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Manipulative Words of Equal Meaning
Many words mean the same thing and may be used synonymously in context to make ideas and concepts clear in the process of standard writing. Some synonyms, however, may be used euphemistically to manipulate a reaction of the reader or listener to the context of a statement. Take the word “lie” for instance. The dictionary definition of the word lie is, “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive.” In the year 2003, the definitional use of the word “lie” became ambiguous when applied to the statements made by President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard Cheney regarding the imminent danger posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to the United States.
We now know that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction in the months leading up to the Iraqi invasion, nor did the country pose a grave danger to American security. According to the Downing Street Memo, which has been systematically downplayed by the media and ignored by Congress, there is undeniable proof of collusion and conspiracy by the Blair and Bush administrations, months prior to the Iraqi invasion, to deliberately deceive the American and British people into supporting the pending war. Nevertheless, the use of the word “lie” by the media, to apply to the conduct of the Bush Administration, was somehow not deemed proper.
They instead used the word “prevaricate,” which means “to speak falsely, misleadingly, or so as to avoid the truth; deliberately misstate; equivocate; lie.” Though the two words appear to be identical in definition, prevaricate doesn’t carry the same blunt ring of accusation conveyed by using the word “lie.” But is there any real difference? If I said that Peter took the money from an old man without permission, with the intention of keeping it, I might also correctly say that Peter stole the money. Moreover, if I said that Peter took the money and then denied doing it, I could also equivalently say that Peter lied about taking the money. What if I said, instead, that Peter took the money and then prevaricated about doing it? What would be the difference between my two statements? Would the use of the word “prevaricate” change the circumstances or mitigate the act of Peter denying that he stole the money? I think not.
A double standard has always been widely used when considering the conduct of kings, presidents, and prime ministers as opposed to the ordinary people of a nation-state. And the misuse of words and colloquial expressions has commonly been the means whereby the double standard has been applied. This is because kings, emperors, and other monarchs were historically considered sources of law, so they were also rendered as sacrosanct and considered incapable by the people of committing crimes.
If, for example, a divine-right king or emperor had provided the means for his close associates to evade interrogation during an investigation into crimes against the state, would the ruler have been culpable of obstruction of justice? In an historical reference, perhaps not. If the ruler claimed sovereign immunity to be able to commit acts, ordinarily considered crimes, with total impunity, which many kings did, the ruler had an out. Then how about an elected president or prime minister in a contemporary system of laws where everyone in the state are equally charged to obey the law? Equal protection under the law and equal liability for violating the law sound good when legislated as general principles. But by saying that presidents, prime ministers, and ordinary citizens are equal before the law, strict application and enforcement of guiding constitutional principles are ultimately necessary as proof that all people are judged equally in a nation of laws.
So has strict application and enforcement of criminal law been the case in the United States with regard to our Presidents, Vice-Presidents, U.S. Representatives, and U.S. Senators, and all other civil officers in accordance with Article 1, Section 3 and Article 2, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution? Of the “infamous” sixteen federal civil officers impeached since 1789, only one senator, William Blount, was formally investigated in 1799 for high crimes, but was not convicted because, of all things, the Senate declared that it did not have the jurisdiction to try one of their own, which was constitutionally incorrect. The two Presidents on the list, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, were impeached but acquitted of their charges. Of the nine federal judges impeached, six of them were tried, convicted, and removed from office. Three were acquitted. The one Supreme Court justice impeached, Samuel Chase, was acquitted in 1805. No Vice-President has ever been impeached.
Does the foregoing disciplinary record say anything about double standards occurring in the federal criminal justice system? Is it possible that if each aforementioned impeachment acquittal was closely examined in retrospect by an honest county prosecutor, in strict accordance with federal law, would political skullduggery and Machiavellian compromise be found as expedient bases for the adjudged innocence? One prominent senator majority leader once publicly said that trying Presidents and senators for petty criminal offenses is a waste of the Congress’ precious time.
The sanitized Congressional Record didn’t reflect any opposition to this senator’s statement on the Senate floor, so I suppose there were ninety-nine other senators who agreed with him. Perhaps if Richard Nixon had been tried by the Senate for the list of crimes with which he was charged, he would have also been acquitted. Perhaps not. But we do know that Gerald Ford pardoned him before he could be indicted by the Justice Department after resigning from the Presidency.
How about the Presidents, besides Nixon, who got away with committing high crimes while in office definitely like James K. Polk, Warren G. Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, and, possibly, Ronald Reagon and George H. Bush. What did Polk do? He lied to Congress about who started the fight with Mexico in 1848 in order to get a declaration of war against Mexico for the sake of Manifest Destiny. It was Gen. Zachary Taylor who actually started the Mexican War by having one of his soldiers shoot and kill (murder?) a Mexican cavalryman from across the Rio Grande River. Over two-thousand people, both Mexican and American, were killed in that unjust war.
Those Americans who have studied history know about the Teapot Dome Scandal and the acclaimed ignorance of President Warren G. Harding as to the money laundering that occurred between Harding’s Secretary of the Interior, Albert B. Fall, and an oil operator, Henry F. Sinclair. Several people got rich in the illegal exchange of money, but Harding claimed he didn’t know anything about what was going on. Fall was the only federal officer tried and convicted for the high crime of conspiracy and grand theft. Perhaps, in addition to being considered a failure as a President, Harding should have been impeached and tried by the Senate for presiding over the Teapot Dome Scandal and not doing anything about it.
According to meticulous historical research conducted by Dr. Charles Tansill, Distinguished Professor of Diplomatic History at Georgetown University who wrote “Back Door to War: Roosevelt Foreign Policy, 1933-1941,” John Toland, distinguished writer, historian, and author of “Infamy,” George Morgenstern, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Chicago who served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and wrote the book, “Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War,” published in 1947, Charles A. Beard, noted historian and author of “President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941: A Study in appearances and Realities,” and Frederick R. Sanborn, historical writer and author of “Design for War: A Study of Secret Politics, 1937-1941,” Franklin D. Roosevelt covertly planned for the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and knew, at least 48 hours in advance, that the Japanese Fleet were going to devastate the vulnerable U.S. Naval Fleet. Because of the many secret documents and records kept from the purview of the Blue Ribbon Pearl Harbor Commission by U.S. Army Intelligence operatives, the commission was not able to ferret out the facts and the disturbing truth about Pearl Harbor and the American entry in World War II.
It wasn’t until the late 1940’s that documents were released by Harry Truman which showed that FDR conducted secret negotiations with Winston Churchill, from 1939 to late 1940, assuring the British prime minister that America would enter the war against Hitler. In knowing that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had knowledge sufficient to warn the Pearl Harbor Naval Command well in advance of the impending Japanese attack, but, instead, ordered his War Department staff to allow the surprise attack to occur, there is no alternative but to call Roosevelt a war criminal who deceived the Congress and the American people. If Congress had known about Roosevelt’s secret negotiations with Churchill and his covert underhanded foreign policy with Japan, there is no doubt that the President would have been impeached for high crimes. Being a cripple and the purported American economic savior do not, in any way, mitigate FDR’s cold calculated strategy to manipulate a neutral nation into world war.
How may less incriminating words be used to euphemize the unnecessary deaths of over 3,000 American GI’s at Pearl Harbor? Isn’t that what the Nazi leaders attempted to do in their defense at the Nuremberg Trials to justify the murder of millions of innocent people? The Iran-Contra Scandal involving Ronald Reagon and George H. Bush was also a play on words. Oliver North deliberately lied to Congress and became a popular folk hero from doing it. In response to allegations, Reagon shrugged his shoulders and simply said, “I don’t remember what happened,” and he was exonerated of all blame. Vice-President George H. Bush, former director of the CIA, testified before Congress that he was out of the loop while the sale of arms for money to support an illegal CIA war operation in El Salvador and Honduras was going on. And no one questioned his veracity. Strangely, he was believed and the investigation into Iran-Contra was halted.
You don’t have to be a conspiracy nut to read between the lines and discover that contemporary American history reveals some startling facts about corrupt political behavior. Illegal agreements between federal officers to commit acts which are against the law and of the land and the interests of the people are called criminal conspiracies. In a nation of laws, criminal government conspiracies cannot be endorsed, tolerated, or ignored. Similarly, words of equal meaning cannot be used to lessen the severity of criminal acts committed by supposedly honorable public servants. When this happens, the darkest of evil may triumph under the guise of pseudonyms and aliases.
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