Skip to main content

The Violence of Lying

  • Chapter
  • 129 Accesses

Abstract

It was 1971 when Hannah Arendt first published in the New York Review of Books her essay “Lying in Politics: Reflections on the Pentagon Papers” (Arendt, in Arendt 1972, 3–47). The essay commented on the recent publication of the forty-seven-volume “History of U.S. Decision Making Process on Vietnam Policy” (commissioned by Secretary of State Robert S. McNamara in June 1967 and completed a year and a half later). The scandal at the core of the publication of this report had to do with the fact that it was not meant to be published, at least not in the way that the New York Times (NYT) got hold of it. The above report became widely known as the Pentagon Papers and was, in fact, a “top-secret, richly documented record of the American role in Indochina from World War II to May 1968” (Arendt 1972, 3). The embarrassment of the Nixon administration—which, shortly thereafter, had to deal with another, more infamous scandal—in receiving the news that the public had become informed of the years of lies and deception in Vietnam was observable in its futile attempt to silence Daniel Ellsberg (the Pentagon “expert” and member of the Rand Corporation who was responsible for leaking the report to the New York Times). The NYT scoop of the Pentagon Papers preceded the Washington Post revelations on the Watergate Building infraction, with the consequences that we are all familiar with.

Keywords

  • Public Opinion
  • Political Reality
  • Totalitarian Regime
  • Fictitious Entity
  • Nixon Administration

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230614130_12
  • Chapter length: 17 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-0-230-61413-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   89.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  • Arendt, Hannah. 1982. Lectures on Kant’s political philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. 1972. Crises of the republic. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & Jovanovich.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. 1972. Lying in politics: Reflections on the Pentagon Papers. Revised and extended version in Crises of the republic, by Hannah Arendt, 3–47. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & Jovanovich.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. 1968. Between past and future: Eight exercises in political thought. New York: Viking.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. 1951/1966. The origins of totalitarianism. 3rd ed. New York: Harcourt Brace.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. 1958. The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Butler, Judith. 2004. Precarious life. The powers of mourning and violence. London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  • Butler, Judith, and Adriana Cavarero. 2005. Condizione umana contro “natura.” Micromega 9: 25–35.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dean, Jodi. 2005. Evil’s political habitat. Redescriptions 9: 51–79.

    Google Scholar 

  • Disch, Lisa Jane. 1994. Hannah Arendt and the limits of philosophy. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Guaraldo, Olivia. 2001. Storylines. Politics, history and narrative from an Arendtian perspective. Jyväskylä: SoPhi Academic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. n.d. Disobedient state and faithful citizen: Re-locating politics in the age of globalization. In The Ashgate research companion to democratisation in Europe (Politics, concepts and histories), ed. K. Palonen, T. Pulkkinen, and J. M. Rosales. London: Ashgate.

    Google Scholar 

  • Klein, Naomi. 2004. The year of the fake. Nation, January 26, http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040126/klein.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mann, Bonnie. 2006. How America justifies its war: A modern/postmodern aesthetics of masculinity and sovereignty. Hypathia 21 (4): 147–63.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mueller, John. 2005. The Iraqi syndrome. Foreign Affairs (November/December): 44–54.

    Google Scholar 

  • Salter, Lee. 2005. Problems of politics, media and truth: The BBC’s representation of the invasion of Iraq. Paper presented at the symposium Truth, Representation, Politics, May 25–27, University of Verona, Italy.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2008 Matti Hyvärinen and Lisa Muszynski

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Guaraldo, O. (2008). The Violence of Lying. In: Hyvärinen, M., Muszynski, L. (eds) Terror and the Arts. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230614130_12

Download citation