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Old 04-16-2018, 11:05 AM
Hermitian Hermitian is offline
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How often does the US military/Government lie?

Most people in the US take it for granted that many countries' governments and military lie as common practice (especially more oppressive/corrupt ones like Assad's government, Putin's government, etc). Who can forget the Iraqi disinformation minister?

Do we have a good feel for how often the US government and military lie? I am asking about times when they said one thing and it was blatantly and obviously proven otherwise.

Things I am NOT talking about:

1. Leaving out information or not telling everything. No doubt this happens all the time.
2. Things that some people think may be lies (agent orange?) or there is less than positive proof (Trump election crowds, yes we all know, but there is no official count). I am looking for positive proof.
3. "Some military officer or government official lied to me once." I am looking for official statements.


Since this one is a third rail, I will go ahead and mention the US government gave false information on the WMDs in Iraq. Please keep the politics out of the thread.
  #2  
Old 04-16-2018, 11:25 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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This is far too open-ended and vague for General Questions. Opinions on what is a lie will vary greatly. Let's move it over to IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermitian View Post
Please keep the politics out of the thread.
Fat chance with that, which is another reason I'm moving it.

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  #3  
Old 04-16-2018, 11:28 AM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Often enough that one should not just take whatever they say at face value.

ETA: I think there's some nuance between "gave false information" (which they may have sincerely and mistakenly believed was accurate at the time they gave it) and "lied" (which, IMHO, includes a deliberate intent to deceive). There's a whole lot of the former, and some amount of the latter.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 04-16-2018 at 11:30 AM.
  #4  
Old 04-16-2018, 11:33 AM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Obamacare is not a tax, except when it is.

Regards,
Shodan
  #5  
Old 04-16-2018, 11:58 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Obamacare is not a tax, except when it is.

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Shodan
Since the OP is asking how often the government lies, may we assume from your response that the answer is "once"?
  #6  
Old 04-16-2018, 12:08 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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nm, found it.

Last edited by Ravenman; 04-16-2018 at 12:09 PM.
  #7  
Old 04-16-2018, 03:18 PM
Corry El Corry El is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermitian View Post
Since this one is a third rail, I will go ahead and mention the US government gave false information on the WMDs in Iraq. Please keep the politics out of the thread.
That's seems a pretty political statement to be followed immediately by 'please keep the politics out'. The words imply if they don't explicitly state intentional deception, which is itself a political opinion. The information was not correct or largely not at least, that's a fact. Whether they gave bad info simply because they had bad info is a matter of opinion. No point in re-litigating the whole tired issue, but it's not a good example if you really want to steer away from politics.

Although at least this points to a way to narrow down an otherwise hopelessly vague question. There's a difference between eg. 'if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor' about the ACA and saying eg. 'none of our a/c were shot down' if they actually were. One was a characterization of a projected future situation, with the vague second person pronoun 'you' (no reasonable person expects 'you' to apply to all 300+ million people in the country, the debate is how many it did and didn't turn out to apply to). The hypothetical airplanes the enemy claimed to have shot down either were or weren't, basically, and no reasonable doubt whether the govt itself had the right information, at least after the initial fog of war cleared. Again also in contrast to the WMD case where you can posit 'they knew damn well the info was wrong', 'didn't but should have', 'didn't and maybe could not have' etc. opinions which, surprise, are going to line up generally with where the observer is in left/right terms in politics generally.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:29 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Powell thought that wmds were present. Does it count if the guy actually lying was duped by others? Somebody in the USA government was lying, so I'd say that counts as "the government lying". They lied to the rest of the government and everyone else.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:23 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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In my humble opinion, politicians lie a lot - some of them almost constantly. I find it difficult to separate the statements of the government from the statements of the politicians within that government, so I am therefore of the opinion that the government lies a lot.

To quantify that "a lot" a bit, I don't think they lie enough that you can safely assume that a given statement is a lie. Well, give or take one or two of them.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:58 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
In my humble opinion, politicians lie a lot - some of them almost constantly. I find it difficult to separate the statements of the government from the statements of the politicians within that government, so I am therefore of the opinion that the government lies a lot.

To quantify that "a lot" a bit, I don't think they lie enough that you can safely assume that a given statement is a lie. Well, give or take one or two of them.
I believe Congressmen lie when they open their mouth. That puts another meaning on the op. Hell yes, the government lies, a lot.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:15 PM
StusBlues StusBlues is offline
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I think the best answer would be "it depends". My military history professor said that he knew the Vietnam War was lost when the press briefings turned into outright lies.
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  #12  
Old 04-16-2018, 08:27 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Quote:
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I think the best answer would be "it depends". My military history professor said that he knew the Vietnam War was lost when the press briefings turned into outright lies.
President Johnson said, "If I've lost Walter Cronkite, I've lost America."
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:57 PM
Doctor Jackson Doctor Jackson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivorousplant View Post
Powell thought that wmds were present. Does it count if the guy actually lying was duped by others? Somebody in the USA government was lying, so I'd say that counts as "the government lying". They lied to the rest of the government and everyone else.
It's even more tangled than that. It is possible that an analyst thought they uncovered evidence of WMD's and sent it up the chain. If no one bothered to validate the info, then everyone up to the top could be acting on information that, while un-vetted and incorrect, they believed to be true. Or one person in the chain could have been lying. Or everybody could have been. There is really no way to know for sure. Since the OP wants proven cases only, frequency becomes nigh impossible to determine.
  #14  
Old 04-17-2018, 08:55 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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It's not "lying", it's "framing the narrative".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Obamacare is not a tax, except when it is.

Regards,
Shodan
Which in many a conservative's mind is equivalent to and justification for Trump lying nearly every time he opens his mouth:
http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/
  #15  
Old 04-17-2018, 09:11 PM
kopek kopek is offline
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By your definitions of what you don't include as lies I would say not terribly often at the National level; possibly a little more at the local or state levels. However the higher up the food chain you go the more I feel we're being "sold a bill of goods".
  #16  
Old 04-17-2018, 09:50 PM
rbroome rbroome is offline
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In my limited experience, not a lot of lying goes on.
What does happen-a lot-is politicians try to a) simplify a complex subject and b) only tell the part of the story they like. Is that a lie? I don't think so. The information is probably true as far as it goes and the politician is human and trying to make a point. It is up to the listener to realize that absent a lot of study and documentation, everything they hear about is simplified. Which to my mind means it isn't actually a lie.

When a politician or anyone else states something that is factually false. Something that is well-documented yet the statement is counter to the facts. Once or twice, that is a mistake. As a pattern, those are lies. Some politicians lie. Most make mistakes. All over-simplify.
  #17  
Old 04-18-2018, 02:20 AM
DWMarch DWMarch is offline
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Elite soldiers do not die in action. They only die in training accidents. If there is nothing left of the soldier to bury the coffin is filled with lead ballast.
  #18  
Old 04-18-2018, 07:06 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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"The Government" is made up of a lot of people. Some lie. Some don't. Some lie a lot. Kinda like any group of people anywhere. My very limited experience is that the farther up the food chain a liar is, the more people end up lying, deliberately or because they've been fed lies.

I refuse to accept that the presence of corruption means the entire organization is nothing but liars. But the lies sure stain a lot of honest people.
  #19  
Old 04-18-2018, 07:27 AM
Cardigan Cardigan is offline
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I work for government and I don't think I've ever lied in the course of doing my job. Nor any of my coworkers that I'm aware of.
  #20  
Old 04-18-2018, 08:56 AM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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If their lips are moving...
  #21  
Old 04-18-2018, 11:42 AM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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I asked the government that question once.

It insisted it never ever lied. So they must be telling the truth.
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