Tuesday, January 13, 2004

A requiem for Paul O'Neill

The main question I have about Paul O'Neill is not what possessed him to reveal what he knows about the Bush administration but rather how such an apparently hopelessly naive individual ever rose as far as he did. The most striking quote from the Sixty Minutes interview was this: "I can't imagine that I'm going to be attacked for telling the truth."

Are you kidding me? You're a cabinet member in the Administration with the most reckless disregard for the truth since Nixon, and you can't imagine that you're going to be attacked? I'm not even a politician and I figured out long ago that the biggest lie we tell our kids is that honesty is the best policy. Honesty is almost never the best policy. The key to life is to know when and how to lie, beginning with telling Aunt Agatha how delicious her homemade quince pie is, and thank you so very much for making it.

Well, maybe O'Neill is right. Maybe he won't be attacked because he will be perceived as such a buffoon that no one will take his revelations seriously anyway, which is a shame because O'Neill provides actual evidence to support the long-standing speculation that the Bush Administration was determined to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and that the tragic events of that day merely provided an convenient cover story to sell the idea to the American people.

And yet, Bush's approval rating is still at a record high. P.T. Barnum was right.

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