Politics, Lying and War

June 10, 2010

Heard on ABC Radio National this morning:

Fran Kelly: Is your advice then that we should always expect some kind of conspiracy when governments are at war and shouldn’t actually believe basically anything our political leaders say?

Daniel Ellsberg: Well to start with your last point, no, you should not believe what your political leaders say.  It isn’t that everything they say is a lie or a conscious lie, but anything they say could be, and a great deal of it is.  Of course some of it is just deception and misdirection without actual lying, and a lot of it is lying, such as the notion that progress is being made [in Afghanistan].  Of course people, even very smart people, can be very dumb if it suits their purposes, and they can believe almost anything.  The notion that we are making progress in Afghanistan is a delusion that I don’t believe is shared by anyone inside, including Secretary Gates.

Full interview here.