Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Olbermann's Poetic Smackdown on Rumsfeld

Even by the hideous standards for truth and decency set by the White House of George W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on Monday may have even hit a new low in outright deception and the smearing of the roughly 60 percent of Americans now opposed to the Iraq war.

Rumsfeld launched a vicious and pathetic attack on Monday that was in many ways right out of the playbook of Joseph McCarthy, saying that "… some argue for tossing in the towel, the enemy is waiting and hoping for us to do just that. Early on, I learned from my dad — a veteran of World War II — that if you start quitting things, pretty soon you’ve become a quitter.”

“Surely by now we have learned the lesson that when our country gives our troops a mission, they should have the resources and support to finish the job," Rumsfeld continued. "And surely, we have learned the dangers of giving the enemy the false impression that Americans cannot stomach a tough fight.”

And despite the fact that nobody in Iraq was any threat to our way of life, Rumsfeld kept beating the same old deceptive drum saying "Today we are engaged in conflicts that are again testing whether or not we believe that the defense of liberty is worth the cost.”

So it was so gratifying and amazing on Wednesday night to see the erudite Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Countdown deliver a poetic and in-your-face rebuke to Rumsfeld and the whole Bush cabal who, against all reason, continue to insist that most Americans are wrong and they are right.

Here's some excerpts:
The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.

For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

* * * * *
That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count -- not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emperor's New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

* * * * *
This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.
You can read the entire text of Olbermann's stirring commentary at Olbermann's blog. This video is certainly must-see viewing for every American. But for people who consider themselves opponents of this administration and its downright un-American policies, it will stir your soul. Here's the entire thing -- you'll even want to watch it a seond time.

Dick Cheney uttered much the same deceptive words as Rumsfeld in his own screed to the same convention Monday saying "I realize, as well, that some in our own country claim retreat from Iraq would satisfy the appetite of the terrorists and get them to leave us alone."

Yet Cheney does not specify who among the national opposition in our country has ever made such an assertion -- because nobody did. He made it up. He made it up because he wants to make anyone who opposes this administration's grotesque war policy in Iraq look weak and ineffective.

Whether or not anyone ever actually uttered these sentiments is not really relevant to Cheney. Nor is it relevant to this administration that one of the major criticisms against them from Democratic leaders like Senator Russ Feingold and Congressman John Murtha is that the disastrous sinkhole that is Iraq is at its core a terrible distraction from actually going after Al Qaeda and conducting a true war on terror. Democrats actually do want to make our country safe, while Cheney is content to speak to carefully-selected audiences and smear opponents of his policy with distortions and outright lies.

That's also what Rumsfeld did on Monday and exactly what Olbermann slapped him for. But, hey, Bush and Cheney are Rumsfeld's bosses, so what more can we really expect?