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Olbermann’s Great Moment

by Pamela Leavey

I heard a little buzz about Olbermann’s great moment in TV history late last night, but had not found the time to go watch the video. Stuart O’Neill of Political Dogfight emailed me a while ago to let me know he had the video and transcript up on his blog. I watched the video a short time ago, and took some time to digest it. It’s stuff like this that makes me proud to be an American.

In a post here last night, I noted that the Bush administration is on full assault against the Democrats in preparation for the mid-term elections. Keith Olbermann’s brilliant commentary last night was about Rumsfeld’s speech to the American Legion on Tuesday. Rumsfeld’s speech has certainly drawn the ire of many including our own Virginia Cotts who nailed Rummy on his hypocrisy here.

It bears noting that few in the media have had the courage or the audacity to stand up to the Bush administration in the past 5 years. Keith Olbermann’s stand last night was nothing short of brilliant and masterful. It brought tears to my eyes, put a lump in my throat and yes, made me proud to be an American.

An American not afraid to stand up and speak the truth. An American not willing to buy into fearmongering and empty promises. A proud liberal who stands on the principle that dissent is patriotic and it is right and just to question our government when our government takes us down the wrong path. Olbermann’s commentary took me back a few months to John Kerry’s speech at Faneuil Hall on ‘Dissent‘ when he said:

I believe now as strongly and proudly as I did thirty-five years ago that the most important way to support the troops is to tell the truth, and to ensure we do not ask young Americans to die in a cause that falls short of the ideals of this country.

When we protested the war in Vietnam some would weigh in against us saying: “My country right or wrong.” Our response was simple: “Yes, my country right or wrong. When right, keep it right and when wrong, make it right.” And that’s what we must do again today.

Go watch the video on Stuart’s ‘Political Interviews‘ and read the transcript. Then, please take the time to write MSNBC and let them know you stand with Olbermann in his defense of America. Stuart has all the contact info and some suggestions about emails here.

America needs more journalists like Keith Olbermann and less who “allow them [the GOP] to be able to try to transform failure into an offensive policy to suggest that someone is weak because they have an alternative that works.

13 Responses to “Olbermann’s Great Moment”

  1. Yes! The great and true Americans are those of us–like Keith Olbermann–who love this country and who admire our Constitution and who worry everyday how everything we believe in is being trashed.

  2. Janet

    Wasn’t that amazing. My goodness I love Olbermann!

  3. Keith O is the man!!

  4. I can’t follow Olbermain’s logic in the least. I had to re-read it again and again to understand even what he was implying. I’m still not clear to me.

    Is he saying that Rumsfeld is like Chamberlain because he denied that there was a “threat”? Or that Rumsfeld is like Chamberlain because he believes our enemy is “re-arming”? Or that Rumsfeld is accusing the war opposition of being “blood-thirsty” like Chamberlain?

    As to the fact that this is “barely” a Democracy? Can he cite any examples? Can he show anyone who has been denied their democratic rights?

    And how have these “Omniscient ones” benefited? Personally (examples?)? Politically (examples)?

    Did Olbermain actually quote or respond to ANYTHING that Rummy said?

    Here are the relevant parts of Rummy’s speech:

    We need to consider the following questions, I would submit:

    * With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?
    * Can folks really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?
    * Can we afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply law enforcement problems, like robbing a bank or stealing a car; rather than threats of a fundamentally different nature requiring fundamentally different approaches?
    * And can we really afford to return to the destructive view that America, not the enemy, but America, is the source of the world’s troubles?

    It’s a strange time:

    * When a database search of America’s leading newspapers turns up literally 10 times as many mentions of one of the soldiers who has been punished for misconduct — 10 times more —than the mentions of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror;
    * Or when a senior editor at Newsweek disparagingly refers to the brave volunteers in our armed forces — the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard — as a “mercenary army;”
    * When the former head of CNN accuses the American military of deliberately targeting journalists; and the once CNN Baghdad bureau chief finally admits that as bureau chief in Baghdad, he concealed reports of Saddam Hussein’s crimes when he was in charge there so that CNN could keep on reporting selective news;
    * And it’s a time when Amnesty International refers to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay — which holds terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans and which is arguably the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare — “he gulag of our times.” It’s inexcusable. (Applause.)

    Please, please, respond directly to the attacks rather than rambling on in prose and quoting Murrow.

    Please go read the speech, quote excerpts and respond to it:
    see here

    The go and listen to someone who has actually been to Iraq:
    see here

  5. RightSideRedux,

    I have just gotten on and have not read or listened to Olberman yet. Pamela refers to my response aboveRumsfeld: Determined to be Right which specifically addresses three of your first 4 questions. There are elaborations in comment 6 and 12.

    Another discussion is here.

    As far as the media crap. Where have you been since the deregulation of the media and journalism selling out to infotainment? Look at the circus over John Mark Karr.

    Try reading “Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting” by Peter Brock and the examples you site will look trivial in comparison. And don’t forget history. William Randolph Hearst put all kinds of stories in his papers about Mexico and Texas hoping that a war would start and drive up his sales.

    The treatment and incarceration of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay was struck down in court – the lawyer arguing against the government was a Navy officer.

    Here are some of the facts:

    An analyses of Defense Department data finds that only 5% of Guantanamo detainees were captured by U.S. forces; 86% were handed over by Northern Alliance or Pakistani forces. 55% have been determined not to have committed hostile acts against the United States or its allies. Only 8 % are thought to be Al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40% have no connection to either Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

    Mother Jones Sept/Oct 06 p.85

    It’s a very good account of one detainee’s experience.

  6. Ok,

    Olberman is comparing Rumsfeld to Chamberlain in that they both were SURE they KNEW certain things (not the same things) to BE TRUE – were not true. He is comparing the two in the delusions of their own omniscience.

    Olberman said this is still a democracy. Some times barely. Who’s been denied their rights/

    Jose Padilla comes to mind.

    The NSA spying without warrants is certainly an issue for many of us.

    The 2000 Presidential “selection” which put us under the control of these ideologists.

    The 2004 election which is still under investigation and may not ever be fully exposed as to how much voter suppression and vote tampering was done.

    I could go on but I’m sure you don’t accept any of the above and the rest would be worse.

    I will go read the speech text.

  7. RightSideRedux

    You must have come here from Faux News, because you’re talking their rhetoric, hook, line and sinker.

  8. Your link to the soldier who has been in Iraq is not working.
    We have heard from many soldiers who have been in Iraq. There are some who still support the war and see the good. Many others do not and report the numbers who do are decreasing with each return.

    Even some stalwart Republican legislators have returned from recent trips to Iraq with their minds changed. Shays especially.

    From the speech:

    ” It’s a privilege to work with a president who is determined to protect our flag.”

    We’d rather he is more determined to protect the Constitution.

    Our enemies …frequently invoke the names of Beirut or Somalia — places they see as examples of American retreat and American weakness. And as we’ve seen — even this month — in Lebanon, they design attacks and manipulate the media to try to demoralize public opinion. They doctor photographs of casualties. They use civilians as human shields. And then they try to provoke an outcry when civilians are killed in their midst, which of course was their intent.

    Reagan pulled our troops out of Beirut and never responded to the killing of 240+ marines there.
    Poppy got us into Somalia without a plan to get out. And left it for Clinton. After the military botched the assignment to get Aideed in June, they followed up with an even stupider mission using the Black Hawk helicopters for days DURING the day – allowing Aideeds militia to shoot down two in the Black Hawk Down incident – which also killed 1200 Somalian bystanders. At that point Clinton started telling the military what they would do and would not do. The UN peacekeeping force came in on his six month deadline – with no further American casualties.
    The USS Cole was bombed in October of ’99. By the time intel had pinned it down to the terrorists, W was in office – and did nothing. No wonder they figured it was time to pull off WTC. (Clinton’s admin had foiled many plots, especially 1/1/2000.)

    The manipulation of the media in Lebanon is old stuff. It is what Brock’s book is about – during the Balkan conflict.
    Reregulation of the media anyone? Breaking up the monopolies?

    How the omniscient ones have benefitted politically seems really too obvious. They retain very powerful offices – the most powerful in the world. Personally? Gosh, you’d have to ask Olberman for those specifics. I’m sure they have made all kinds of rich friends richer and that will payoff big time when they leave office.

    Not so long ago, an exhibit — Enola Gay at the Smithsonian during the 1990s — seemed to try to rewrite the history of World War II by portraying the United States as somewhat of an aggressor.

    Not very specific there. My uncle, part of the John’s Hopkins physics team that developed the Polaris, Poseidon and Trident missiles for the nuclear subs, was on the committe that developed the Smithsonian exhibits after he retired. If there is one thing he and my dad (a research scientist) drummed into me, my sisters and cousins, it was to have your facts right. If you have not seen “Fog of War”, the documentary interview with Robert McNamara, do. It is excellent and the section on “Proportionality” may be what that exhibit was about. The firebombing of Japan was seriously out of proportion.

    We hear every day of new plans, new efforts to murder Americans and other free people. Indeed, the plot that was discovered in London that would have killed hundreds — possibly thousands — of innocent men, women and children on aircraft flying from London to the United States should remind us that this enemy is serious, lethal, and relentless.

    Every day? Am I missing something or is this just another slight exageration? Maybe they don’t share them all, but I find the statement very unlikely.
    The London plot was:
    -discovered because of POLICE work.
    -blown out of proportion. They had no chemicals, no plane tickets and NO PASSPORTS.
    -Scientifically, unlikely. In order to make that kind of bomb:
    You have to keep the separate fluids cold, carry-on full of ice to last several hours.
    It takes several hours of heating the chemicals slowly to form enough explosive material to blow up a plane. And hope nobody gets suspicious of the smell, let alone that the two of you have been in the john for hours.

    We recognize the terrorists are serious, lethal and relentless. It would have made more sense to secure our borders, ports, chemical plants, electric grid, etc by now, than to spend a fortune on Rummy’s stupid handling of Iraq.

    * Can we afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply law enforcement problems, like robbing a bank or stealing a car; rather than threats of a fundamentally different nature requiring fundamentally different approaches?

    Yes and no. They are law enforcement problems and need more finesse than bombs. As Kerry pointed out during the campaign, you don’t bomb downtown Manhattan in order to get to the Mafia. Actually, the TV show “24” is a very good example of what kind of high tech, intel work would be appropriate.

    Kerry actually wrote the book on terrorism (thanks for giving me another chance to mention it ) The New War was published in ’97 and came out of his committe investigations of BCCI and Iran/Contra. Kerry includes the terrorists in the five big problems that will face the world this century. But what he spells out in compelling detail, is the threat to all of society and civilization by the globalized crime groups.

    Not the car thiefs or bank robbers. The international cartels that run narcotics, gambling, prostitution, weapons, organ ‘donor’ transplants, indentured servants, illegal banking transactions (including electronic stealing) money laundering to invest in real estate, banks and other business. They have top notch computer specialists, their own jet fleets, scientists, lawyers. Not to mention the bribed or extorted government officials world wide.

    The big five are the Russian, Japanese, Italian, Columbian and Chinese mafias. The American mafia was not in their league.

    American corporations tend to make up for that. Among other things, we export more munitions than all other countries combined. That’s where a lot of those more lethal weapons come from – our own companies.

    There is a misperception that liberals don’t respect or support the troops. We are looking at troops who are going into 3rd and 4th tours, coming home with high levels of PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and a GOP Congress and administration that has been determined to underfund their pay, benefits, treatment and research for better treatment.

    I hope this has been specific enough. That it isn’t too difficult to understand (Olberman sure wasn’t) and that you follow up on my reading suggestions.

  9. Oh details. The USS Cole was bombed in 10/2000.

    Another military fubar. The Navy never discussed using that port for leave. The intel people following terrorism knew it was too dangerous and would have told the Navy to go elsewhere.

  10. It was a real Ed Murrow moment. I was on the phone with a friend Wed. night and actually hung up as the speech got going, saying to my buddy “this is history, flip this on.”

    Olbermann knocked it out of the park.

  11. …absolutely blown out of the park.

  12. The Right is fairly foaming at the mouth, in reaction to Keith’s comments. They only consider themselves, qualified to have opinions. No one who disagrees with them may speak without being denigrated and scorned. They can spew vitriol and invective; engage in vicious personal attacks and “Swift Boat,” the truth but intelligent and well reasoned arguments are greeted with sarcasm and derision. John Dean wrote a book about the onset of the authoritarian personality, dominating the Right Wing of American politics. He was afraid to call it what it really is, not Neo Conservatism but true Neo Fascism, born again in our time. Come on John, say what you really mean, we all get it. As a student of history, I see far too many parallels between our society and that of Germany in the late 20s and early 30s. I see a society where free debate and honest descent are too often seen as unpatriotic and a threat to the nation. The leader must be obeyed and not questioned. He has a unique vision which must drive the policies of the nation, without true and objective debate or opposition. Power is the most important objective of politics and honest government is merely inconvenient. Remember, Germany was the nation of Beethoven and Schiller and it happened there. We should not beguile ourselves that it could not happen here. It scares the shit out of me. We need more Keiths.

  13. melz,

    I completely agree with you. Since 9/11 I finally understood how something like the Nazi party rose in Germany and how easily it could happen in this country.

    As far as I’m concerned, the only appeasers of fascism in this country are the apologists and supporters of this administration and the disgusting un-American mutation of the GOP as a whole. Which is currently populated apparently by a combination of religious fundamentalist extremists and fascist wannabes.

    BTW, I don’t know if you saw the 2004 RNC convention but the non-stop chanting, hate speech and propagation of fear and xenophobia resembled some sort of Nazi rally. I know of others that had the same feeling from watching it. And I get the same feeling now whenever Bush gives one of his rousing speeches to whip up his base…