February 22, 2014

"How can man know himself? He is a dark and hidden thing."

Said Nietzsche, quoted in the Wall Street Journal's review of the book "Mindwise" by Nicholas Epley. If you can get past the subscription wall, there's an entrancing Robert Capa photograph of a man in a mask, furthering this blog's theme this morning. (If you can't see it there, see it here.)

There's also this excerpt, for what it's worth:
Consider, Mr. Epley says, the differences between Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein. In September 1938, Neville Chamberlain, as well as other leaders around the world, believed Hitler when he said he wouldn't invade Czechoslovakia (turns out he was just buying time to get his invading forces maximally prepared). Some six decades later, President George W. Bush, as well as other leaders around the world, failed to believe Saddam Hussein when he said he had no weapons of mass destruction. (He didn't, though according to the postwar Iraq Survey Group's conclusions, he valued the ambiguity as a deterrent and led even his own army to conclude that he did.)
IN THE COMMENTS: Quoting the part about Saddam, dhp said:
The best way to lie is to tell the truth unconvincingly.
Which raises the question whether Bush lied when he expressed a belief in the lie Saddam told in the form of telling the truth unconvincingly.  Did Bush correctly perceive that Saddam intended to be disbelieved and then fall for the lie that Saddam did have WMD or did Bush mean to be taken as a liar who in fact knows that Saddam is trying to lie by telling what Bush knows is the truth, that Saddam does not have WMD?

21 comments:

Fandor said...

"All warfare is based on deception".

Humperdink said...

Someone forget the ask the Kurds, who were gassed, if Saddam Hussein had any WMD.

Hagar said...

That is odd. As I remember it, Saddam Hussein tried very hard to make the world think he did have "weapons of mass destruction," which he did have, but also specifically the nuclear kind, which it turned out he did not have.

David said...

It's not worth much, that excerpt.

I would say failing to believe Saddam should always have been a default position.

Also Saddam was playing a double game--denying that he had the weapons while at the same time trying to make people believe that he did.

damikesc said...

So, Bush was so diabolical that he faked intel on Iraqi WMD that even the Iraqi MILITARY thought they had them?

Will his evil never cease?

Laslo Spatula said...

To truly know oneself as an American you must first begin with slavery and 400 years of oppression. I read that somewhere.

Phil 3:14 said...

Wait, George Bush is now Neville Chamberlain?

dbp said...

"Some six decades later, President George W. Bush, as well as other leaders around the world, failed to believe Saddam Hussein when he said he had no weapons of mass destruction."

The best way to lie is to tell the truth unconvincingly.

Hagar said...

damiskesc wins the thread!

Opinh Bombay said...

I think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what I said was not what I meant.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Don't we know now that Iraq transferred its WMD to Syria?

Luke Lea said...

My pet theory is that Bush was blackmailed by the Saudis to go after Saddam instead of them.

Blackmailed for what? I dunno exactly but he hung out with them during his wild and woolly days back in Houston. Maybe they had video of him in bed with another man, or maybe some financially incriminating documents relating to his little oil company that suddenly got helped by Bahrain. Or something to do with trading on his father's reputation, who was then head of the CIA. Maybe something about the Savings and Loan scandal (scads of Texas billionaires were minted back then, a bunch of them pals of W).

sinz52 said...

People believe a lie if they want to believe it.

Years prior, even before Bush became President, Bush's advisers had wanted to get rid of Saddam for other reasons.

Men like Wolfowitz had this cockamamie theory that Saddam--not al-Qaeda--was the main terrorist threat to America. While the FBI and CIA disagreed, the Bushies had their own brain trust--academicians like Laurie Mylroie and Angelo Codevilla--who were pushing this theory. I remember that during the 2nd Clinton term, Laurie Mylroie used to appear on the David Brudnoy Show in Boston, to plug her theory.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0312.bergen.html

So the Bushies had already decided that Saddam was the Number One menace to the U.S. The WMD issue was just confirmation: "See! He really is the Number One threat after all!"

And so when 9-11 happened, Wolfowitz was sure that Saddam had to have had a hand in it somewhere.

Christy said...

Twas my belief that Saddam Hussein believed he had WMD because none of his team was willing to give him the bad news that it just wasn't happening. Hmmm..I've heard of that in another issue recently. Now where..?

Sam L. said...

Saddam certainly had the laboratories and factories to make them. Bill Clinton believed; this was conventional wisdom at the time.

Drago said...

Left Bank: "Don't we know now that Iraq transferred its WMD to Syria?"

Pretty much.

And the yellow cake that was found in Iraq that the US requested the Canadians help to dispose of.

But hey, it was only 500 tons of yellowcake.

Just 500 tons.

500 tons.

500.

Almost nothing really.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/07/iraq.uranium/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

And those WMD that were transferred from Iraq to Syria?

Nope.

Never happened.

It's just a complete and total coincidence that the Baathist party under Assad in Syria just recently used the same WMD types that the Baathist party under Saddam used to whack the Kurds years ago.

Total. Coincidence.

Syria had never used weapons such as these before this last event.

Why?

They didn't have them.

But now they do.

Magic.

But it's most important to remember that all of things must, by necessity, continue to be "untruths" so the left can say "Bush lied, people died."

What's important is the narrative.

What's important is what helps the glorious workers struggle.

Truth.

Not so much.

Drago said...

Saddam also had an active nuclear program.

Why else do you need yellowcake? In those quantities?

Gee, it's almost like it's simply too difficult to figure out!!

"Maths" is hard.

Drago said...

But you can all relax now of course.

Obama is in charge, and remember he said that "Assad must go", so there you go.

Problem solved there.

Also that the US would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

But the "agreement" does allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

So there you go.

Plus, obama didn't set any red line in syria or iran. The Republicans did!

Oh wait, the UN did!

Oh wait, the world did!

But not obama.

Nope.

Again, we are in the best of hands.

Drago said...

Hey, remember all those TV news segments all this?

Nope.

Me neither.

So it never happened.

After all, if CNN is not trumpeting it and the NYT doesn't print it, did it really happen.

According to phx, no.

And that's the only measure that counts.

Truth.

It just gets in the way.

Beldar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Godfather said...

For years I found the "Bush lied us into war" meme very useful. As soon as I saw this claim in a column or letter to the editor I knew I didn't have to read any further.