“The lie is the distinguishing feature of evil, because of its self-devouring commitment to what is not: it is an inner vacuity.” -Anthony Esolen
How did deception and lying become so facile and common place in high places?
We have a President who lies habitually and can’t seem to tell lies from truth. Writing for the New York Post on Sept. 13, 2014, author Jack Cashill said he’s counted 75 significant lies since Obama’s campaign for president began, excluding the casual fibs and hyperbole Obama “spouts seemingly every day.” Here are some big whoppers:
“If you like your health insurance, you can keep your insurance.”
“After Obamacare, your insurance premiums will go down.”
“Jon Gruber never worked for me.”
“We revealed to the American people exactly what we understood at the time.” — about the Benghazi attack of Sept. 11, 2011.
“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
We also have a network news anchor Brian Williams, who makes an annual salary of $10 million that most Americans can only dream of, repeating a lie for 12 years that he was in a helicopter that was shot down by an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) in Iraq in 2003.
And now we have another public figure, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald who, like Brian Williams, is a very successful man and, leaving aside the immorality of lying, doesn’t need to lie to burnish his credentials.
On the evening of Jan. 30, 2015, McDonald joined some volunteers who were out in the mean streets of Los Angeles counting the number of homeless veterans — all captured on video by CBS News.
McDonald came upon a black homeless vet.
The exchange between McDonald and the homeless vet begins at the 1:07 mark in the CBS news video (click here):
McDonald: Do you happen to be a veteran, sir?
McDonald: Really? Army? Navy? Air Force?
McDonald: What year?
Vet: Special Forces
McDonald: Special Forces! What years? I was in Special Forces!
The exchange was broadcast in a Jan. 30 CBS News story about the VA’s efforts to find and house homeless veterans.
Wikipedia says Robert McDonald, 61, a retired Chairman, President, and CEO of Procter & Gamble, had graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army for 5 years, primarily in the 82nd Airborne Division, attaining the rank of Captain.
On February 23, 2015, 24 days after McDonald’s encounter with the homeless Special Forces vet, The Huffington Post published an article by David Wood stating that McDonald “wrongly claimed in a videotaped comment earlier this year that he served in the Army’s elite special forces.”
Wood pointed out that:
U.S. special operations forces (SOF) are composed of exhaustively trained and highly capable troops from each military service, including the Army Rangers, Delta Force, Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces (also known as the Green Berets) — but not the 82nd Airborne. […]
In fact, McDonald never served in special forces. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975, completed Army Ranger training and took courses in jungle, arctic and desert warfare. He qualified as a senior parachutist and airborne jumpmaster, and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division until he resigned his commission in 1980. While he earned a Ranger tab designating him as a graduate of Ranger School, he never served in a Ranger battalion or any other special operations unit.
It was only when Huffington Post contacted McDonald to explain himself did this cabinet-level secretary in the Obama administration admit he had “misspoken”:
“I have no excuse,” McDonald told The Huffington Post, when contacted to explain his claim. “I was not in special forces.” […]
McDonald told The Huffington Post that he “wanted to clear up the confusion I probably created — I did create” in the exchange with the homeless man in L.A. Saying he was in special forces, McDonald said, “is not right. I was not in special forces. What I said was wrong.”
McDonald said he has many friends in the special forces community “and I have great respect for special forces.” But, he added, “as I thought about this later I knew this [claim] was wrong.”
When the homeless veteran claimed to have served in special forces, McDonald said, “I reacted spontaneously and I reacted wrongly, [with] no intent in any way to describe my record any different than it is.”
Ironically, McDonald was selected by Obama to replace Eric Shinseki, the retired Army general who resigned in disgrace last May following reports of widespread corruption and malfeasance within the VA.