June 20, 2003
"Lie" Lie Spreads

NPR's All Things Considered asked a number of people around the country "whether it matter if weapons of mass destruction are found in Iraq". Reporter Tom Goldman in Portland, OR interviewed fantasy novelist Ursula LeGuin and a group of her friends, whom Goldman described as "against the war in Iraq, well-read and politically aware".

Leguin: If it was a lie, if it was a lie of exaggeration, if it was wishful thinking, all that, that's very bad news for our democracy.
(an aside: Ursula Leguin recently spoke out against the Patriotic Act
What do attacks on freedom of speech and writing mean to a writer? It means that somebody's there with a big plug they're trying to fit in your mouth and big plugs they're trying to fit in the ears of the people. Bad news again.
Was that a lie of exaggeration about the Patriotic Act? You be the judge).

Back to the NPR interview with LeGuin and her guests. There are no "if"s for book publisher Ruth Gundle. She says the administration already has lied about the weapons.

Gundle: We were not just told that they believed they were there. We were told that they knew for a fact that they were there.
Several others interrupting: That's right
Gundle: In fact Rumsfeld actually said where they were.
Goldman: On March 30 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said [on ABC's This Week] there were weapons of mass destruction in the areas around Tikrit and Baghdad.
It's interesting that this was the only example NPR came up with to support Gundle's claim. Rumsfeld's statement was not before the war while the administration was trying to build public and congressional support. It was made while the war was already underway. It's also an uncharacteristic mistake for Rumsfeld, who was normally more guarded about possible weapons discoveries. And there is absolutely no evidence that this or any other administration statement was a "lie" and not due to, say, faulty intelligence, or even correct but dated intelligence.

UPDATE Another example of Ursula LeGuin's own exaggerations in the service of, uh, democracy: In a statement opposing Oregon's Measure 87 (Nov. 2000) which would have permitted local governments to zone (but not censor) sexually oriented businesses, LeGuin wrote:

If Measure 87 is approved, instead of deciding for ourselves what we want to read, see and hear, the politicians will make those decisions for us.
Now that's what I call fantasy.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at June 20, 2003 06:02 PM

David Brooks has a smart editorial on the wacked-out behavior of the left. In short, they are losing it and will get hammered in 04 if they keep it up.


Posted by: Just one Voice on June 20, 2003 08:45 PM

I think the situation is analgous to this:

The cops have surrounded a house where a deranged, armed man is holding his family hostage. The police demand that he drop the gun and surrender. He says that he has a bomb and he will blow the house up if the cops enter. The bomb threat causes the police to evacuate the neighborhood. The cops do enter, rescue the family, kill the madman, but no bomb is found (yet).

The left: "The police lied! The police lied!"
The right: the police were heroes, and they rescued the family.

"Just One Voice" is right. The left's logic is unlikely to play well in '04. They should just shut up and try to get the nation focused on one of their silly pet issues, like universal health insurance (while hoping that the world outside the US cools down).

Posted by: John Rogers on June 21, 2003 04:08 AM

Darn - another artist I admire acts stupid.

Unlike Hollywood types, Le Guin has no excuse. She is very smart and writing is her business.

But everything I've read of hers in the last 5-6 years has been pretty didactic, so maybe she is going downhill.

But I'll side with her on the Patriot Act, and so did a bunch of Congress-critters from both sides of the aisle.

Posted by: Yehudit on June 22, 2003 03:55 AM

JOV, about the Weekly Standard article - this is exactly how Republicans acted about Clinton. At this point I side with the Pubs, but it ain't pretty no matter which party does it.

Posted by: Yehudit on June 22, 2003 03:59 AM
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