Memogate vs. Iraqgate

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As
you've probably heard already, CBS has fired four high-level employees
over the scandal that erupted when "60 Minutes Wednesday"
aired a story on September 8, presented by Dan Rather, alleging
misdeeds by George Bush while he was in the National Guard. The
memos offered in support of the allegations were later determined
most likely to be false.

This,
of course, brought down tons of condemnation on CBS, and especially
on Dan Rather – whom Republicans have hated for years.

CBS
ordered an investigation, headed by former Attorney General Richard
Thornburgh and former Associated Press President Louis Boccardi.
It
criticized the network
for airing the expos without sufficient
proof – but it didn't attempt to determine whether the expos itself
was false. However, it did establish that the memos were false and
shouldn't have been presented.

In
contrast to the religious beliefs of most conservative commentators,
the investigating panel doesn't believe the falsehood was motivated
by political bias, but rather that it was aired too hastily in an
attempt to scoop the competition.

It's
obviously a bad thing when a TV network peddles something that turns
out to be false, and millions of people are temporarily misled about
something.

But
isn't it even worse when a President peddles falsehoods, and thousands
of people are killed as a result?

And
yes, President Bush did lie about Iraq. When he
asserted that he had ironclad evidence
about various problems
with Iraq – including the WMDs Iraq supposedly had – he was lying.
He didn't have ironclad evidence, he shouldn’t have tried to make
us believe he did, and he shouldn't have invaded another country
without such evidence.

Perhaps
we should make up a scorecard, comparing the two "gates":

Item
MemoGate
IraqGate

Number
of falsehoods
1

At
least 5 major ones
, and many minor ones

Duration
of time in which the falsehoods were maintained
About
1 month
Now
over 2 years and no end in sight

People
killed because of the falsehoods
0


Over 50,000

Investigations
to determine who’s at fault
1
0

Apologies
made for the falsehoods
2
0

People
fired because of the falsehoods
4
0

Conservative
pundits making a big thing over the falsehoods
Many
None
that I know of

Liberal
pundits making a big thing over the falsehoods
A
few
Too
few

Libertarian
pundits making a big thing over the falsehoods

1
Many

Seems
as though too much ado has been made about a relatively harmless
incident – and much too little ado about a deadly incident.

January
14, 2005

Harry Browne [send
him mail
], the author of Why
Government Doesn’t Work

and many other books, was the Libertarian presidential candidate
in 1996 and 2000. See his website.

Harry
Browne Archives

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