First Look at ‘Why Leaders Lie:The Truth about Lying in International Politics’By
Mearshimer notes several lies the Bush administration told the public. First, that Rumsfeld said there was evidence Saddam Hussein was allied with Osama Bin Laden. Second, that the U.S told the world Iraq had WMDs. Third, that Bush claimed war with Iraq was a last option. According to Mearsheimer, going to the UN in September 2002 was only a diplomatic cover.
Mearsheimer makes an interesting point about why politicians sometimes resort to fearmongering and lies. He notes that countries “might be prone to paralysis and thus unable to respond in a timely manner to a serious threat” and “Leaders will have powerful incentives to fearmonger when the governmental machinery is sclertoic, because rousing the people might be the only way to force the political system into action” (57).
Mearsheimer says that the situation surrounding the Iraq war reinforces his central claim. Leaders are more likely to lie to their own countries than to other states. Mearsheimer is thus unsurprised that Saddam Hussein didn’t lie to other countries about possessing WMD’s and that the Bush administration did lie to the American public.
Although only a few excerpts of the book are available it looks like a book to watch out for in the new year.