Article by Howard Zinn • The Progressive • November 1998

In all the excitement about Bill Clinton’s sex scandal, have we as a nation lost a sense of proportion? Clinton has lied to us, deceived us, and then covered up his deceptions about something which, however odious, we did not need to know about and caused no one to lose a life. But there’s a long list of presidents who have lied to us and deceived us, especially since World War II, about activities that we had every right to know, activities in which thousands, even millions, of people lost their lives.

Let’s start with Harry Truman. He deceived the nation and the world when he described Hiroshima—which he had just devasted by atomic bomb—as “an important Japanese Army base.” More than 100,000 civilians—men, women, and children—died in this city of 350,000.

Truman also lied to the nation about our war in Korea, saying we were fighting for democracy (hardly, since South Korea was a military dictatorship). More than 50,000 Americans died there. And perhaps two million Koreans.

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