Ever since I heard Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld call the majority of Americans “Nazi appeasers” and that we are “confronting a new kind of fascism”, I’ve been struggling with how I was going to approach this subject.
Rumsfeld, speaking before the American Legion convention, delivered some of his most explicit and extended attacks yet on the administration’s critics, provoking criticism from furious Democrats who accused him of “campaigning on fear.”
“I recount that history because, once again, we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism,” Rumsfeld said. “But some seem not to have learned history’s lessons.”
He continued: “Can we truly afford to believe that, somehow or someway, vicious extremists can be appeased?”
His use of the word “appease” was particularly notable, clearly tying administration critics to the failed efforts of the pre-Churchill British government to mollify Hitler.
Mr. Rumsfeld, your remarks may have been intended to attack democrats in the run-up to November’s election cycle, but in reality, they were a direct attack on the vast majority of Americans who do not possess a favorable view of this current administration. Current poll numbers have Mr. Bush at varying levels in the 30’s as far as favorable ratings go.
My answer on how to address this came Wednesday night in the form of Keith Olbermann. There are times when no one can say it better than good old Keith. (If you have never watched him and have access to MSNBC, get thee to the TV at 8:00 pm weekdays!)
At the end of Wednesday’s show, Keith gave a speech, (and yes, it was a damn fine one at that), regarding Mr. Rumsfeld’s latest declaration:
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.
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?
Click and read the full text. Keith’s complete speech is worthy of attention. If you’d prefer, you can watch Keith’s speech, available on the linked speech page, or here via the Crooks and Liars website.
Mr. Olbermann, you are one of my heroes.