FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The General Lied

Talk about a bunch of whiners.  We live in a country run by a consummate liar whose most egregious lies have resulted in (a) the deaths of more than 4000 American servicemen and women, (b) the infliction of  life altering wounds on more than 20,000 servicemen and women, and (c) millions of people in a far-off land becoming homeless and refugees in foreign countries. We live in a country where a general of the Army whose first concern should be the welfare of his troops, lies to Congress about the quality of water supplied to troops working in the far off land that the consummate liar has done much to destroy.   This is a general to whose command the welfare of those he commanded was entrusted. And we whine about a plagiarist.

Early in July it was disclosed by Senator Byron Dorgan that General Jerome Johnson misled (a Washington euphemism for lying) Congress in April 2007 when he testified that there were no problems with water supplied to American troops by KBR, described as the largest defense contractor in Iraq.

According to a report in the New York Times, beginning in 2006 whistleblowers let Congress know that there were problems with the nonpotable water KBR supplied the troops. The Pentagon’s inspector general confirmed that KBR had not provided safe nonpotable water for hygiene uses at several Iraq bases.  The Pentagon learned of this in a communication from the inspector general on March 31, 2007.  Three weeks later General Johnson testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that problems with the water supplied by KBR were not widespread.  It was a minor breach of trust by the general.  When your commander-in-chief is a man whose lies have ruined millions of lives, a drop or two of bad water is hardly anything to get excited about.  Nor is a bit of plagiarism even when the plagiarist has been nominated to a Federal District Court judgeship.

Michael E. O’Neill, a former to aide to Senator Specter is law professor at George Mason University.  He is considered a fine legal scholar who has had a brilliant career and is clearly of the sort of cloth from which federal judges are cut. There is only one flaw in the fabric and it would not even be noticeable if some journalist from the New York Times had not only discovered it but then seen fit to hold the fabric up for all to see.  Alan Liptak is the journalist. He discovered that Mr. O’Neill has plagiarized on more than one occasion.  One of several occasions of plagiarism involved an article he wrote in 2004 for the Supreme Court Economic Review, a journal published by the George Mason School of Law.

The purloined passage dealt with something called “bounded rationality” which, according to Mr. O’Nell “is not a refutation of the rational actor model,” quoting word for word from a book review published in 2000 in the Virginia Law Review.  Explaining the copying Mr. O’Neill said it was a result of a “poor work method.” “I didn’t keep track of things.  I frankly did a poor and negligent job.”  He got that right. In 2007 the Review issued a retraction of the article.

The White House is unperturbed by a bit of plagiarism sanctioning as it has, lying to create foreign policy. Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman said Mr. O’Neill had been completely forthcoming” and had “expressed remorse for his actions. ” She also said that the background searches the White House conducts are “very thorough” and “would capture issues such as this one.”  It is hardly surprising that an administration that routinely lies would be unperturbed by a bit of plagiarism and would consider confession of misconduct adequate to remove the stain from a reputation. Not everyone agrees with the White House.

Deborah Rhode who teaches legal ethics at Stanford described the retraction of the article in the Review  as “extremely unusual” and said the plagiarism was a “textbook case of conduct that casts doubt on someone’s fitness for judicial office.”  Mr. O’Neill, in  contrast,  said the 2004 plagiarism was “fairly insignificant” and asked whether it was “something to kill someone’s career for?”  One answer was given by Daniel Polsby, the dean of the law school. He  said as a consequence of the plagiarism Mr. O’Neill “stepped away from tenure and will reapply for it.”  That may not be necessary. Mr. O’Neill, answering his own question has refused to withdraw his nomination for a federal judgeship and if an unethical administration has its way, Mr. O’Neill will have life tenure as a federal judge.  That’s much better than humbly applying for restoration of a privilege lost through misconduct held up for all the world to see.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer living in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at:  Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

February 21, 2019
Nick Pemberton
Israel, Venezuela and Nationalism In The Neoliberal Era
Chris Orlet
The Bill and Melinda Gates’ Fair Taxation Scaremongering Tour
Bruce E. Levine
“Heavy Drinking” and the NYT’s Offensive Obit on Herbert Fingarette
Lisi Krall
This Historical Moment Demands Transformation of Our Institutions. The Green New Deal Won’t Do That
Stephanie Savell
Mapping the American War on Terror: Now in 80 Countries
Daniel Warner
New York, New York: a Resounding Victory for New York Over Amazon
Russell Mokhiber
With Monsanto and Glyphosate on the Run AAAS Revokes Award to Scientists Whose Studies Led to Ban on Weedkiller in Sri Lanka and Other Countries
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Fake National Emergency Moves America Closer to an Autocracy
Alex Campbell
Tracing the Threads in Venezuela: Humanitarian Aid
Jonah Raskin
Mitchel Cohen Takes on Global and Local Goliaths: Profile of a Lifelong Multi-Movement Organizer
Binoy Kampmark
Size Matters: the Demise of the Airbus A380
February 20, 2019
Anthony DiMaggio
Withdrawal Pains and Syrian Civil War: An Analysis of U.S. Media Discourse
Charles Pierson
When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb
Doug Johnson Hatlem
“Electability” is Real (Unless Married with the Junk Science of Ideological Spectrum Analysis)
Kenneth Surin
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Another Boondoggle in Virginia
John Feffer
The Psychology of the Wall
Dean Baker
Modern Monetary Theory and Taxing the Rich
Russell Mokhiber
Citizens Arrested Calling Out Manchin on Rockwool
George Ochenski
Unconstitutional Power Grabs
Michael T. Klare
War With China? It’s Already Under Way
Thomas Knapp
The Real Emergency Isn’t About the Wall, It’s About the Separation of Powers
Manuel García, Jr.
Two Worlds
Daniel Warner
The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize Winners Contrast with Australia’s Policies against Human Dignity
Norman Solomon
What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives
Dan Corjescu
2020 Vision: A Strategy of Courage
Matthew Johnson
Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him?
William A. Cohn
Something New and Something Old: a Story Still Being Told
Bill Martin
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail