Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

We have lived as if in a trance.

Expand Messages
  • karaobyri
    We have lived as if in a trance. The Beginning of the End of America. SPECIAL COMMENT By Keith Olbermann Anchor, Countdown Countdown Updated: 3:00 p.m. ET
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 19, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      We have lived as if in a trance.

      "The Beginning of the End of America."

      SPECIAL COMMENT
      By Keith Olbermann
      Anchor, 'Countdown'
      Countdown
      Updated: 3:00 p.m. ET Oct. 19, 2006

      On Tuesday, President Bush signed legislation authorizing tough
      interrogation of terror suspects and paving the way for trials
      before military commissions.

      Tonight, "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann addresses the legislation
      in a special comment entitled "The Beginning of the End of America."

      You can read an excerpt of Olbermann's comment below.



      We have lived as if in a trance.

      We have lived as people in fear.

      And now—our rights and our freedoms in peril—we slowly awaken to
      learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.


      Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our
      American legacy.

      For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in
      force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of
      exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

      A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it
      claims to protect us from.

      We have been here before—and we have been here before, led here by
      men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.

      We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien
      and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives, only to
      watch him use those acts to jail newspaper editors.

      American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote
      about America.

      We have been here when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the
      Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives, only to watch
      him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he
      disparaged as "Hyphenated Americans," most of whom were guilty only
      of advocating peace in a time of war.

      American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said
      about America.


      And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted
      that Executive Order 9066 was necessary to save American lives, only
      to watch him use that order to imprison and pauperize 110,000
      Americans while his man in charge, General DeWitt, told
      Congress: "It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen—
      he is still a Japanese."

      American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither
      wrote nor said nor did, but for the choices they or their ancestors
      had made about coming to America.

      Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most
      urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

      And each was a betrayal of that for which the president who
      advocated them claimed to be fighting.

      Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and
      Sedition Acts erased.

      Many of the very people Wilson silenced survived him, and one of
      them even ran to succeed him, and got 900,000 votes, though his
      presidential campaign was conducted entirely from his jail cell.

      And Roosevelt's internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst
      blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from
      the government of the United States to the citizens of the United
      States whose lives it ruined.

      The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

      In times of fright, we have been only human.

      We have let Roosevelt's "fear of fear itself" overtake us.

      We have listened to the little voice inside that has said, "the wolf
      is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this
      too shall pass."

      We have accepted that the only way to stop the terrorists is to let
      the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.

      Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets
      was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.

      Or substitute the Japanese.

      Or the Germans.

      Or the Socialists.

      Or the Anarchists.

      Or the Immigrants.

      Or the British.

      Or the Aliens.

      The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

      And, always, always wrong.

      "With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and
      few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and
      did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?"

      Wise words.

      And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.

      Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions
      Act.

      You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.

      Sadly—of course—the distance of history will recognize that the
      threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously was you.

      We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy
      attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up
      essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve
      neither liberty nor safety."

      But even within this history we have not before codified the
      poisoning of habeas corpus, that wellspring of protection from which
      all essential liberties flow.

      You, sir, have now befouled that spring.

      You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.

      You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.

      For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

      And — again, Mr. Bush — all of them, wrong.

      We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who
      has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has
      ever done to anything the terrorists have ever done.

      We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who
      has insisted again that "the United States does not torture. It's
      against our laws and it's against our values" and who has said it
      with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and
      the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around
      him.

      We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who
      may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American
      citizens "unlawful enemy combatants" and ship them somewhere—
      anywhere -- but may now, if he so decides, declare you an "unlawful
      enemy combatant" and ship you somewhere - anywhere.

      And if you think this hyperbole or hysteria, ask the newspaper
      editors when John Adams was president or the pacifists when Woodrow
      Wilson was president or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin
      Roosevelt was president.

      And if you somehow think habeas corpus has not been suspended for
      American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If
      you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien
      or an undocumented immigrant or an "unlawful enemy combatant"—
      exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court
      hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this attorney general is
      going to help you?

      This President now has his blank check.

      He lied to get it.

      He lied as he received it.

      Is there any reason to even hope he has not lied about how he
      intends to use it nor who he intends to use it against?

      "These military commissions will provide a fair trial," you told us
      yesterday, Mr. Bush, "in which the accused are presumed innocent,
      have access to an attorney and can hear all the evidence against
      them."

      "Presumed innocent," Mr. Bush?

      The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the
      detainees to be abused up to the point just before they
      sustain "serious mental and physical trauma" in the hope of getting
      them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The
      Geneva Conventions in their own defense.

      "Access to an attorney," Mr. Bush?

      Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to
      the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee
      defendant on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.

      "Hearing all the evidence," Mr. Bush?

      The Military Commissions Act specifically permits the introduction
      of classified evidence not made available to the defense.

      Your words are lies, Sir.

      They are lies that imperil us all.

      "One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks,"
      you told us yesterday, "said he hoped the attacks would be the
      beginning of the end of America."

      That terrorist, sir, could only hope.

      Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists
      (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.

      Habeas corpus? Gone.

      The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

      The moral force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal
      beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed
      out.

      These things you have done, Mr. Bush, they would be "the beginning
      of the end of America."

      And did it even occur to you once, sir — somewhere in amidst those
      eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of
      the horrors of 9/11 -- that with only a little further shift in this
      world we now know—just a touch more repudiation of all of that for
      which our patriots died --- did it ever occur to you once that in
      just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some
      irresponsible future president and a "competent tribunal" of lackeys
      would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the
      status of "unlawful enemy combatant" for -- and convene a Military
      Commission to try -- not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?

      For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

      And doubtless, Sir, all of them—as always—wrong.



      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15321167/

      audio:

      http://podcast.msnbc.com/audio/podcast/pd_countdown-10-18-2006-
      180800.mp3
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.