In his 464-page book When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences, noted historian, journalist and best-selling author Eric Alterman writes that presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, President George Bush senior and his son George Bush junior had all lied to the American public during their respective tenures at the Oval Office.
Eric Alterman s widely-read political web blog named Altercation was hosted by MSNBC.com from 2002 until 2006.
This book, published in September 23, 2004, offers a fascinating reading on how various US presidents have been lying at will to their own people on vital international matters.
About President Franklin Roosevelt s lies, the writer of this above-mentioned book thinks the nature of the Yalta accords of 1945, had created a matrix for a half-century of anti-Soviet paranoia.
The Yalta Conference, also called the Crimea Conference (code-named The Argonaut Conference ) was held between February 4 and 11, 1945 to discuss Europe s post-war reorganization.
It was the war-time meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Secretary Joseph Stalin respectively.
About John F. Kennedy, author Alterman argues, the President lied about the compromise that settled the Cuban missile crisis and kept the Cold War alive by humiliating the USSR.
The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States during the Cold War. In August 1962, after some unsuccessful operations by the US to overthrow the Cuban regime, Fidel Castro s government and Soviet governments had secretly begun to build bases in Cuba for nuclear missiles with the ability to strike most of the United States.
The confrontation had ended on October 28, 1962, when President John F. Kennedy and the then United Nations Secretary-General had reached a public and secret agreement with the then USSR leader, Khrushchev.
It was agreed that publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union in exchange for a US public declaration never to invade Cuba. As history reveals, the Kennedy regime had secretly agreed that it would dismantle all US-built mobile missiles deployed in Europe and Turkey.
According to Eric Alterman, President Lyndon Johnson had lied about the second Tonkin Gulf incident and had moved the US down a slippery slope that destroyed his hopes of creating a Great Society.
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident had involved North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. On August 2, 1964, an American ship was engaged by three North Vietnamese Navy boats in a sea battle. One US aircraft and three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were resultantly damaged. Four North Vietnamese sailors were killed in this battle, though no US casualty was reported.
The second Tonkin Gulf incident was originally claimed by the US National Security Agency to have occurred on August 4, 1964. While Americans claimed this incident had taken place, the North Vietnamese had denied it vehemently.
The outcome of these two incidents was the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution by the US Congress, which had granted President Lyndon Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by communist aggression.
The resolution had in fact served as President Johnson s legal justification for the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.
In 2005, an internal US National Security Agency historical study was declassified.
The study had revealed that the American ship had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, though there may not have been any North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the incident of August 4, 1964.
The writer had also blamed President Johnson for not telling the truth about the American invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965-66 under the pretext of saving American lives.
While the author had shed light on President Richard Nixon s lies and deceit during the Watergate Scandal during 1972-74, an incident that had led to his shameful demise from power, he had stated in his book under review that President Ronald Reagan too had been untruthful to his nation about the attack he had ordered on Grenada in 1983.
On October 25, 1983, Reagan had ordered US forces to invade Grenada (code named Operation Urgent Fury), where a 1979 coup had established an independent Marxist-Leninist government.
Reagan had cited an allegedly regional threat posed by a Soviet-Cuban military build-up in the Caribbean and concern for the safety of several hundred American medical students at St. George s University as adequate reasons to invade.
Operation Urgent Fury was the first major military operation conducted by US forces since the Vietnam War.
Writer Alterman had also condemned President Reagan for his policies in Central America, viewing the US strategy had created a secret and illegal foreign policy that resulted in the murder of tens of thousands of innocent people.
President George Bush senior has been accused by Eric Alterman of lying during the Iran Contra affair of 1986-87 and the 1989 invasion of Panama.
The Iran-Contra affair was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior US administration officials and the president himself had secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran. (Reference: The National Security Archive Electronic Briefing posted on its website on November 24, 2006)
Some US officials had actually hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages. Later, under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.
The United States Invasion of Panama (code-named Operation Just Cause) was the invasion of Panama by the United States in December 1989.
The reasons given for the invasion by President George Bush senior had included the safeguarding the lives of US citizens in Panama, defending democracy and human rights in the country and combating drug trafficking. (Reference: The New York Times of December 21, 1989)