Saturday, October 29, 2005

Peggy Noonan Comes to Gates of Vienna

Well, not really. But it sure sounds like she’s been sitting in on the dinner table discussions with Dymphna and me:
     Do you have confidence in the CIA? The FBI? I didn’t think so.
…people sense when an institution is overwhelmed. Citizens know. If we had a major terrorist event tomorrow half the country — more than half — would not trust the federal government to do what it has to do, would not trust it to tell the truth, would not trust it, period.
You go, girl. Speak truth to power!

One of the most dangerous threats we face is the erosion of public confidence in the institutions charged with protecting us. When government officials plainly lie to the public — see Annie Jacobsen’s story or the Able Danger fiasco — even law-abiding, dedicated, and public-spirted citizens begin to doubt all statements coming from the government. It doesn’t matter if only one percent, or one hundredth of one percent, of official pronouncements are lies. The tiny bit of leaven is in the dough, and the loaf rises.

And then, down the road, when the next big attack comes — and almost all of us believe it’s coming — then… Well, what will happen then?


A spokesman for the president told reporters that he was confident that the Department of Homeland Security had the situation under control, and that the investigation was continuing. As of this point, no connection between any known terrorist group and the attackers could be established.

Meanwhile, Manhattan authorities report that the death toll has risen past 150,000, and that the cloud of radiation has moved across the East River to…

It’s a dangerous and depressing when you have a government that’s stuck on “Trust Us.”


antifraud said...

baron, what an excellent article in so few words. My hat (cap, I'm a southern dude) is off to you. As a matter of fact, I wish I'd said that!

Baron Bodissey said...

antifraud -- thank you!

Anonymous said...

I lost all trust in the government in September 2001. I was on a short trip to Minneapolis, departing on the 8th on a United flight and returning on the 12th. On the flight from AZ to Denver there was a very agitated man pacing back and forth in first class. He made me nervous, but I didn't know why. There were other odd things about that flight which I'll probably never know the answers to. I connected to my Minneapolis flight and he was not on board. After being stuck in Minneapolis 5 days longer than I intended I finally returned to Arizona. I am outraged that the government knew of possible terrorists attacks against airlines and said nothing to the public. I think we have the right to that information and can make our own decisions based on it. Information about the incident in Oklahoma (suicide bomber) has been shut down to the public. Then they wonder why no one trusts the government?

Baron Bodissey said...

We've got two Bills on this thread now. In this particular case, I'm talking to Bill Keezer (Il Duce can kibitz if he want to, though).

It seems that a lot of people feel the same way you do. That's why I think the feckless lying and incompetence in the government is so dangerous. The people in charge are either stupid, or cynical, or short-sighted, or some combination of all three.