Lincoln quote a fake Posted by: mcq
on Wednesday, February 14, 2007
There's a quote that's been floating around the blogosphere for a couple of days which, when I first saw it, just didn't quite seem right to me. Apparently it isn't. Attributed to Abe Lincoln, the quote is:
"Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged."
This quote is the creation of J. Michael Waller for an article that he wrote for Insight magazine (Dec. 23, 2003) and was repeated by Diana Irey in her unsuccessful campaign against Rep. John Murtha, a critic of the Iraq War. The "Lincoln quote" was picked up by the media and repeated thousands of times on the Internet. Waller, in a response to factcheck.org, claimed that he did not intend it to be a quote at all but a copy editor mistakenly put quotations around it. The quote does not even have face validity; Lincoln vigorously opposed the Mexican War during his one term as a U.S. Congressman.
Note the point made in the explanation. It was "picked up by the media and repeated thousands of times on the Internet." Of course it's not the first time we've seen this ... nor, given their track record and method of doing business, will it be the last.
The latest media outlet to fall victim to the hoax was the Washington Times via Frank Gaffney.
How hard, Mr. Gaffney, would it have been to vet the quote?
Oh editors?! Editors?! Where, oh where, are those 3 layers of editors when you need them?
Well, still, The idea seems appropriate. For example, we could quote Cicero, who seems to agree with the quote in question.... (All that study of ancient history does actually get used, now and again...)
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”
I think Lincoln’s deeds spoke more than those words.
In the words of historian James G. Randall: "No president has carried the power of presidential edict and executive order (independently of Congress) so far as [Lincoln] did.... It would not be easy to state what Lincoln conceived to be the limit of his powers."5
In the 80 days that elapsed between Abraham Lincoln’s April 1861 call for troops—the beginning of the Civil War—and the official convening of Congress in special session on July 4, 1861, Lincoln performed a whole series of important acts by sheer assumption of presidential power. Lincoln, without congressional approval, called forth the militia to "suppress said combinations,"6 which he ordered "to disperse and retire peacefully" to their homes.7 He increased the size of the Army and Navy, expended funds for the purchase of weapons, instituted a blockade—an act of war—and suspended the precious writ of habeas corpus, all without congressional approval.
I love the little ’winkie’ there at the end of that ill-conceived sentence there. So is fascism cute or something? Ya think Hitler wrote stuff like: ...And kill all the Jooos and burn their bodies, then throw the ashes into the Rhine and then piss on the ashes;)
VOTE REPUBLIKAN. VOTE FOR MURDER, THEFT, AVARICE AND GREED.
Oh, no, Avarice and Greed are the same. I got gypped! Can I trade GREED in for FREE OIL?
Misdirection,McQ? You speak of the quote but not the content of Gaffney’s article. I must assume then that you support Mr.Gaffney’s twisted view of subservience to the people in government.
Are you calling for the hanging of people for objecting and opposing the government’s war policy?
Speak plainly, sir, that we may know your true colors.
The article said: "Scarcely anyone seems to consider the conduct of the Congress inappropriate, to say nothing of a hanging offense." I remember thousands of people in print objecting to Congress’ action for the past five years as it rubber-stamped all Republican Party positions.
IF hanging is deserved for treasonous behavior, then I say it is the treason to the Constitution, and not to the man who is President, that should be considered for hanging.
On September 24, 1862, Lincoln issued a proclamation aimed at those who were giving comfort to the enemy.
"Now, therefore, be it ordered," Lincoln wrote,
first, that during the existing insurrection, and as a necessary measure for suppressing the same, all rebels and insurgents, their aiders, and abettors, within the United States, and all persons discouraging the volunteer enlistments, resisting military drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practices affording aid and comfort to the rebels against the authority of the United States, shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment by courts martials and military commissions; second, that the writ of habeas corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now or hereafter during the rebellion shall be imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prison, or other place of confinement by military authority or by the sentence of any court-martial or military commission.
You speak of the quote but not the content of Gaffney’s article. I must assume then that you support Mr.Gaffney’s twisted view of subservience to the people in government.
You can assume whatever you wish but the article is entitled "Lincoln Quote a Fake" and it specifically talks about the quote and chastises the media, once again, for failing in a job it says it does best. It’s even in the "media" category.
Make no mistake on what I’m saying, here...I do agree that it seems reasonable to assume the quote was fabricated, as were the TANG documents you alude to. In both cases, it seems to me a black mark, on both the originators of the fake, and on those reporting it.
There’s a major difference, however, between the expression of ideas, and the truthful reporting or falsification of fact. We’re talking about the difference of ideas and public discourse versus what would have amounted to a criminal proceeding had the fake not been outted as such.
I’m simply suggesting that if we take at face value the statement, and ignore the attribution, the idea expressed in the quote, however generated, may have some merit, particularly given the actual historical reference I added.
Look at it this way; The idea that GWB shorted his country on his ANG commitment, falls on it’s face, if we assume that the document was faked. The concept being expressed in that faked document is proven false by everything else we know. There’s nothing else, save that faked document, to confirm the idea that Bush had so shorted the commitment. End of story.
OTOH, even assuming the Lincoln quote is faked, the concept, the idea being imparted by what is said in it, cannot be quite so easily dismissed given the agreements of even older history.... one of which I posted.
Uh, well if you mean the "media" doing business meaning the Washington Times then you’d be correct as Insight Magazine is a Washington Times publication. So basically the same outfit saw fit to print the same false quote. So they (Washington Times)didn’t pick it up on the internet, they (Washington Times)just pulled out of the files, the same ol’ line of crap that was already discredited.
I view the Lincoln thing as false credibility reinforcement to an idea that didn’t need it.
Let me give you an example, just off the top of my bean, of the line I’m drawing.. I have a fresh cup of coffee to hand, at the moment, so...
I fake a quote of you, saying "Damn, they serve great coffee where Bithead works"
The link to you is certainly untrue. But does that, of itself, make the concept that they serve great coffee, also untrue?
No, it doesn’t. That the quote was misattributed doesn’t logically alter the validity of the statement, either way. That point would need to be investigated seperately. As an example, drinking some of it.
With that in mind, we come back to the question of the TANG documents as you mentioned. That the press and the liberals (A redundancy) tried to push the concept of Bush cheating on his ANG commitment with falsified documents, doesnt disprove the statement that he did.(Though, granted, it does lend some suspicion...) What is stronger evdience in that case is ....well.... the lack of evdience attached to all the other investigations of the charge.
In looking over this, it occurs to me that I should have focused more tightly on your question; my apologies, I had several things going at the time.
What else is the fabrication and false attribution of a quote but an attempt at to present a false idea?
It is certainly that. However; WHICH idea?
Let’s consider the idea that offering up a quote, and attributing it to somebody, attempts to impart not one idea, but two ideas, each quite separate from the other. The first, being the content of the "quote", and the second being that the person who is attributed, said it.
In this case, it seems clear that somebody put forward an idea... the ’quote’... and decided, for whatever misguided reason to attribute it to a historical figure. Most logically, the reason would be to give the idea additional credibility. Which, it appears to have done, given the number of times that contribution has been posted on the net, and in the mainstream media. Such miss attributions, do tend to get by all too often, simply because people don’t do the homework.
The attribution has been disproved. That having been done, however, does not disprove the idea contained in the passage, which is a separate idea. It may or may not be false, and needs be investigated by other means.