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"There is nothing so powerful as truth"

One of the key elements of our system of justice is the seeking and identifying of truth. In fact, justice is often described as "discovering the truth," and dealing with the consequences.

In order to get people to give the truth, we have equipped our courts with the means to compel them. They have a "carrot," with the power to grant immunity -- if the person speaks the truth, they cannot be punished for any misdeeds they confess to.

But they also have a "stick" -- the power to punish those who withhold, or lie. If one refuses to speak, they can cite you for contempt, and imprison you until you choose to speak.

But woe betide those who lie to the courts. That is a whole new category of offense, called "perjury." And it is taken very, very seriously, indeed -- lying to the court while under oath threatens the very nature of our justice system. For if people cannot be trusted to speak truly, then the truth may never be found.

And that's one of the reasons I loathe Bill Clinton. I don't care what his motivations, his causes, or even the topic of his lies -- he raised his hand, while President of the United States, swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God, and then lied his ass off. The truth was only proven when it turns out Monica Lewinsky hadn't taken a certain Clinton-DNA-bearing blue dress to the dry cleaner's. He was impeached for that lie, and it's to our national disgrace that he was acquitted.

Likewise, as I mentioned before, that is precisely the reason I find myself unable to respect Oliver North. He stood before Congress, raised his hand, swore on his honor as a United States Marine to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to those people he was constitutionally compelled to give the truth to, and lied. He will always be "damaged goods" to me for that.

Both men escaped serious consequences for their actions, and -- to me, at least -- caused great harm to our system of justice and government. And it aggravates me no end that both are lionized by their respective sides to this day.

Comments (21)

Thank you! I have been say... (Below threshold)

Thank you! I have been saying this same thing for years. It had nothing to do with sex, it had to do with undermining the entire foundation of our judicial system.

If the most powerful of us are not expected to tell the truth under oath then none of us will see justice in our grieviences, and that is what the former President did.

At least North had a better... (Below threshold)

At least North had a better looking babe attached to his scandal. And in his case, that wasn't a cheesy double entendre...

The thing that always drove... (Below threshold)

The thing that always drove me crazy about North is that the Right lionized him for being this tough Marine who took the fall rather than roll over. He ratted out both Poindexter and Reagan, claiming they knew all about his actions. He did this so he could get off. How is that taking the fall? I would have been interested to see how he would have behaved if Inouye and the other clowns on the committee hadn't given North and others immunity, and he was looking at real jail time. What a hero.

Lying in a Communist show t... (Below threshold)

Lying in a Communist show trial is not a sin.

above reference aludes to O... (Below threshold)

above reference aludes to Oliver North trial.

Jay, we have a LEGAL system... (Below threshold)

Jay, we have a LEGAL system, from which justice emerges.

We do not have a justice system, or a system of justice.

I suppose it would be ok to say a system FOR justice.

The news media and the holl... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

The news media and the hollywood left seem to have crush on slick willie and im so damn tired of hearing about him all the time whats with these idiots anyway? sick sick sick i tell you

The difference being North ... (Below threshold)
Just John:

The difference being North is lionized because of his illegal activities, Clinton is lionized in spite of his.

Reagan, as it turns out, de... (Below threshold)

Reagan, as it turns out, devoted lots of resources and energy to stopping the Soviets, and client States, towards a larger goal. One that history has shown – almost all agree – to be a major step in world peace. Carter folded, Reagan fought. Sometimes it is as simple as that.

The battles in Nicaragua and Grenada were not isolated, but rather part of the larger war against the Communists.

This is not dissimilar to the fight put up by JFK - another tough dude - in Vietnam, Berlin, and Cuba.

Now there are those who agree and understand the Bay of Pigs attempt and those who don’t. There are even those Democrats in the JFK Admin, and CIA, who lied to protect the President, and the larger mission. There are also those who lied to cover up JFK’s various sexual peccadilloes.

North was lionized not for lies, but for being the first in a very long time to stand up to a very soft, liberal, and appeasement minded congress – at a time when the military was considered lower than dirt in the post-Vietnam era. The ratings for North’s testimony stood as a record for this genre’, until impeachment. Poindexter ultimately took a bullet to protect the President, and the mission. His lies, he would say, were a matter of national security.

Reasonable people can disagree. Depending on one’s point of view, North and Poindexter can be made knaves or heroes. The same can be said about JFK and the Bay of Pigs attempt. A flawed effort to be sure, but a noble one to this mind, however illegal.

Had JFK lived, who knows, the controversy probably would have developed and someone would have had to take a bullet for him too. Perhaps not, for President hunting had not yet become a national sport.

But, try as I might, I cannot find any equivalence in the Bay of Pigs or the Contra support, and a DNA stain on a blue dress. One might condemn all these things, by the way, and still note a difference in purpose and intent.

Poindexter lied too, we suspect, and went to jail for his trouble. He, North and Reagan would contend - as would JFK in his time - that this was in furtherance of freedom.

If not this, what? Why else would JFK invade Cuba, or Reagan support the Contras in defiance of Congress? There is a huge difference in purpose and intent between this and saving your ass from a goddamn blue dress.

You say Oliver North lied??... (Below threshold)

You say Oliver North lied?? Prove it!

Don't be a moonbat and give us that "everyone knows he lied" crap.

If you were paying attention, you would remember that Oliver North freeked out Dem Pols because he told the truth, not the lies they expected him to tell in his committee testimony. And if my memory is correct, North was eventually absolved of any criminal wrongdoing.

I thought you were beyond this kind of drivel.

As they say--don't hate the... (Below threshold)

As they say--don't hate the player, hate the game.

I agree that Clinton's lying was loathsome and, if our system was one in which scapegoating and lying wasn't the name of the game, I would be appalled at his behavior.

I've come to the point that I pretty much assume that when a politician opens his mouth and makes a sound, that sound is probably a lie (or a big ol' spin or willfully ignorant statement), unless some corraborating evidence exists.

Bill Clinton is like the Kate Moss of politics in this entry. Moss got caught doing cocaine and was dropped from her contracts, even though it is pretty common knowledge that the modeling industry is replete with coke and other hard drug users. But I think that feeds into Jay's point, that getting caught was an affront to our system of justice. If no one got caught lying, we'd probably go along happily beleiving that our system was working fine. No affront to be had.

Whether Tom DeLay is guilty of the crimes for which he has been indicted or not, I have no doubt that he will lie his ass off if necessary to get off. He's got too much to lose. And he probably won't be caught. And our system of "justice" will go on.

They all do it--it's survival. It's the system. It's the game. The trick is not getting caught.

Lying about sex is bad........ (Below threshold)
john Ryan:

Lying about sex is bad....... well sorta bad I guess, if it is under oath. I myself have NEVER lied about sex........ under oath.....ummmmm so far....... to the best of my recollection..... due to a pre-existing un diagnosed Alzheimers condition.......

[North] stood before Con... (Below threshold)

[North] stood before Congress, raised his hand, swore on his honor as a United States Marine to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to those people he was constitutionally compelled to give the truth to, and lied.

Actually, he didn't. Not during the hearings that anybody saw on TV, anyway. That is part of the left-wing mythology that has grown up like a fungus around this episode. Where Oliver North lied was in a closed-session congressional hearing several months previous to when it all hit the fan, and I don't believe he was under oath at that time, otherwise the Democrats would have busted his ass for perjury. Remember that this was part of an ongoing battle between President Reagan and a Democrat-controlled Congress who thought it had the right to dictate to the Executive Branch how to conduct foreign policy.

Yes, North lied to Congress during that previous closed-session hearing, but as a pundit pointed out at the time, "lying to Congress" in that context is kind of like pinching a prostitute. You probably shouldn't do it, but how great a crime is it, really?

Whether Tom DeLay is gui... (Below threshold)

Whether Tom DeLay is guilty of the crimes for which he has been indicted or not, I have no doubt that he will lie his ass off if necessary to get off.

No, he just needs to stand back and let Ronnie Earle self-destruct.

Yes how come TOM DELAY is a... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Yes how come TOM DELAY is already guilty of crimes while bill clinton is not guilty of treason? Its becuase clinton is a liberal demacrat what else do you ever expect from these vile journalists

Whether Tom DeLay ... (Below threshold)
Whether Tom DeLay is guilty of the crimes for which he has been indicted or not, I have no doubt that he will lie his ass off if necessary to get off. He's got too much to lose. And he probably won't be caught. And our system of "justice" will go on.

Why didn't you start that paragraph with "Since Tom DeLay is guilty . . ."?

This is a forum for opinion. You needn't feign objectivity when your presuppositions are so obvious. If he's not guilty, he won't need to "lie his ass off . . . to get off," there's nothing he did to "be caught," and there's no need to sarcastically distinguish the word "justice" with quotation marks.

Geez, just about everything... (Below threshold)

Geez, just about everything in this Wizband posting is wrong. Ollie, as others have noted, lied in the confidential briefing, and told the truth in the sworn testimony. Clinton, as NOBODY has noted lied in a deposition regarding a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones. The very nature of the testimony compelled by the lawsuit was determined by legislation which Clinton signed into law. This legislation allowed plaintiffs in a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit to pursue not just the facts immediately related to the situation of the employer (Governor Clinton) and employee (Ms. Jones), but also facts related to other employee/employer relationships. The purpose of this was to allow the plaintiff to demonstrate a pattern of harassment by the employer. This pattern was to be allowed to weigh into the resolution of what often become "he said, she said" unresolvable lawsuits.

The fact that Clinton lied to distort the resolution of the lawsuit, under oath, to save his behind is quite different from lying, not under oath, to preserve an Executive decision deemed to be in the best interests of the security of the US by the White House. The Constitution, for what its worth, gives the Executive branch total control in this area, by the way.

No, he just needs to sta... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

No, he just needs to stand back and let Ronnie Earle self-destruct.

Such as announcing that he had tried to indict with a grand jury last Friday and got a "no-bill" so he came back with a new grand jury Monday and got a new indictment. Of course, this came after he called a group of grand jurors over the weekend and asked them how they would have voted.

Everything Earle does in this case torpedoes his credibility. At this rate, he may end up in jail instead of Delay.

Bush & Cheney lied about WM... (Below threshold)

Bush & Cheney lied about WMD in Iraq although not under oath. 2000 soldiers and 100000 civilians died $200Billion is spent and no progress made. Lying (under oath) about a blowjob in the office is still more repugnant?

It looks like Rove is going... (Below threshold)

It looks like Rove is going to be indicted very soon. He has been MIA the last few days. How does outing a spy and lying about that under oath compare to lying under oath about a blowjob in the bosses time?

UH, Rob, If you ev... (Below threshold)

UH, Rob,

If you ever get invited to one of my ass-kicking BBQs, please don't bring any Kool-Aid. A nice veggie plate will do.






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