Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Max Boot: lie to the American people — it is good for them!

I’m puzzled by Max Boot. He is usually a very good military commentator, but I was taken aback by his argument that lying about Pat Tillman’s death was the right thing to do: “Personally I would give Tillman’s commanders a medal — not a dressing down — for trying to prettify this typically terrible incident ...

585427_090601_tillman2.jpg
585427_090601_tillman2.jpg

I'm puzzled by Max Boot. He is usually a very good military commentator, but I was taken aback by his argument that lying about Pat Tillman's death was the right thing to do:

"Personally I would give Tillman's commanders a medal -- not a dressing down -- for trying to prettify this typically terrible incident that occurred in the fog of war."

I’m puzzled by Max Boot. He is usually a very good military commentator, but I was taken aback by his argument that lying about Pat Tillman’s death was the right thing to do:

“Personally I would give Tillman’s commanders a medal — not a dressing down — for trying to prettify this typically terrible incident that occurred in the fog of war.”

I don’t think this is a good idea. First, once you start fiddling with the facts, where do you stop? It is hard enough to know what is going on in a war without people being encouraged to lie. (I think of the old infantry test: You need to trust that when you send out a patrol to check out a possible machine gun emplacement 1,000 meters ahead that they actually check it out, instead of walking out 500 meters and turning around.) Also, I think people who have made the ultimate sacrifice of losing a child in a war really deserve to know the truth.

rscottjones/Flickr

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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