From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Whispering noble lies in the ear of King George

July 27, 2003 5:50 PM

Abram Shulsky is the director of the Office of Special Plans, Rumsfeld's special group that "cherry picked" intelligence to support the Administration's push to invade Iraq. He was a student of Leo Strauss (as was Wolfowitz, and several other neo-cons in the White House) who was "widely known for his argument that the works of ancient philosophers contain deliberately concealed esoteric meanings whose truths can be comprehended only by a very few, and would be misunderstood by the masses."

Seymour Hersh dug up some interesting quotes on Strauss in his New Yorker piece on the OSP that help shed some light on Bush's inner circle.

Robert Pippin, the chairman of the Committee on Social Thought at Chicago:


Strauss believed that good statesmen have powers of judgment and must rely on an inner circle. The person who whispers in the ear of the King is more important than the King. If you have that talent, what you do or say in public cannot be held accountable in the same way.

Stephen Holmes, a law professor at New York University:

They believe that your enemy is deceiving you, and you have to pretend to agree, but secretly you follow your own views. The whole story is complicated by Strauss’s idea - actually Plato’s - that philosophers need to tell noble lies not only to the people at large but also to powerful politicians.

More from the archive in Imperialism, Lies and Deceit, Neocons.

Whispering noble lies in the ear of King George (07.27.2003)

Next Entry: Stupid is as Stupid Does (07.29.2003)
Previous Entry: Max Cleland comes out swinging! (07.26.2003)

Read the 3 comments.

Paul in OC:

These are the ones who guaranteed we'd find WMD's in Iraq and be welcomed with open arms. I vacillate between thinking they're idiots and thinking they're brilliant, sick, and twisted men. Sounds like you're making a case for the latter.

Mon Jul 28 2003 10:28 AM


Jim Gilliam:

They thought it would be easy, because they were drinking Chalabi's kool aid. Not because they were stupid, but because they wanted to believe him. Many fall into this trap. Intellectually they had convinced themselves long ago that Saddam had to go, and then Chalabi gave them the "proof" they needed to convince everyone else of the same.

Mon Jul 28 2003 10:44 AM


Paul in OC:

I believe you are right.

I wonder what Chalabi thinks about how things are turning out. I would imagine he is a bit disappointed.

Mon Jul 28 2003 10:14 PM


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