When a person makes a mistake and then lies about that mistake, pretends he/she never actually made the mistake and attacks those who question the mistake, that person clearly has a very serious problem. As I write in a new op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, the same can be said for a nation, especially when it comes to war. A country whose political conversation is dominated by voices that deny their own complicity in national security tragedies; downplay human casualties, and generally make dishonesty mundane, is a nation prevented from reflecting on its bad decisions - and thus is doomed to repeat such bad decisions in the future.
This is what is going on right now as we speak, thanks to both leading media figures and politicians. The misinformation surrounding the Iraq War has become so commonplace and mundane that it is almost invisible. It's kind of like how when you spend enough time in a barn, it eventually becomes hard to actually smell manure. But that doesn't mean the manure isn't there, rotting away, needing to be cleaned up - and the same thing goes for the lies and extremism that blanket our national dialogue about the war. Just because everyone in Washington is running around playing an obvious game of CYA, doesn't mean that the lies aren't happening, nor that these lies have no consequences.