25 May 2005

And these are our allies...

In at least one area, the Bush administration has done what it said it would do — run the government like a business. That area is public relations, in which few businesses ever tell the truth. Failures, mistakes, and crimes are spun, denied, and minimized; successes are overhyped. When was the last time anyone believed an earnings projection? For the most part, businesses try to avoid transparency and honesty.

In the end, though, the bottom line will betray them. Businesses know that eventually there will be an accounting, and this alone keeps their flights from being too fanciful.

This administration, on the other, seems to think that the accounting will never come, that if they deny and spin, and classify enough documents, that their misdeeds will forever remain plausibly deniable.

Unfortunately, as there is no objective measure of their performance, it's impressions that matter. And this administration has earned its reputation for opacity and lack of accountability. And so it's no wonder that the Pakistani article linked above says that America's overseas prisons are "in close league with the concentration camps of the Second World War Nazi thugs".

If this administration had all along been open and honest, they could have expected to be believed when they said that the abuse has been rare and committed by a few "bad apples" who have been delivered to justice. Instead, from the secret energy hearings, to the hiding of the warnings they received about 9/11, to the firing of those who spoke the truth, to the big lies that got the US into Iraq, they have made clear their contempt for the truth, and for us all.