"You Can't Handle the Truth!"

The title to this post is, of course, the line spoken by Jack Nicholson in the film “A Few Good Men” referring to the unwillingness of the American people to face unpleasant realities. True, he was playing a fictional character. But he had a point. An old CIA operative I knew once quipped about Washington, D.C. that “This town has no problem with graft, corruption, or the buying and selling of influence, but the one unforgivable sin is telling the truth.”

We’ve had a number of examples of this principle in the last year:

Joe Wilson, Congressman from South Carolina, blurted out “You lie!” during a speech by Barak Obama in which he denied that illegal aliens would be provided with free health care under his “reform” bill.

The response was predictable – Democrats howled indignantly, the Obama-worshiping media made it a front page issue, and the Republican “leadership” displayed their usual gutlessness in demanding that Wilson apologize, in spite of the fact that no one in their right mind believed that Obamacare would not be extended to illegal immigrants, if not officially, at least in practice.

More recently, Texas Congressman Joe Barton caused a stir when he characterized the shameless showboating of his colleagues during the hearings on the BP oil spill as “a shakedown.” Again, as usual, Democrats feigned outrage, and the media jumped on board. Naturally, his fellow Republicans responded by threatening him with the loss of his position as top Republican on energy policy if he didn’t apologize, and apologize again. In other words, for using the word “shakedown” Barton was subjected to…a shakedown.

In both cases, it would be hard for any objective observer to deny that what these men said was essentially quite accurate. But woe be unto those who dare say what everyone else is already thinking, especially those who inhabit the Beltway.

The latest casualty is General Stanley McChrystal, who had the admittedly bad judgment to let his guard down while talking to the press – a bad move in any case, but criticizing a sitting president to a reporter from a left-leaning rag like “Rolling Stone” is simply beyond the pale. In doing so, the Generall left the President with little wiggle room – so Obama asked for, and got, McChrystal’s resignation.

Were I president, I would likely have been forced to do the same thing. And for those who attempt to justify McChrystal’s actions as an act of “whistle-blowing” it would be wise to remember that the military has a strict code of observing the chain of command. If he had a beef, he should have made it known to the president via that chain, but in private communications.

Besides, if the General were actually so frustrated with the President’s policies that he was genuinely concerned for the safety of his troops, or the success of the mission in Afghanistan, he could done the honorable thing and offered to resign.

All that being said, when you look at these three incidents in the context of the larger issue, it becomes clear that my old acquaintance at the CIA was essentially right – telling the truth in D.C. is tantamount to blasphemy.

And you will be punished if you dare to do so.

John Caile