Truth is the Biggest Threat to DC ‘Democracy’

by | Dec 18, 2023

Truth is the Biggest Threat to DC ‘Democracy’

by | Dec 18, 2023

the washington post

In Washington, truth is reckoned as the greatest enemy of democracy. Hard facts are deadly threats to a president’s prerogative to define reality and impose “the will of the people.”

Early this year, Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guard member, was arrested and charged with transmission of national defense information among other charges. Teixeira allegedly leaked classified documents on the Ukraine war and other foreign policy issues to a Discord gaming group. The document propagated from there and appeared in many news articles in the following months.

A hefty Washington Post piece last Wednesday vividly portrays U.S. government officials rushing to plug the hole in the dike before the leak swept away conventional wisdom lock, stock, and barrel. In a passage sure to boost sales of Kleenex inside the Beltway, the Post quotes a U.S. government official who was permitted to remain anonymous: “We were blindsided and furious.”

The leaks vexed Team Biden because President Joe Biden had already proven—via repeated statements—that the war was going great, that Ukraine was on the verge of victory, and that pouring endless billions into Ukrainian government coffers was the only way to save freedom around the world.

The Post, which partnered with PBS for a television program on the Discord leaks, noted that the “top secret…leaks predicted Ukraine’s failure to make substantial gains in its counteroffensive—a multibillion-dollar effort that cost tens of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian lives. The bleak forecast provided a sharp contrast to Washington’s optimistic messaging on the war, and it hurt Ukraine’s relationship with its chief backer, the U.S. government.” The “bleak forecast” was vastly more accurate than anything emitted by the Biden White House. A senior defense official (anonymous, of course) told the Post that the Pentagon raced to determine “what information may have been compromised.” But the real challenge was determining which official lies had been debunked and what other documents might show up to obliterate White House talking points.

The Post bewailed how the leaks discomfited the Ukrainian government. The Post noted that “the leaks included never-before-released casualty estimates for Ukrainian forces, weaknesses in Ukraine’s ability to service damaged armored vehicles and the country’s shrinking supply of air defense munitions, which left population centers vulnerable to Russian cruise missile strikes and drones. Other documents warned that Ukraine was struggling to sustain troops, artillery and equipment…”

The only reason that the “leaks” caused an international uproar is because U.S. government officials and their foreign partners had been brazenly lying about Ukrainian successes and prospects for victory. Folks who read foreign news sources or independent American outlets or websites (such as Antiwar.com and LibertarianInstitute.org) already knew that the war would likely have no happy ending for either Ukraine or Russia.

The Post omitted mentioning the role of federal censorship in deluding Americans about the Ukraine war. In July 2023, the House Judiciary Committee revealed that the FBI routinely colluded with Ukraine’s spy agency which sought help to suppress social media accounts that criticized the Ukraine government or “inaccurately reflects events in Ukraine” (including accurate battlefield reports of Ukrainian military defeats). The House report revealed that the FBI “routinely relayed these lists [of accounts] to the relevant social media platforms” and sought their suppression. The House report noted that “authentic accounts of Americans, including a verified U.S. State Department account and those belonging to American journalists, were ensnared in the censorship effort and flagged for social media companies to take down.” The CIA also pressured Twitter, calling for the suppression of “long lists of newspapers, tweets or YouTube videos guilty of ‘anti-Ukraine narratives,” journalist Matt Taibbi reported.

Washington Post readers are the cream of the intellectual crop, at least according to Washington Post readers. So how did Post devotees respond to the indignation about the leaker?

The article generated almost 600 comments. Among the most liked was an outburst from “ArtPope”: ”Don’t understand why this article was written other than to support the pro-Putin, anti-Ukrainian position of the white nationalist evangelical fascist RepubliQans.” “Thinking4″ replied: “They have profound ignorance of democracy and that their very words and actions undermine the standing of the US in the world.” (Thinking4 was probably not an English major.)

None of the most liked comments showed any outrage about Team Biden’s perennial lies on Ukraine. Instead, raw hatred was popular: “Find these traitors. Put their butts in jail. 10 years minimum. No deals.” “Make it 30,” came a quick reply, and another person piled on: “In solitary.” Said another: “Throughout history, the traditional punishment for treason is hanging. I’m ok with that.” “Mario TRUTH” joined the lynch mob: “What Teixeira did was nothing short of America WORST traitor it has ever seen. He not only aided in murdering 1000’s of innocent people, he intruded in Ukrainian leaders planning of a counteroffensive that would have saved many of the 1000’s Teixeira killed.” Ukrainian casualties have been high in part because the Pentagon pressured the Ukrainian military to engage in frontal assaults on heavily-fortified Russian positions.

So U.S. government officials are entitled to blindfold and deceive the American people to avoid “intruding” on foreign leaders planning a military attack? This theory of democracy gets curiouser and curiouser.

The Post noted that the Discord leaks “depicted Zelensky in a new light, revealing his apparent interest in occupying Russian border villages and obtaining long-range missiles to hit targets deep inside Russian territory—an assertion that Ukrainians deny and would have deeply angered Washington.” So America’s favored foreign leader was conniving to pull the United States into World War III? Maybe Biden should have asked if Americans supported such recklessness? No, he was president so he was entitled to delude Americans and pretend to rule the world.

Perhaps the greatest intellectual calisthenics in the long article was the paragraph that exonerated all Biden administration falsehoods on Ukraine. The Post offered a finger-wagging explanation:

“Rather than exposing willful deceit by a U.S. government eager to bury bad news, the Discord leaks revealed a sharp divide between the U.S. intelligence analysts who authored the documents and many senior officials at the White House, Pentagon and State Department who were overly sanguine about Ukraine’s prospects for success.”

Do the Post reporters and editors have no shame? They were not smart (or honest) enough to hark back to one of the clearest lessons from the Pentagon Papers, leaked in 1971. As philosopher Hannah Arendt noted, during the Vietnam War, “the policy of lying was hardly ever aimed at the enemy but chiefly if not exclusively destined for domestic consumption, for propaganda at home and especially for the purpose of deceiving Congress.” CIA analysts did excellent work in the early period of the Vietnam conflict. But, “in the contest between public statements, always over-optimistic, and the truthful reports of the intelligence community, persistently bleak and ominous, the public statements were likely to win simply because they were public,” Arendt commented. The Post rationalized the bias of Team Biden: “U.S. officials viewed the airing of pessimistic battle outcomes as detrimental to their endeavor to raise support for the war effort, both in Congress and internationally.” Were officials entitled to utter any falsehood that resulted in higher congressional appropriations to bankroll more bombs and missiles?

Biden, his appointees, and plenty of former military officials on the gravy train have perpetually brazenly misrepresented the war. The result is that the Ukrainian government is on the verge of conscripting Ukrainian grandfathers to send on daily, suicidal Pickett’s Charges so that Ukrainian politicians can keep pocketing billions of dollars in U.S. handouts. Ukraine prohibited any males between the age of 18 to 60 from leaving the country—as if the government had a preemptive right to send them to their death. Ukraine is closing its western border to “military age males” the same way that East Germany closed its border to West Europe decades ago. But, unlike the perfidious East Germans, Ukraine’s leaders are taking practically all the nation’s adult males hostage in the name of freedom.

But it remains a “no cost” war inside the Washington Beltway, where Ukrainian flags quickly replaced BLM banners after the Russian invasion. Nothing has changed for the policy class in the last 60 years. Arendt castigated the lavishly-paid intellectual cheerleaders for the Vietnam War who ignored “the untold misery that their ‘solutions,’ pacification and relocation programs, defoliation, napalm, and anti-personnel bullets, held in store.” In the subsequent decades, there has never been a shortage of weasel intellectuals to sell out peace in return for lavish payoffs.

Will The Washington Post ever honestly examine the costs of its own kowtowing to officialdom? The Post could do a great in-depth investigation of why its own editorial page and columnists have made so many false, misleading, or deranged statements on the Ukraine war. But don’t expect hell to freeze over any time soon.

About Jim Bovard

Jim Bovard is a Senior Fellow for the Libertarian Institute and author of the newly published, Last Rights: The Death of American Liberty (2023). His other books include Public Policy Hooligan (2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994), and seven others. He is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and has also written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, The Washington Post, among others. His articles have been publicly denounced by the chief of the FBI, the Postmaster General, the Secretary of HUD, and the heads of the DEA, FEMA, and EEOC and numerous federal agencies.

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