The Sexing-Up Sickness

One of the British flacks who helped us lie our way through the Iraq war is now trying to claim disability from the stress of telling those lies. (h/t Tom Ricks)

A Ministry of Defence press officer has claimed that being forced to tell lies about the war in Iraq has left him with post-traumatic stress disorder.

John Salisbury-Baker, 62, who spoke for the Armed Forces in the North East, said that he had struggled to cope with a stress-related condition for the past two years. He is based at the Imphal Barracks in York.

He is pursuing a claim for disability discrimination on the grounds that the stress of the job has effectively left him physically disabled.

Mr Salisbury-Baker is expected to tell a tribunal panel later this year that he had to defend the “morally indefensible” when telling the media that army vehicles such as Snatch Land Rovers were capable of withstanding roadside bombs.

I’m sure this guy feels terrible. He should. But he has a really bizarre sense of obligation. I’m sure he was ordered to lie. But that’s slightly different from "having to." It’s just a pretty way of saying "choosing to avoid the repercussions of a moral act." 

A moral act that would have left him far healthier, mentally, I’m guessing.

14 replies
  1. BoxTurtle says:

    I’ll be darned! One of those lyinsonsobitches has a conscience!

    Boxturtle (Granted, not much of one, but still…)

    • scribe says:

      One of those lyinsonsobitches has a conscience!

      They all do, but the problem this particular one is suffering from is that he is too worthless and weak to beat his own conscience senseless and stow it back in that trunk in the corner of his mind where it won’t make noise and screw with his career.

      In short, he’s neither tough enough nor depraved enough nor skilled enough to be called a son-of-a-bitch.

      As to the rest of the liars who sold this war and kept selling it, they all will have their own conscience attacks. They’ll come in the form of wife-beatings, child abuse, extended drunkeness and/or substance abuse, self-destructive behavior and, most likely, late-life insanity. They would do well by themselves to just write the truth down now, and then go jump off a bridge somewhere and spare themselves the pain and us all their whining later. The late-life insanity, they can share with the WWII and Korea vets who get to watch their buddies cut up by machineguns and explosions, or get to relive doing the gunning, cutting and blasting they dealt on the designated enemies. Every day and twice a night.

      I sympathize for the troopers. For the liars who sold the war, I take the share of sympathy that might have been theirs and give it to the troops, who are the liars’ victims as much as anyone else.

  2. JimWhite says:

    What a strange route to take. Pursuing the disability claim without [assumption here on my part, but I don’t recall seeing any “whistleblowing” by this guy] first making a public statement about being forced to lie seems awfully self-centered to me. Where is his apology for his role in the needless deaths? As you suggest, Marcy, such a route undoubtedly would have left him feeling better.

    • LabDancer says:

      I have two theories, one not more or less valid or invalid than the other.

      The first derives from having done some time in the deep minor leagues; not the august standards & elysian fields of the current bottom-dwelling A-ballers, where every little commmunity is trying to market its semi-independent Mudcritters or partially-college-supplied Swampdawgies; worse than even the lowest, lower than a snakes ass-end category in the Branch Rickey-designed & inspired salary-suppression era; but in the deep drudgery of the DIIP leagues: Disability, Injury, Insurance & Pension claims.

      The article references the spokesman/claimant’s life partner – a vital witness in such claims, but hardly independent – characterizing him an “honest, sensitive and moral person”; asserting as a fact that he’s received a diagnosis of PTSD; & citing several factors linking the first two in at least a superficially compelling forensic effort.

      That understates the case: the article turns completely on the take from the “partner”. There’s no indication the reporter sought out the claimant [What are the odds that someone with the name John Salisbury-Baker would be a citizen of the U.K.?] or whoever provided the diagnosis — which makes sense given there’s an impending hearing on the claim, before a “tribunal panel”. But there’s no effort suggested whatsoever of the reporter going out and getting an independent professional view, or an analysis of the context, whether this claim does or does not carry any potential broader significance … jeez louise, we don’t even know the name of the “tribunal”.

      It kind of looks like ace reporter Russell Jenkins could have got the whole story from an evening spent with the ‘partnership’ over some bangers & mash & a bit of spotted dick [or is it a spot of…? I can never keep that straight.], chased down with a couple of Watney’s Red Barrel.

      There’s also no indication of how long our Ms Brooke has been Salisbury-Baker’s partner, is there? Let’s see: 62, a pretty much homeland-based p.r. flack career in an extremely conservative industry; probably needed to live within an hour or so train commute to the City, so likely south in Kent [lovely that; the Garden of England], or west into one of the Exes [Essex, Wessex, Suffex, East Suffex, Suff Wessex, whatever; it’s all quite bucolic & so Country & Garden]; touch of angina, some signs of anxiety [but of course, your dicky ticker doth not necessarily eliminate your tricky dicker]. It gives off the aroma of the latest soul-mate of a recent graduate of the school of late-middle age divorce-related crazies looking to top up her his impending pension in order that the happy couple might continue to reside in Pifflebog Cottage while John remains in good standing with the equalization payments to the ex.

      My theory #2 relies on the ancient institutional wisdom & tolerance of our [well, some of our] ancestral lands:

      • DWBartoo says:

        LD, your comment is in a class entirely of its own.


        Another thing!

        Beyond view!

        Amazing, and thank you.


  3. skdadl says:

    This is a very interesting development. Given the lies he seems to be confessing to, this is a fairly narrow case compared to what we’re normally chewing over, except that the fact of being ordered to lie matters in any case.

    I’m sure that other people who should have known will keep appearing and confessing if any of the major criminal cases goes anywhere.

  4. brendanscalling says:

    poor baby. he’s stressed from the guilt. Poor, poor, poor, poor, poor, poor baby.

    i hope he lives a long long long long time. and I also hope the parents of a dead soldier find out where he lives. Not because i hope they do him violence.

    i would like to see this douche wake up every day to see another grieving mom on his lawn with a picture of her dead child.

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