The "you hate America" defense

Lie, cheat and steal ... as long as you love your country.


Michael Scherer
March 30, 2006 7:37PM (UTC)

As he crashed and burned last week, the momentary Washington Post blogger Ben Domenech gave a halfhearted pseudo apology for the plagiarism that had occurred under his byline. Then he dropped this zinger:

"To my enemies: I take enormous solace in the fact that you spent this week bashing me, instead of America."

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Yesterday, Howard Kaloogian, the Republican candidate for Duke Cunningham's disgraced seat in Congress, admitted to posting a picture of Istanbul that he falsely claimed showed Baghdad as a peaceful place where love birds freely walk the streets holding hands. Then he channeled Domenech:

"I will not apologize for supporting the mission of our troops I will not allow Francine Busby [his Democratic opponent], her 'Blame America First' friends, and the anti-military contingent to undermine America's support for our military men and women and their mission in Iraq."

So much for a new era of "personal responsibility." What we see here is a new era of the "you hate America" defense. I see it spreading like flames across an American flag.

Next week, San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds will come clean on his years of shooting, creaming and popping steroids. Then he will announce: "To all my critics, I take solace in the fact that you could not spit on soldiers while you booed me at the plate."

A month later, former Enron CEO Ken Lay will be found guilty of conspiracy and fraud in the collapse of his former company. At his sentencing hearing he will address the judge: "Your honor, as you weigh my punishment, I ask that you consider the fact that the jurors, because of this trial, were not able to attend Dixie Chicks concerts or plant IEDs in Iraq."

And the judge, if he loves his country, will let Lay walk.

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Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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