31 August 2006

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty

Keith Olbermann has one shining "Edward R. Murrow" moment, and delivers a great response to a recent blistering attack by Donald Rumsfeld. It was a great piece, but it's about four years too late. Still, it's commendable, and I'm going to reproduce the transcript here:
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.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril—with a growing evil—powerful and remorseless.

That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the “secret information.” It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s -- questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all — it “knew” that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty — and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy.

Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscient ones.

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 Emporer’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?

The confusion we -- as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding.

But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.”

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

A tremendous speech. Bravo!

One irony Olbermann missed was that the Nazis themselves used Rumsfeld's very same arguments and tactics to stifle any opposition to their policies before they became strong enough to just eliminate opponents.

More people will come across this story via the internet than watch MSNBC (even though I believe Olbermann's Countdown is the most popular show on the network), and I'm sure a vicious dittohead, neoconservative sycophant and/or Bush loyalist counterattack will be launched to smear Mr. Olbermann. So if you like the spirit here, even if you disagree with the content, let MSNBC know:

  1. viewerservices@msnbc.com
  2. letters@msnbc.com
  3. countdown@msnbc.com
  4. KOlbermann@msnbc.com
  5. dabrams@msnbc.com


Naum, I love the last few articles you've posted. All merit lengthy discussions and healthy debate.
Unfortunately, my time over the next few months will focus solely on flour mills, waterwheels, and canals.

So please allow me to briefly summarize my opinions of these articles:

I will vote Republican for the congressional races. I need only conjure the words and rhetoric of Pelosi, Dean, Lamont, Biden, Schumer, et al. to make this decision. Unlike the venerable, glib Bruce Jacobs (laugh please), I have no serious problem with Napolitano (or even Goddard coinsidering his success with Colorado City). Aside from a few political maneuvers (no surprise, Napolitano is a politician), she's done nothing to warrant voting for Munsil (I applaud his unwavering views, but he'd polarize and paralyze government processes). And don't you think it interesting that hannity is publicly supporting Liebernman, and not the GOP candidate for Connecticut? I surely do.

Olbermann is once again wrong and off-base. I don't have an issue with his criticism of Rumsfeld, but quoting historical events to support his thesis is frankly equally blasphemous to O'Reilly's ignorance (you continued to accuse me of defending O'Reilly, when I was trying to say that O'Reilly was as stupid as any other commentator who misquotes the historical record). A better "vicious, sycophant" site that focuses solely on Olberman: http://www.olbermannwatch.com/

It's interesting that "fascist" has come under proprietorship of liberal dialogue. When conservatives adopt "islamofascist" in their rhetoric, the dictionary defintion is read to expose its erroneous and exagerrated use. Lefties like Olberman and Indys (yourself, Naum)-then casually reflect how our country is falling into the great abyss of a Fascist state, negating dictionary defs and real historical record.
Fascism, Fuhrer, Regime, Nazis.....the liberals have misused and misconstrued these connotations, just as they have completely destroyed the historical significance and record of "imperialism".

While I can see the point that comparing the radical thought of Islamism to Fascism is by and large apples to oranges, it's even more so with our Democratic Republic.
Here is an interesting letter by Muslim and non-Muslim academes regarding abuses in Europe. Notice how they use "totalitarianism" to describe the hijacking of their religion by radical dickweeds:

A few alternatives perhaps: Islamodespot, Islamocaliph-wannabee, Islamoshitwad...
Have a great weekend everyone.