February 16, 2005

by Reb Yudel
Truth and Consequences, Battleships and Bombs

Last Friday night, the Four-Year-Old interrupted our game of battleship because "I want to go to the couch to take a nap." A nap? Spontaneously?

Being Friday night, I was more obliging than suspicious.

But then the truth came out: He was hoping to lure me to sleep, so he could cheat and look at my position.

I indeed dozed off. The Four-Year-Old, though, resisted temptation. He didn't look at my position.

"Why not?" his mother asked later.

"I knew that God knows everything, and God doesn't sleep, and he would know if I cheated, and I didn't want anyone to know, so I didn't do it," he replied.

For those without the Four-Year-Old's ability to take God seriously, Matthew Yglesias brings a more utiliarian lesson entitled The Trouble With Lying. . .:

The White House seems to think that the government of Syria was behind today's assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri who, lately, had been turning against the massive Syrian influence in (and semi-occupation of) his country.

It's certainly a plausible account.

The White House also believes that Syria must be punished for its complicity. If Syria is, indeed, complicit, that's surely right.

And as the White House moves toward trying to build support for some sort of retaliation against Syria, I can't help but think that I would be 100 percent behind the president in this were I not 100 percent sure that this administration is being run by people who would think nothing of trying to manipulate the country into a military conflict with a middle eastern nation based on flawed, overblown intelligence and misleading presentation of that evidence.

There's actually a reason that most presidents have chosen not to make dishonesty their main tool of policy advocacy, and the reason isn't that most administrations have been run by intrinsically honest people.