Keith Olbermann Delivers One Hell Of A Commentary On Rumsfeld

Keith had some very choice words about Rumsfeld's "fascism" comments tonight. Watch it, save it and share it. [media id=3716]- WMV [media

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Keith had some very choice words about Rumsfeld's "fascism" comments tonight. Watch it, save it and share it.

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Olbermann delivered this commentary with fire and passion while highlighting how Rumsfeld's comments echoes other times in our world's history when anyone who questioned the administration was coined as a traitor, unpatriotic, communist or any other colorful term. Luckily we pulled out of those times and we will pull out of these times.

Remember - Rumsfeld did not just call the Democrats out yesterday, he called out a majority of this country. This wasn't only a partisan attack, but more so an attack against the majority of Americans.

The transcript of Keith's comments tonight is available below the fold.

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.

We end the countdown where we began, our #1 story.

with a special comment on

Mr. Rumsfeld's remarkable speech to the American Legion

yesterday. It 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.


↓ Story continues below ↓

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 to

England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all

treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it had received, which

contradicted it's own policies, it's own conclusions - it's 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

- had 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 flu vaccine shortages, to the entire "Fog of Fear" which continues to envelope 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.

--

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble

tribute... I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist

Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could

come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of

us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew

everything, and branded those who disagreed, "confused" or "immoral."

Thus forgive me for reading Murrow in full:

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," he said, in 1954.

"We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction

depends upon evidence and due process of law.

We will not walk in fear - one, of another. We will not be

driven by fear into an age of un-reason, if we dig deep in our history

and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men;

Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to

defend causes that were - for the moment - unpopular."

And so, good night, and good luck.

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