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Archive for May 8th, 2011

With the caveat that apparently bin Laden was unarmed:

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A Web of Lies


It is a familiar thing by now. Some momentous event occurs,  and reports of heroism are forthcoming. Jessica Lynch was  wounded  in a firefight. Pat Tillman was cut down in a battle with the Taliban.  And of course, the latest:  Osama bin Laden pulled a gun and hid  behind  a woman, after a fierce gunfight.

And then, of course, it is all revealed to be untrue.

You’d think that by now they would know that they can’t get away with these deceptions, that especially today the truth will  out, every time. But predictably, they cannot seem to help themselves, cannot help jazzing things up for the sake of propaganda.   And of course this habit of weaving a web of lies only feeds the  habitually paranoid; if the government always  lies, then the truth is out there, often way out there.

One problem, of course, is that there is very little consequence for this. Hillary Clinton, on the campaign trail during the 2008 election, famously told the whopper about coming under sniper fire in Bosnia. Why she thought she could so boldly just create a story  to make herself look tough is beyond me, except that it did not derail her path to power. And predictably, there will be little outrage over the Obama administration’s tall tales.

It is not that this culture does not value truth; indeed it relishes it, if it is some sordid thing coming to light. Scandals titillate and delight, and the greater the fall the more satisfaction there is.

Recently the front page of The Akron Beacon Journal had a story, with photos, of a young Ukrainian priest who had been arrested for drunk driving. Caught on film, he made a total fool of himself, cursing, whining, and making sexually suggestive comments to the officers. The video went on to become an internet sensation.

We had attended the priest’s parish once, and my children made fun of him all the way home, in spite of our reprimands, for his mannerisms were flamboyant. I have a problem with effeminate priests, even if they are living chastely, precisely because of this, that young men (especially) will not respect them, and may not respect the priesthood because of them.

But I stumbled across the video and could not watch it; it was too painful. That anyone could find his humiliation humorous is beyond me.

But this sort of “truth”, the kind where someone else is made to look foolish or hypocritical, is popular. Other forms of truth, the kind that might make us uncomfortable, are not. Speak these kinds of truth and you will not be popular. Point out that celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden is no different than Muslims dancing in the streets when one of their enemies dies and you will be vilified. Note that if the Japanese had celebrated Truman’s death – and he was responsible for far more civilian deaths than bin Laden- Americans would have been outraged and most will respond with hostility.

But if we profess to follow the One Who is Truth incarnate we are compelled to speak truth no matter how unpopular it is, as we are forbidden to embellish the narrative to make ourselves look like big shots.

And we are to apply a moral analysis unsullied by nationalism and hubris.

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