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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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March 10, 2004

Re: The right to lie

Written by a reader responding to "The right to lie":

The problem with the right to lie is not that it is allowed only for the rich or for the government, but that it is unevenly applied period. Or, to be more specific, the penalties associated with lies often don't seem proportionate to the nature, reason or impact of the lies themselves.

Martha goes to prison for avoiding $50,000 in losses. Bush Jr. made hundreds of thousands of dollars on his Harken stock sale, which was likely insider trading. But Jr. never had to officially lie about it because the SEC, led at the time by a former Bush aide, never interviewed Jr. or anyone else on the Harken board during its short "investigation." See this link and this one.

Clinton was indeed eventually caught in a lie about sex. Yet what was the investigation actually supposed to be about? It certainly didn't start off as a sex investigation. It changed so many times from its original purpose in an attempt to find Clinton guilty of SOMEthing, I lost track. In the end, they got him for lying during their investigation, not for what was being investigated.

Clinton deserved consequences for lying under oath, but I question the level of consequences, whether he should have ended up in a place where he had to testify on the topic in the first place, or the real importance of that lie to matters of state.

Again, Bush is too careful to actually make his proclamations under oath, especially regarding things he is widely suspected of lying about, like Iraq. When asked on his rare unscripted interview on "Meet the Press" if he would testify before the commission investigating intelligence on Iraq, Bush said, "You know, I don't ... testify? I mean, I will be glad to visit with them."

Which is a shame, because I would have loved to hear the follow up to such testimony. I imagine it would be something like, "Well, you see, I, that is we, that is, the meaning of "is" are be, uh ... did I mention I'm a war president?"


Written by a STop blog reader

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at March 10, 2004 09:51 AM



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