Perjury, The American Way (February 20, 2006)

Hundreds of thousands of American swear every day to: “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” and then consciously don’t.  They may tell the truth and may tell nothing but the truth, but they don’t tell the whole truth.  They are counseled beforehand not to tell the whole truth.  They are counseled to lie.  That practice does not vary in any state or federal court in the Republic.  Lying is formally institutionalized.  Alberto “Torture Boy” Gonzales continued the long and storied American tradition.  In his confirmation hearings on January 6, 2005, the following exchange occurred:

SPECTER: Thank you very much, Senator Salazar.

Judge Gonzales, would you now stand for the administration of the oath? Raise your right hand.

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give before the Senate Judiciary Committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

GONZALES: I do.

SPECTER: Would you begin, Judge Gonzales, by introducing your beautiful family?

During the questioning, Senator Feingold (D-Wis.) inquired into whether the president could authorize warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.  In response, Torture Boy discounted the possibility and diverted Congress’ attention by referring to the matter as a “hypothetical situation” at a time when it was a settled practice of the president.  The whole truth?  He lied, but he is in power so lying is de rigueur.  Perjury is the American Way.

[See Carol D. Leonnig, “Gonzales Is Challenged On Wiretaps,” The Washington Post, January 31, 2006, page A07.]

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