Right now, hearings about how the US will address ISIS are going on in Washington D.C.

During one exchange, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff seemed to object to requests for more clarity on the question of whether American soldiers might be used on the front line rather than in training, intelligence, and other support roles saying, basically, that there's no upside to letting the enemy know what you will and won't do.

Seems to make sense, and yet Americans are used to, and expect, to know everything. However, is always knowing everything a good idea? And sometimes is it even necessary for the Federal government to deceive the American people? If, for example, it also deceives an enemy. After all, the truth will eventually out.

It is said that "the first casualty of war is the truth." Sometimes that may be a good thing. Do you agree?

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I dunno. Considering we were conned into a revenge seeking oil hoarding quest for finishing daddy's unfinished business for non existent WMD's, I would say the American people rightfully have trust issues. I certainly do. Trust and respect has to be earned. In this case earned back.

I don't know how the Bushes can earn your trust back, but news flash: they aren't the President anymore.

More than one person has been banned for name calling here, so you might want to watch it. Just sayin'.

The majority of us are naive gullible cows chewing on the corporate cud that controls Washington D.C. Most of us couldn't handle the truth. The truth be told many would probably not be so eager to wave the flag or make other patriotic gestures if we "knew the rest of the story."  

What's too much? Troop deployments, access codes, names of covert operatives (hello Bush). Other than stuff like that, I want to know.

S

According to Sun Tzu , all war is deception.

I'm divided on this issue.  I believe freedom of speech should be taught with responsibilities.  The freedom of speech that includes the freedom to deceive and lie is only for ideologues -- politicians and religion salesmen who routinely tell any lie they wish to promote their careers and power.  if they were held to the same degree of responsibility for their words as the rest of society things would be different.  But when you think about it, leaders of nations and religions should be held to higher standards of honesty than anyone.

With that in mind I'd be all for a law for that.  I'd go so far as to say any religion salesman pushing holy oil or get rich quick  through god scams  ---- or politicians who completely misrepresent issues to the public in order to promote their careers and power should be arrested, tried, convicted, executed and unceremoniously buried at sea with their naked corpses tied to rusty truck axles.  

Then on the other hand.... I've had three  hard lessons on the truth and discretion.  The first was from my dad, a family practice physician.  He explained why he lied and why many people do.  He told me to imagine I was a doctor with two patients, one a boy about seven and the other a man who was seventy.  Both have the same terminal disease and have only days to live.  Then he told me to pretend I had to break the news to the young boy.... and then the old man.  I understood why the truth is a matter of discretion.  It's determined by "how much do I perceive you can handle hearing?" along with "How much can I bear to tell you?"

The next big lesson I had on the truth was during my 4 years as a marine and then 26 months in Afghanistan.  You're absolutely right >> the first casualty of war is truth.  In fact it's more right than most people suspect.  And that's not a bad thing as much as it is good. It all goes back to "How much do I perceive you can handle hearing?" and "How much can I bear to tell you?"  Unless you have been exposed to war you have no context by which to comprehend most of what happens in battle and out.  If I or anyone told the whole truth about it people would become completely irrational finger wringers with nightmares of things they are not equipped to understand.

Hypothetically....  you and one man are 700 meters up the side of a valley, concealed.  Through binoculars you watch a truck stop on the road below where armed men pull a prisoner, tied at his hands and feet from the back of the truck.  They throw him down, cut off his penis, stuff it in his mouth then gag him to keep him from spitting it out.  They slowly run the truck over his feet, then his shins, then his knees, and then his thighs.  Then they armed men gather around to stomp and kick him before the truck backs over his head.  What do you do?  Fire on the armed men below and reveal your position?  Do nothing?  You really don't want to know the other options.  That's war.  Dodging bullets is the easy part.

I think truth as the first casualty of war is a noble thing in most cases.  It becomes something else when truth is bent for political purposes and that goes back to deciding whose corpse needs to be tied to an axle and fed to sharks.

The third lesson on truth was after coming home to begin a career in domestic law enforcement.  Every step of the way through the system from patrol officers, detectives, supervisors, crime scene techs, coroners, district attorneys, defense attorneys and judges there is enormous cooperative discretion in the information provided to the public.  I never saw a case in which that discretion was used to cover up police activity or save any guilty party from prosecution.  The discretion I witnessed was either to protect innocent people from being drawn into the public eye --- or to protect the public's own sense of tranquility and security.  People with normal happy lives don't need all the details of crime scenes or the complete depravity that is part of so many crimes.

Ed said, "The majority of us are naive gullible cows chewing on the corporate cud that controls Washington D.C. Most of us couldn't handle the truth."

I blame the entire news media for the manner they seek out and misrepresent matters in order to manipulate the public.  None are in the business to spread information.  One and all, they profit from whoring to promote political agendas.  We might even have to import rusty truck axles to clean up the mess they've made with freedom of speech. I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

 

Gotta agree with you on this Virgil. Discretion is the better part of valor.

I realized the other day, that the US "war on terror" is missing a key strategy. Terrorism is primarily a form of psychological warfare. It relies heavily on the media to act as a resonator to amplify and spread fear, uncertainty and doubt. American conservative media has been quite compliant to this end, to the point of paranoia.  Instilling fear of the terrorists is just what the terrorists want.

   What we should do is mock them, make fun  of them, play up the stupidity of their tactics. 

Four lions trailer

How dare you mock their religion of peace?! A jihad on you!

Indeed. The irony of it all has become an embedded cliche. Every time they report the most trivial threat of terrorism they literally feed that threat with more hope, energy and attention and in the process create more fear, ignorance and division. 

They must be aware of this.

The lesson from a wise old guy has finally sunken into my head in regards to the news media which he was involved with for over 30 years.  They are not in business to provide their viewers with facts or anything resembling an in depth understanding of issues.  They are in business to solidify a solid audience of viewers in order to establish their place in the market and to do this they will put anything on the screen that their particular audience will believe.  The ultimate goal of the news media is to sell you laundry detergent, cars you don't need, feminine hygiene products, and politicians every two years.  If they cannot do this they'd go out of business.

Everything that shows up on TV news is custom spun for the audience watching it.  Watch the frigging commercials, stock up on the crap they're pushing and ignore the talking heads and you'll be better off.

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