Olbermann on lying

and with the transcript again, from Crooks and Liars.

Olbermann:

And lastly tonight, a Special Comment, about — lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool… While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover…

The President of the United States — unbowed, undeterred, and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: The Democrats.

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10 thoughts on “Olbermann on lying

  1. hmmmm …. a lot of inflammatory rhetoric about a lot of inflammatory rhetoric. i see where tirades such as this come from – there is so much despair, helplessness and hopelessness, and then, of course, anger, among the populace. and, while this clip i found mildly entertaining, it for me encompasses exactly why things just cannot go forward on the international stage. the blame game. demonization. what makes us think that bush, cheney, rumsfeld really had less than noble intentions in carring out their misguided plan?

    i’m doubting that any of these men took office intending to sabotage their government’s credibility in the manner in which they have. and i think its naive of us to call bush a liar. i’ve listened to woodward … rumsfeld … james baker … all being intervied in the past week. its clear that bush is naive … uninformed about world affairs … stubborn (he takes no advice from anyone … not even those from which he should) and eternally optomistic. and i heard rumsfeld admit that they failed to consider the consequences of removing sadam … and they underestimated the insurgency threat.

    i think its not so much lies on top of llies … rather ego that are trying to shield themselves from a terrible fall. how could any of them save face if they admit the taking out sadam was a grave mistake? and its easy for us to sit here and gripe about it … but … what would we do?

    don’t get me wrong. i think a lot of stuff was fabricated … and clearly some grave errors in judgement were put into action. i think it speaks to the fact that the west has no understanding of the middle east. and i think osama has just become some embodiment of the wests anger. but ask yourself, would anything change if he was taken out? i fear not. we are past the point of no return. and its frightening, isn’t it? and, now, we have sadam in trial in iraq and a court/judge afraid to issue a verdict for fear of the fall out.

    i’m not sure what the answer is, but i think griping about it and demonizing those who have made erros in judgement does not adance our goals.its so despairing … and all the while so much suffering is going on. so very much.

    thanx for this. sorry to ramble.

  2. Velvet AQ,

    I could have bought into your argument in early 2002, when we went into Afghanistan. We had a responsibility to clean up the Taliban and al Qaida there because we helped create them in our efforts to subvert the Soviet occupation there. We created that monster, it came back to bite us, and we deserved and had to kill it.

    I cannot subscribe to your position, however, that Bush et al were engaged in a noble, selfless effort to continue that effort by invading Iraq. It was questionable to me in early 2003 during the legislative and logistic runup to that invasion, and it’s now disgustingly evident that it was the worst sort of revanchism and simple resource imperialism.
    All the evidence since of intelligence manipulation, government propaganda, invasion on the cheap (remember how the American invasion column was seriously endangered by a relatively weak Iraqi force because we never planned to ensure sale logistics?) and the worst sort of Bush Administration-sanctioned reconstruction incompetence merely show that we have allowed a gang of intellectually amateur neo-fascists masquerading as masters of realpolitik.

    I agree that griping and demonizing alone won’t begin to untangle and recover from this mess. Only that the citizenry educate themselves and eject the worthless idiots who conjured up this mess and those who aided and abetted them will even make a basic start to restore the Constitutional form of government which our citizenry hoped for 223 years ago. We have allowed cheap political opportunism and pseudo-intellectual thugs to subvert what this nation stands for.

    Yes, they can be forgiven – in the same way we can forgive child molesters. Maybe they can’t control their impulses, but they can be excluded from any position from which they could create the same mischief and disaster again.

  3. velvetacidquill, I appreciate your comments. You raise many good points, but ultimately I must side with FE on this one. I wish it were otherwise.

    Indeed, I must go further than FE and frankly state that I believe that at NO point were the spread of democracy and the righting/prevention of wrongs really on the agenda. Too many companies with too intimate ties to the White House have profited, even at the expense of the troops. Haliburton has charged $15 a liter for water unfit for human consumption, and those are your people suffering dysentery at the hands of Cheney’s old company.

    Olbermann does, it’s true, appeal to the emotions. Is this unjust? I put to you that cold rationality in the face of a moral dilemma like Iraq is both immoral and irrational. Market forces give you something like a Haliburton. Moral imperatives give you something like Olbermann’s speech.

  4. I know that we all three have our views on this issue, but the thing that concerns me most is that, if Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of that gang of scumbags have their way, at least two of us wouldn’t even be able to debate it. That should concern all of us.

  5. i humbly disagree regarding the value of emotion in such a debate. in fact, i put to you that emotional (and by nature, factless) rhetoric is what got the world to this point. the bush administration, and all of the USA for that matter, were just burning, yearning, absolutely in need of, a lynching … some external entity which they could crucify for 9/11. clearly, in the push to avenge 9/11 serious errors in judgement were made. plain and simple.

    recall at the beginning of the invasion into iraq everyone was asking ‘why didn’t bush 41 take out sadam when he had the chance?’ well … hmmm … now we aren’t asking that question anymore are we? i really think this underscores what happens when crucial decisions are emotionally driven. as far as the business and oil grab, i assert that this was just an opportunistic grab and i certainly reject any notion that any decision to go to war was based upon just these two issues.

    with respect to character assessments of bush 43, cheney, rumsfeld … i will not go there … character assassination serves no purpose other than providing a means of blowing off frustration at the expense of another person. not useful or constructive, in my opinion. and does not bring us any closer to a solution.

    i really think the bottom line here is indeed, a more informed citizenry. and government leaders. the current state of the middle east is largely due to our – the west’s – grave ignorance regarding islam, the middle east, regarding the culture of the region. for instance, what makes the west think they can just walk in and impose their way of life in a part of the world where ‘church’ and state are still intimately intertwined … in a society that is light years behind ours in terms of social evolution? i think we are just starting to see this now. why didn’t the west know this before? surely we could have looked to the UKs experience in forming iraq 100 years ago?

    but … i don’t think the USA was interested … i think they just had vengence on the brain. and some arrogant notion that bringing democracy to that region will some how improve things for iraqis. no … i must disagree regarding the role that emotion plays in calculating decisions such as this. i really believe it is what got us into this mess.

    so much energy goes into playing the blame game and demonizing those with which we disagree. i only wish that much energy could go into relieving the incredible suffering that is going on in the middle east. i fear the world is light years away from that. and that makes me embarassed to be human.

    for what its worth … i’m north of the 49th parallel.

  6. VAQ, if you want to know why Bush 41 didn’t take out Saddam Hussein, why not search this blog for the post of that very thing? He actually wrote out the reasons the US didn’t invade Iraq, and I encourage you to read them. For errors in judgement to have been made, judgement would have had to have been used, which brings me to my next point…

    I don’t think it was emotion that brought the US to its imperialistic and fascistic nadir; it was cold calculation of the profit to be made and the power to be gained by doing so. I agree, though, that emotion has been used to sell it to people, and they’ve been willing, even desperate, to swallow the orthodoxy whole.

    On occasion, demonizing is appropriate. Indeed, it would be inappropriate to look at the evidence and claim Cheney, Bush, or Jim Baker were “mistaken.” They were not mistaken, they were mendacious and evil. Even I cannot ascribe Bush’s actions to simple idiocy at this point.

  7. A little post-Iraq war declaration for you that may very well shed a little light on the administation’s regard for truth and public knowledge. While I was still a reporter in 2004, I received a fax which was a poor copy of a fundraising event invitation. The keynote guest? Dick Cheney. I called the candidate, who weaseled around about how he couldn’t confirm the date because it was a matter of security. I called the VP’s press office, and they said they would only confirm off the record that he was coming because it was a matter of national security. It all made for a rather entertaining story in print, especially how the VP – on ‘company’ time and expense, us being the employer – was flying down to raise money for a candidate and was staying out of public view because it was a matter of national security.

    Yeah, I think the administration was quite capable, willing and guilty of lying to the American public about Iraq and a host of other issues. I don’t think there was any emotionalism on their part except for – on the part of Messrs Cheney and Rumsfeld – wistfulness about the willingness of their former boss R.M. Nixon to subvert the law and the Constitution to create a more efficient state.

    For the last three and a half years, I’ve covered stories about how local National Guardsmen have had to go to Iraq and scrape about for body and vehicle armor, how Guardsmen have had enlistment terms extended involuntarily because of a shortage of manpower in the armed forces, and how officials continue blandly to say that we’re winning the war years after it was declared over.

    I haven’t detected any real emotionalism from our government in that time, except when they get caught lying or face criticism for their miscalculated incompetence.

    Stripping emotionalism from my response to the administration’s incompetence and willful deceit and applying the same sort of cold calculation to what I feel should be done would lead ultimately to an act which I would not commit in order to throw the administration out.

    Instead, I prefer and passionate and yes, sometimes emotional defense of the very mechanism and principles on which this country was finally founded – the Constitution. Being emotionally in support of the rule of law, in the end, is probably a lot more rational than calculating how to squeeze profit and prestige out of an imperial adventure.

    I do differ with Raincoaster on Bush’s capability for intelligent thought , however. I truly feel that he has been duped and steered into this course of action, although I’m pretty sure that it didn’t take a lot of effort given his past affinity to work any angle he could to avoid the consequences of bad business decisions and bad governance.

    Whatever our differences over how this country got where it did, I think we probably agree that it hasn’t been a particularly proud moment in our history.

  8. The history of the Dubya administration is one of using emotional argument to circumvent logic. Using emotion–fear particularly–to cling to power.

    It’s not just “Saddam is gonna kill us with his weapons of mass destruction” (remember–there’s no “WMD” without W). It’s not only “women in Afghanistan have to wear veils, so this isn’t revenge, it’s building freedom”.

    It’s Terri Shiavo–on whose behalf W. interrupted his extended vacation to enact legislation forcing her husband to prolong the life of a lump of insensible protein, his wife long absent from it.

    It’s the only veto the “culture of life” president, responsible for a hundred thousand deaths, ever cast.

    It’s about harnessing your fear so that the Republicans can claim to be keeping most of America safe by killing three thousand soldiers uneccessarily.

    There’s no logos here, VAQ. No ethos, god knows. Just pathos. “If you don’t let us strip out the bits of the Constitution we don’t like then terrorists will kill you!”

    It’s about using fear to gain power. Which is also called terrorism.

    Once you know that, VAQ, you’re quite correct. No character asessment is needed.

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