Small Wars Journal

Eight Years of Corrosive Lies About Syria

Eight Years of Corrosive Lies About Syria by Michael Brendan Dougherty - National Review

We are told constantly that Donald Trump’s lies corrode the life of our Republic. Jacob Levy of the Niskanen Center invoked Hannah Arendt on the subject, and said that Trump uses lies the way authoritarians do, to demonstrate and expand their power, by “making his surrogates repeat the lies [he] compromised them; that tied them to him. And it degraded them, and made clear where power lay.” James Pfiffner of the Brookings Institute solemnly argued that Trump’s lies are different than past presidential fibs because Trump doesn’t try to equivocate, and that they thus “challenge the fundamental principles of the Enlightenment.”

I’m willing to give these arguments in the defense of truth-telling a great deal of time. The triviality of some presidential lies, they often tell us, is an aggravating factor. By lying trivially, and casually, the president demeans truth itself, which is suborned by power. All true, as far as it goes.


But, then I come across another story about Syria in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that the United States may leave 1,000 troops in that country after all. The president, if you’ll remember, announced a complete withdrawal of troops from Syria months ago. Then, weeks later the White House announced that a small force of 200 would stay behind. Now, the Journal was reporting that it would actually be 1,000. A few hours later the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff said the original plan remained unchanged.


I realized that I no longer knew what to believe…

Read on.