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Well…Honesty is a Virtue

June 18, 2011

by J. Andrew Zalucky

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

So I was at the gym the other day, and while running on the treadmill I had The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell playing on the TV screen in front of me. I forgot to bring my headphones, so I just turned the volume down to turn on  closed-captioning. Lawrence did a segment on the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with outgoing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. I assumed the hearing would be interesting enough.

But I was not expecting this:

Senator Leahy (D-VT): “How long do we support governments that lie to us? When do we say enough is enough?”

Gates: “most governments lie to each other. That’s the way business gets done.”


Still running, I literally made several “WTF” expressions at the TV screen. In the age of Wiki-leaks, the truth of his remarks should not be a surprise to anyone. The fact that he uttered the statement out loud should be. While slightly alarmed, I actually found this very refreshing. It’s nice to hear a top official speak with such candor about the reality of intelligence and diplomacy. To be fair, he is the outgoing secretary and probably feels an overwhelming sense of “whatever” about the whole situation. Surely after so many years at the CIA and the Defense Department, anyone would feel like slamming the door behind them.

Lawrence ended the segment by declaring that in the few weeks left, he hopes the Secretary “keeps talking”. I can only imagine what an autobiography would sound like (with a few things conveniently left out of coursecoughcough).

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