloomy old London these days.

Seneca the Younger said...

Mark, what's tough to figure out is how the hell people can continue the fiction that Bush lied about this stuff. To beleive it, we have to either figure that Bush has omniscient knowledge unshared by anyone else involved with the intelligence, or we have to abuse the definition of the word "lie" to a degree indicating psychological issues.

Since I don't think Bush is superhuman, it only leaves one posibility.

Seneca the Younger said...

It's also a nice follow up to the "Clinton lied" meme we heard throughout the late 1990s.

See my point (2).

charles henry said...


reading your posts in these threads is like seeing a rusty spittoon alongside a row of Faberge Eggs.
Personally I am very glad you post so regularly, you are such an inept debater you probably drive reasonable center-left readers towards the other side simply through fear of guilt by association with your ham-fisted rhetoric.
While I can only imagine how exasperating your posts must be to the site's hosts, as a regular lurker at this wonderful blog may I say that I find I get as much pleasure from seeing you embarrass
your side of the debate-du-jour, as I do from the thoughtful posts of our hosts.
On the matter of Bush's opponents claiming Arabs aren't ready for democracy, I can assure you that this was a widely held belief up here in Canada, by anti-US partisans from one coast to the other. In fact it would often be thrown up by anti-war protestors as the moral defense for their immoral refusal to help liberate the Iraqis... that we would be killing ourselves for a lost cause. The racism of the canadian left made that of the american left seem amateurish by comparison.

Peter UK said...

No Markg8,you were having one of your reality shifts again,you are turning into Cindy Sheehan,all this role playing is disconnecting you from the real world.
Sad to see in an old man.

Peter UK said...

Charles Henry,
reading your posts in these threads is like seeing a rusty spittoon."

Such wonderful imagery,one to treasure.

truepeers said...

Charles Henry, you are right straight about the racism of the Canadian left. Ultimately, I think it is rooted in fear of competition from the upstarts. Immigrants should be reminded, as Paul Martin just said, that they are minorities in a nation of minorities. So don't get high and mighty ideas about climbing to the top of some unhyphenated Canadian/human pole, or breaking away from your official immigrant group leaders/Liberal clients. And upstart white Canadians, don't get grand ideas that you have a country that is your own. Know your place. People should know their place and not get hooked on freedom. Charles, hope to see more of your comments.

Buddy Larsen said...

Mark, what about having your son leap off the top of the World Trade center, burning like a roman candle?

The son who lost his legs on the road to najaf was on that road in order to stop any more of those other sons from coming to that end.

It's really pretty simple, and the only reason you can't see it (in spades) is, there's an "r" instead of a "d" behind the name of the guy in the White House.

markg8 said...

C'mon seneca you're not that dense or that forgetful. Go back and read the quotes.

The Bush administration presented
their case to the American people and the world as a no doubt about it, slam dunk, we are convinced, you are a traitor if you're not, conclusive case that Saddam was a significant, serious and growing, serious and mounting, real and dangerous, terrible, massive, mortal, urgent, uniquely urgent, stand alone, immediate, graver than anybody could have possibly imagined and yes an absolutely imminent threat to the United States and it's allies in the run up to war. Ask yourself if any Republican would not be screaming "liar" from the rooftops today if a President Bill Clinton, Al Gore or John Kerry had done this 3 years ago as American kids continue to die in this ghastly occupation. And for what? A budding Iraqi Shiite Republic that's allied with Iran? Saddam sucked. How is turning that second biggest pot of oil in the world into a Sunni on Shiite terrorist civil war or a satellite of Iran gonna make you, me or terrye's 4 year old nephew safer?
Answer the question. Cuz that's what the American people want to know and why so many of us think this was a really, really bad idea to begin with. So far I haven't heard a goddam word about how we're gonna get out of this mess by anyone, ANYONE with or without a shred credibility left with the US Army, our reputation or our economy intact.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


I wish to second what Charles Henry said. I would love to argue with some of the folks on this blog about Bush or the Republicans. Unfortunately, that would mean associating myself with the likes of you and your arguments, which are nonsense. I'm forced into a political position I don't particularly like, supporting the Republicans on all issues, simply because your gang has completely polarized the society. You and your ilk would make many more converts if you were willing to give an inch, to admit that Bush is not personally the embodiment of all evil. But you don't really believe that at all, so you sound like a nutcase.

Charles Henry,

Thanks for the vote of confidence. Sometimes it does feel like an echo chamber in here and I weary of it. I would love to see some reasonable dissent. But if the alternative is Markg8, well.

truepeers said...

How are we going to get out? How are we going to get out of this world? Oh god, why does life have to be so full of conflicts? why can't there be perpetual peace? why can't we just love one another and/or die?

Father to Son: You get out of an untenable past, and Iraq-US/world/UNMafia relations were untenable in the nineties, by taking some control over the future, by getting actively involved in the muck of life and human conflict, and not being a passive victim of tyrants. Yes, that sticks you with great responsibilities, long-term hardships, etc. etc. THat's life. Life is not some utopia where everything you need is always at the supermarket, with endless credit, and nothing bad ever happens. If the comfy cloistered American people prove in the end unable to grasp this, then they are finished, sooner or later. Their asses will be soundly kicked, not just in Baghdad, but from BOston to Bellingham. So far, more Americans can grasp reality than cannot, thank the lord. Right now, those hanging from the rope of leftliberal delusions are most likely not the comfy western critics full of sound and glory, but are to be found among the poor and largely defenseless, among the billions with few rights or powers found in the many marginal regions of this world; the jumpers at the WTC are yet a rare exception of the war against world trade and connectivity under way. BUt if Mark doesn't care for the Thais, or the Phillipinos, or the Sudanese, or the Venezuelans, or the Cubans, or the French, or the Israelis, if he just wants to remain sheltered in his New Jersey home, well then as far as I'm concerned anything BUsh does to get him really sweating is just and right.

markg8 said...

Aw meaninglesshotair in the words of a great American I feel your pain. I'm so sorry you don't have the guts to join my legions of spitoons here. LOL If you have something, anything to say that disagrees with the rest of the posters here feel free. I'm sure they'll show you the same amount of courtesy and reasoned discourse they've shown me. Don't let me steal your thunder. Dive in, the spit's warm.

markg8 said...

You get out of a supposed "untenable past" by making up sh*t about a tinpot dictator whose only defense against a US invasion would be to stockpile enough weapons and ammo to sustain a guerilla war against the occupying army for 18 years while letting the terrorist masterminds who attacked us on 9/11 run to Pakistan? Is that how you do it? Send your son to the US truepeers. If he buys that crap you're selling I want him in a US Army uniform. It's the least you and he can do for Bush's folly as I guess we should now refer to it by seneca's logic.

charles henry said...

mark8 said:..

... And for what? A budding Iraqi Shiite Republic that's allied with Iran? How is turning that second biggest pot of oil in the world into a Sunni on Shiite terrorist civil war or a satellite of Iran gonna make you, me or terrye's 4 year old nephew safer?

Once again the left resorts to bigotry as the main point of their attack on the liberation of Iraq.
They presume that no one born in a country outside North America or Western Europe would ever
aspire to the same universal freedoms cherished by the citizens of the west: a longer lifespan,freedom of thought and freedom of action, a chance to leave a better country for their children. So far to my layman's eyes a sober review of Iraq since the liberation suggests that Iraqis are very much like us: they want to grow prosperous so that they can build a better life for themselves and their families. Why not just hope for the best while preparing for the worst?
Why not grant Iraqis the same humanity that you reserve for yourself? Are they really so different?

Of course mark8 ignores the likely future of Shiites and Sunni factions had one of Saddam's savage sons inherited the throne..
funny how that nightmare worse-case scenario is never pursued with the same imagination mark reserves for Iraq while it's healing behind the US' shield.

Answer the question. Cuz that's what the American people want to know and why so many
of us think this was a really, really bad idea to begin with.

A bad idea... I concede yes, war is usually a bad idea. However, I think of it as a bad idea that is nonetheless the lesser of two evils. Much of life consists of ugly choices. Sometimes there just isn't an easy, simple, painless answer.
If we hadn't all taken a holiday from history through the '90s maybe we wouldn't have had to go to such destructive means to achieve worthy goals at the present time.

truepeers said...

Mark almost seems to like the idea of "tinpot dictators" and "terrorist masterminds" mostly harmless if they're left to cannibalize their own people with only an occasional shot at us. And since attacking them might make them smarter and tougher, better to leave them be.

But maybe Mark they could get smarter and tougher if left alone to plot against us? (First we'll take Munich, and then Manhattan... er how does it go now?) Maybe they're not hopeless towelheads. And maybe we can get smarter and tougher too, by fighting the admittedly very tough fight to expand the degree of freedom in the world. What else, after all, is life supposed to be about? Sitting around spoiling ourselves with our freedoms? Talk about wanting to trade blood for oil.

Buddy Larsen said...

Well, it's one thing to not give a damn about anybody or anything other than your precinct, but it's a little overweening to demand that everyone else agree wit you. But that's an okay attitude in Frahnce, I'm told. You could always move over there, Mark.

truepeers said...

Mark, how about an honest answer to this question: do you agree there is evil in this world? and if so, what do you propose we can ever do about it? do you agree with most of us here at YARGB that there is sometimes a need to commit some lesser evil in order to fight greater evils?

If you are with us on this point, then we can pipe down the rhetoric and talk about necessary evils instead of playing holier than thou, which is a stupid and boring game you are supposed to outgrow after your twenties. We can then make constructive criticism of Bush, Clinton, and anyone else who may be committed to our reality of doing the lesser evil.

Buddy Larsen said...

Nice olive branch, 'Peers.

An olive branch always reminds me that we are indeed in a long game, being that the reference is from the Story of Noah, who first knew that the flood would subside when a dove he'd sent out from the ark (lost in a chartless sea), returned to him, carrying an olive branch.

truepeers said...

Interesting story, Buddy, especially since the flood and ocean serve as metaphors for our getting lost in the mimetic rivalries of human conflict. Virginia Woolf's novel, The Waves, comes to mind as a powerful example. Very hard book to read, so intense is its description of the psychological effects of our simultaneous emulation and rivalry.

Makes you wonder if the Biblical flood was "real", i.e. watery, or simply human.

Buddy Larsen said...

I often wonder those things too, 'Peers. Years past, I poo-poo'd the notion that the ancients could've been so sophisticated as to write in metaphor. As time has passes, tho, I see more and more 'slippages' in modernity, and more and more deep intelligence in those old stories.

Buddy Larsen said...

Next time you get a hankering to submerge in a 'Virginia Woolf' emotion, go rent "The Prince of Tides" and "Affliction"--oddly, both Nick Nolte movies about, well, sh*t, the inner child come rearing back up throughout life.

truepeers said...

That Nick Nolte sure puts out a lot of movies; must be related to his desirable looks. He *is* the ideal inner child and we want to see it rearing up every chance we get.

BTW it might be useful to consider that language is inherently metaphorical; e.g. nature is first conceived as a spirit world, not as so many strands of DNA in various conflicts for selection. It is the dry, plainly descriptive speech that we moderns can master whose development needs to be explained and valued, or not, for what it is.

Buddy Larsen said...

Yes I guess that a spirit world of symbols is evoked the instant a meaning is passed between a sender and receiver. So when a metaphor is used metaphorically, in a way you have one of those 'twinnings', one of those binary sets, that seem to be at the core of everything in earthly nature.

You're right about Nolte--never realized that, but he is *the* inner child. Wanna see him pull out the stops, go rent "The Thin Red Line".

Guadalcanal dream-world.

charles henry said...


In your very first post about where Bush's critics can derive their moral authority...
their negativity seems to stem from such a selectively tribal application of values:
"when I do it it's okay, when you do it it's wrong...I can do it to you but you can't do it to me".
I was taught that one of the most important lessons the Bible offers us was the incentive to
think about humanity in universal terms, that all people were to be held to the same standards and expectations, that we were all one "tribe". Therefore, lying, graft and other crimes/sins are wrong no matter what political affiliation one admits to.
What I respect so much about you and the other "YARGBers" is how you follow this equal standard
with your praise and your criticism. You call a spade a spade, letting the chips fall where they may... unlike the aristocratic extremists (from either end of the partisan spectrum) who look down their nose at such fair play.

Buddy Larsen said...

That's a very nice thing to say, CH.

truepeers said...

Thanks Charles,

You know it is my ambition to be a true centrist. One of the biggest lies of our time is that there is no centre, that everything is political, and nothing sacred stands before the political. But politics itself is premised on the prior necessity to keep the community united against dangerous others, and against its own tendency to unravel itself. Politics can only exist once there is a common understanding, a shared scene, centred on a sacred sign, i.e. a shared language. To remember this priority and to develop and protect this sacred memory is to be a centrist.

markg8 said...

Charles the bigotry of your armed noblesse oblige is hideous. Here's what Iraqis want most: coalition forces out of their country. BY large margins they do not think the invasion and occupation of their country was worth it. They do not like the misrule of incompetent neocons who don't even care enough to send people who speak their language. They do not like us shanghaiing other poor brown people from countries like Nepal to work as indentured servants on our bases when 40 to 60% of Iraqis are unemployed. We do that because we can't trust the locals. I've said it before, maybe you missed it,
a rule of thumb is if you can't trust the locals to work for you, you haven't liberated them.

So quit kidding yourselves. We didn't invade Iraq to free it. It was never sold that way until the original justification of disarming Saddam of his WMD proved to be a fraud. The Bush Administration tried to forestall democratic elections as long as it could and only gave in when Iranian born Ayatollah Al Sistani threatened a general insurrection.

You can quit conflating the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 with Saddam Hussein. They had nothing to with each other. Trying to perpetrate one of the same old lies Bush used to stampede us to war does your cause no good.

I'm all for taking Osama Bin Laden out but Bush never even speaks of him anymore. If you think that clown has a chance of building a caliphate from Indonesia to Morroco let alone take Munich or Manhattan you're a loon. Plain and simple.

You're also a loon if you think democracy is some kind of magic panacea for Arab opposition to the West and Israel. Just because people get to vote for Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah or their local Iman's pick for the Iraqi legislature doesn't mean they or their leaders are going to do an about face. It's wishful thinking which seems to be behind this whole

When you get serious instead of trotting out the same old "scare the children" and lofty Wilsonian ideals
arguments let me know. How do we get out of Iraq with our army, our economy, our reputation, and our constitution intact? If you want a serious discussion about that question let's have it, but don't insult my intelligence with the rest of this drivel.

Peter UK said...
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Peter UK said...

Yes a Caliphate from Indonesia to Morocco,is so unlikely,nothing to build on,and it isn't as if there had been a Caliphate before.

Largest Muslim Populations in the World
Rank Country Muslim Population
1 Indonesia 182,570,000
2 Pakistan 134,480,000
3 India 121,000,000
4 Bangladesh 114,080,000
5 Turkey 65,510,000
6 Iran 62,430,000
7 Egypt 58,630,000
8 Nigeria 53,000,000
9 Algeria 30,530,000
10 Morocco 28,780,000
Source: CIA World Factbook.
Doesn't seem to mention Iraq ,Somalia ,Eritrea and Afghanistan but that is one continuous swathe across the planet

markg8 said...

Ah so they're all Al Qaeda now eh? C'mon not even George Bush is that good at pissing people off.

truepeers said...

Mark since you didn't given an answer to my last request for an honest response, let me try one *last* time: do you actually believe everything you say, or are you first of all interested in finding the rhetoric, whatever it may be, that can best bring down Bush?

For example, do you really believe the invasion was all about WMD? Surely you also know the US SEnate passed a resolution in the Clinton years with something like 40 Points in defense of a future invasion?

Peter UK said...

No Markg8,they are all part of the old Caliphate.Many of the countries are unstable,al Qaeda and its multifarious franchises are adept at destabilising third world countries through a campaign of terror and assassination.
Al Qaeda's primary goal is to restore the Caliphate,thence a world which is muslim under Sharia law.

Peter UK said...
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charles henry said...

“It’s wishful thinking that is behind this whole fiasco…”

Fiasco… no, mark I disagree with that term. Wishful thinking, however, there I actually agree. To me wishful thinking means taking things as they exist now, and finding a way to improve them. That kind of creativity involves an ability to believe in things unseen, and is what I admire most about America: it is the nation most built on wishful thinking, on faith in the future and faith in oneself. The belief that tomorrow can and will be better than today, and that the power for such positive change comes from our own efforts to effect that improvement.
I am lucky enough to meet people from all over the world as a regular part of my job, and I take full advantage to talk to them about their life experience so as to better understand my own. It turns out that the typical question we ask of our youngest children, “what do you want to be when you grow up”, is not all that typical in most countries (yet). Most nations’ citizens do only what their parents want them to, or only what the state expects them do, or if they fail a test then there is no second chance. Here, the only real limit, built-in to the "growing up" question, is a self-imposed one, framed by belief in one’s abilities and how far they'll take us.
I treasure this American vision of positive progress, and I abhor the European alternative, that of the Golden Age, where the best was the past not the future. My European acquaintances tend to be much like my Canadian ones; they believe they’re defeated before they even start because they expect their future to be worse than their past.
(you’d make a fine honorary Canadian, mark….)
Having confidence in oneself, and one’s ability to meet challenges, takes a lot of effort but it starts with a positive attitude: first we believe we can do it, then we act on that belief. A bit of wishful thinking allows me to look at an empty building in a busy neighborhood and see business possibilities; you just see an empty building. Believing in a positive future involves a faith in things unseen, and the secular left is particularly disarmed in this challenge, since their worldview is limited to the here-and-now, which is probably why your posts about Iraq always boil down to money. I take it you’ve never taken out a loan, since putting yourself in debt would, by your worldview, condemn you to an eternal state of indebtedness, whereas when I took out loans it was with the belief I would pay it off and even prosper from the opportunities that loan was providing me.

(sorry for the long post everyone, I'm still learning how to be succinct..!)

By the way, mark, when are you going to get around to answering Truepeers question? I’m honestly curious about what you have to say….

markg8 said...

truepeers: yes I believe what I say.
The majority of Americans do too. And let's not kid ourselves, nothing anyone writes here is going bring down anybody. It's not like we're opining on the op-ed page of the NYT or Fox News.

Do I really believe the invasion was all about WMD? That's the way it was sold. As Wolfowitz said years ago we'd have to have another Pearl Harbor to put the PNAC dream of American int'l. military dominance in motion. He's also said that when they looked at it before the invasion the administration decided the American people would only accept a direct threat to America as a justification to go into Iraq. Polls bore that out then and do even more so today. It makes a pretty ugly Vietnam analogy. It's never good to lie your way into war.
It's particularly disastrous in a democracy where the continued support of the people is crucial.

Surely you know the US Senate passed that resolution in the Clinton years
to pony up a couple hundred million dollars to organize an external and internal opposition to Saddam because he was embolded by the partisan impeachment of Clinton to mess with the inspectors. Surely you also know the oh so serious Republicans subsequently lambasted Clinton's bombing of Iraq in December 1998 when Saddam kicked out the inspectors as "wagging the dog".

National defense and war are partisan tools to maintain power to the national Republican party. Ginning up Homeland Security alerts when they need a boost in the polls,
making little to no effort to get Bin Laden, bludgeoning Democrats as weak on defense in the 2002 election for wanting DHS employees to make a living wage, making absolutely no effort to wean us off of foriegn oil, I could go on and on. It all speaks to their lack of seriousness
about winning the WOT. And why should they? They think Bush has the power to ignore any law he wants to as long as it goes on.

markg8 said...

Charles thanks for telling me what I "think". You're so offbase I'm not even gonna bother. See above for my response to truepeers.