Rummy is losing it once again:
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?
Any kind of moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.
But his comments may have generated something he didn't neccesarily expect, a torrent of additional criticism from Democrats and Administration Critics has gone from a few minor spitballs to a fever pitch. Starting with this stinging rebuke from Keith Olbermann on Wednesday. From Crooks and Liars:
Keith had some very choice words about Rumsfeld’s "fascism" comments tonight. Watch it, save it and share it.
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.Full Transcript: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. 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.
In his recent interview with Brian Wilson in New Orleans, the President claimed that "Islamic Fundamentalists attacked us (at 9-11) long before he ever thought of deposing Saddam Hussein" - but that is a lie.
DEAN: This time, we‘re not going to lay down and worry about what their supposed toughness on defense. The truth is, the defense issue works for us now. They have a war on terror, they have a war in Iraq, and they have a war on the middle class. They‘ve attacked people‘s—kids‘ ability to go to college, healthcare, wages have gone down. Katrina has been a mess. We‘re in a middle of a civil war in Iraq.
They don‘t know how to deal with anything. They can‘t get anything right, including defending America. You can‘t trust the Republicans with your money, you can‘t trust them to fix really big natural disasters, you can‘t trust them to defend America.
It‘s not because they don‘t want to defend America, the truth is, they can‘t. You got to be tough and smart. You got to know what you‘re doing. They clearly do not know what they‘re doing.
No amount of name-calling is going to save them. The majority of the American people do not believe the President Bush is telling the truth, the majority of the American people do not believe this administration is competent. We want a new direction in America, and the Democrats will provide one.
Dean: We believe that security starts at home, and the president has forgotten about home, both in terms of our security, and in terms of our economy, and we believe we need to be tough and smart when we deal with terrorists, and not just talk tough, but have no idea what we‘re doing.
These guys got us into Iraq without asking the military for their opinion, and then when they got their opinion, they ignored it. You can‘t conduct a war without listening to the military. They know what they‘re doing. And frankly, the people who got us into this, very few of them ever served abroad in the uniform of the United States of America. We need to listen to the military before we do things like this.
DEAN: ... that‘s false. Look at Paul O‘Neill, the former secretary of treasury‘s book, an honest, decent guy, happens to be a Republican—there are honest, decent Republicans—who ran Alcoa Aluminum. He wrote in his book, written by Ron Susskind, he said that George Bush had said he was going to get rid of Saddam Hussein when he got into office in his first cabinet meeting. That was nine months before Iraq. [ne: 9-11]In the book O'Neill reported the following:
“From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic "A" 10 days after the inauguration - eight months before Sept. 11.Also remember that BushGov completely ignored the warnings about Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda coming from Richard Clarke - who had written his first of many memos on the subject to the then incoming Bush Administration starting on Jan 25, 2001 - until August.
“From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,” says Suskind. “Day one, these things were laid and sealed.”
As treasury secretary, O'Neill was a permanent member of the National Security Council. He says in the book he was surprised at the meeting that questions such as "Why Saddam?" and "Why now?" were never asked.
"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this,’" says O’Neill. “For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.”
And that came up at this first meeting, says O’Neill, who adds that the discussion of Iraq continued at the next National Security Council meeting two days later.
Even before he was President, Bush had Saddam on the Brain back in 1999 when speaking to author Mickey Heskowitz.
According to Herskowitz, Bush told him: "My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it."And now as people legitimately question why we went Iraq when they not only had no connection to Al Qaeda or WMD's - they told us they had no WMD's and we simply ignored them - in return they are called "appeasers"?
Rather than become cowed and afraid to speak up, Democrats are doing the opposite.
"He sounded like a batty old man. A more decent society would put him in one of those coats with no cuffs and take him off to one of those rooms with padding on the walls"
"What the Secretary must be forgetting is what emboldens the enemy is sending our troop into the line of fire without the equipment they need to protect themselves and get the job done. What emboldens the enemy is sending them there without the military intelligence to get the job done."Harry Reid:
Secretary Rumsfeld's reckless comments show why America is not as safe as it can or should be five years after 9/11. The Bush White House is more interested in lashing out at its political enemies and distracting from its failures than it is in winning the War on Terror and in bringing an end to the war in Iraq. If there's one person who has failed to learn the lessons of history it's Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld ignored military experts when he rushed to war without enough troops, without sufficient body armor, and without a plan to succeed.The LA Times has Piled On, essentially saying Pipe Down Rum.
Maybe Rumsfeld never got the memo, or, if he did, he crumpled it up. His speech was vintage Rumsfeld. It was also unfair and, in places, inane.The Washington Post has also stepped up to the plate:
Take the suggestion that critics of Bush's Iraq policy are the moral equivalent of those who refused to stop Hitler. There's a reason why high school debaters are warned away from Nazi analogies: They're almost always disproportionate. Even Bush, who recently raised eyebrows by identifying "Islamic fascism" as America's enemy, stopped short of referring to critics of his policies as latter-day Neville Chamberlains.
Even more offensive is Rumsfeld's "blame America first" canard. Who exactly has been pushing what he called "the destructive view that America — not the enemy — is the real source of the world's troubles"? Certainly no one in mainstream American political discourse, not even those members of Congress who want to set a date for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Their argument, right or wrong, is that Iraq is descending into civil war and that the U.S. presence there is unavailing and a drain on resources better expended elsewhere, including on counter-terrorism at home.
So just who the hell are these "appeasers" who would snatch surrender from the jaws of our clearly glorious victory in Iraq?
Bush suggested last week that Democrats are promising voters to block additional money for continuing the war. Vice President Cheney this week said critics "claim retreat from Iraq would satisfy the appetite of the terrorists and get them to leave us alone." And Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, citing passivity toward Nazi Germany before World War II, said that "many have still not learned history’s lessons" and "believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased."
Pressed to support these allegations, the White House yesterday could cite no major Democrat who has proposed cutting off funds or suggested that withdrawing from Iraq would persuade terrorists to leave Americans alone. (emphasis added)
They're the phantasms inside of Bush, Cheney and Rummy's mind that's what. They are the evil bogey-men Lib-ER-als that make it hard for them to sleep at night. Sweating through a horrid Barbara Streisand/Michael Moore-mare, that keeps Rummy well stocked in Depends(tm). They don't care about Al Qaeda, they don't care about protecting America - Katrina proved that - they only care about destroying Democrats and Liberals, period.
But if this is the Republicans final desperation play to retain a hold on Congress, I have to say they are in dire straights indeed. This dog doesn't hunt anymore. Most of America has finally figured out that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, or Osama Bin Laden. And just where is Bin Laden anyway?
Republicans are losing it as the hot moist breath of defeat - IN CONGRESS - is steaming their collar, and it's driving them off the deep end with this "Nazi Appeaser" bullcrap.
And I can't help but smile - the end is near - and it's coming for BushGov.