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   submitted by: Jeff Barbour
   email:barbour@theformationquest.org 

Lies, expediency—political ends and means?
Jeff quotes Dana who said:
"By these same and equally applied standards, such former U.S. presidents as Johnson (the Gulf of Tonkin,) Nixon (Watergate) and Reagan (Iran-contra) likely should have been removed!"

The guest thinker's position and argument:
Jeff asks, "Assume FDR knew the Japanese were planning to attack Pearl Harbor and chose not to take the nominatively correct measure of "calling them on it" or even "alerting the inhabitants".  Would you say that he had violated the social contract in failing to do so?  Even if his motives were much more global and far-reaching by allowing the attack to occur and mobilizing the country vis-a-vis the power grab of the axis forces?"
The Moral Applications Formationally....
Jeff's question includes a "hyothetical," one which U.S. presidents (e.g. Bush in discussing the Gulf War) often pass on if it's convenient to their purposes. I won't,  and they've no moral justification to do so either.
A hypothetical Roosevelt's motives for withholding political information standardizes similarly. Every president morally is custodally empowered by the people he represents and owes it to them to disclose completely what he knows. The end does not justify the means. It is a means  itself- either his own as an unethical ruler as a person or ethically as disclosed in the formative first instance. As disclosed, he and we would include equally to be within the moral rule truly of law and not men.
As to "alerting the inhabitants," those at Pearl Harbor would have provided no exception because, though Hawaii then wasn't a recognized "state," its inhabitants even conceptually were under U.S. authority and control. .
As to "calling them [the Japanese government] on it," I only can infer this means that Roosevelt might have taken immediate, direct steps to try to prevent the attack. The obvious, standardized answer is "yes," but there's much more involved in it than that glib affirmation alone can sustain. Suffice it to say that the rest is beyond our immediate scope here and that its essence goes to the U.S. not having a moral social contract in the first formative instance.
In summary, a political custodian's withholding of information is tantamount to a lie. Both violate the contract he or she morally has as granted by the people if the people- from the "grass roots" also would be moral themselves. All supposed exceptions to and qualifications of this standard themselves but evidence our derelictions through an ilicit moral relativism which ironically permits our rulers as persons to become standardized "dictators" by whatever degree, as again in that first formative instance.
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Last modified on July 25, 1999