Saturday, September 13, 2008

More McCain Lies

About Palin, naturally.  Sullivan is on a rampage with this stuff, as well he should be, so we're just going to steal stuff from him for a while.  The latest is the campaign's repeated claim that Gov. Palin has visited "a military outpost" in Iraq, and entered the Iraqi battle zone.  As Sulivan says:

This was another simple lie. Not a distortion, a lie. But, as we know, the McCain-Palin campaign tells massive lies and when called on them, first tr[ies] a dodge, rather than the truth.

When you cut through the bushwah, you learn that she visited Kuwait.  It is close to Iraq, so we suppose the campaign gets credit for a better grasp of geography than most Americans.  But still.  (In all fairness, she visited a border crossing, so she may have reached a foot over from time to time.  But she was nowhere near a "battle zone.")  All of this reminds us of Sen. Clinton's infamous tale of landing under fire in Bosnia -- and yet the same people who lashed out at Clinton are letting Palin slide.

They also say Palin has been to Ireland, which she has -- for a refueling stop. She never left the plane. 

These lies are not merely innocent misstatements of fact; they are, day after day, amounting to a deliberate strategy of deceit.  And let's be clear:  the popular the saying about all being fair in love and war is not true.  In both love and war, honesty matters; that is why spies, for example, are treated more harshly than uniformed POWs.  by the same token, despite the cynical acknowledgment that all politicians have a tortured relationship with facts, outright falsehoods (as opposed to dubious interpretations, figures of speech, or honest mistakes) are -- or should be -- punished with particular force by popular opinion up to and including the election booth. 

For Christians, lying is an especially heinous thing.  Lies about somebody else -- "false witness against thy neighbor" -- are expressly forbidden by the Ten Commandments.   Somebody ought to remind the McCain campaign that this is true even when thy neighbor is Sen. Obama.  But other lies are also a serious moral problem, both because they damage the fabric of trust upon which all human society is built, and also -- primarily -- because, God being Truth itself, they damage the image of God within the liar.  

St. Augustine had a lot to say on the subject.  If the McCain team has any doubts about this, they should make time on the bus to read his De Mendacio and Contra Mendacium.  

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