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The Great Pretenders of the USA
September 8, 2000

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Colin Powell recently gave a speech on the subject of military preparedness. He evoked a phrase that so aptly and succinctly describes what has been occurring in the Clinton/Gore administration over the past several years. Many have tried to pinpoint the administration's secret strategy but Powell has nailed it right on the head.

General Powell spoke of those current White House reps who pretend that our military readiness is fine, even the "best we've ever seen." He points out that the administration wants to pretend that our aircraft operations are at an acceptable level, that junior officers are not leaving at an alarming rate, and that we do not have the highest attrition rate of officers we've seen in decades.

But what the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may or may not have realized is that with great clarity he has summarized not only the administration's attitude toward the military, but he has managed to identify its entire governing approach. The Clinton administration has been engaged in a serious, long-running game of "let's pretend."

Here's how it has worked. The Clinton/Gore administration, in essence, has said.

  • let's pretend that our schools are safe and our kids are learning.
  • let's pretend that crime is down, that guns shoot people, and that violence on T.V. and in movies doesn't really influence behavior.
  • let's pretend that national security remains a top priority, that no nuclear missiles are pointed at the U.S., and that the communist Chinese are our friends.
  • let's pretend that a baby is not a baby before it is born.
  • let's pretend that the era of big government is over, that government is responsible for good economic times, and that people don't mind being overtaxed.
  • let's pretend that the most qualified people get cabinet positions.
  • let's pretend that volunteers get paid.
  • let's pretend that people lie to their diaries, that documents magically appear after long absences, and that memories are sharp until questioned under oath.
  • let's pretend that no one actually hires aides and no one really fires entire offices of workers.
  • let's pretend that the IRS isn't targeting enemies of the administration and that the theft of FBI files is just a bureaucratic snafu.
  • let's pretend that carrying a Bible means you're very religious and holding hands means you believe in the sanctity of marriage.
  • let's pretend that words mean whatever we want them to.

The examples are endless but the truth is that a game of pretense can be quite dangerous. What toll has this counterfeit contest had on our sovereignty, our moral identity, our economic stability or our national security?

Most likely, we will not know the price we have paid until we are faced with a bona fide crisis. One thing for certain, the most dangerous game of all is for our nation to continue to play let's pretend for a few more rounds and convince ourselves we won't suffer the biggest loss of all. Freedom.

Reproduced with the permission of . All rights reserved

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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