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Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:13 pm    Post subject: Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet
Subject description: A brilliant editorial on US cable TV - amazing!
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I stumbled across MSNBC tonight and heard one Keith Olberman make a brilliant editorial about a recent speach by Donald Rumsfeld. It was brilliant. I couldn't believe I was hearing it.

Worth the read:

    Aug. 30, 2006 | 8:34 p.m. ET

    Feeling morally, intellectually confused?

    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.

    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 England.

    It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

    It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its 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 — have 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 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?

    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 I 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 unreason, 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.

    Comments? Email KOlbermann@msnbc.com


From the MSNBC website: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12131617/#060830b

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Great article. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A nice read. I can understand his way of thinking, but still the use of an historical analysis or lack of such is a bit problematic. There is a lot to be said about the british/german situation in the late 20s - late 30s.

Still, the current US leadership is in fact displaying something which truly can be called a new form of fascism. BTW: Is Rumsfeld´s´speech availble online somewhere?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Is Rumsfeld´s´speech availble online somewhere?

http://www.defenselink.mil/Speeches/Speech.aspx?SpeechID=1033

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

OMG Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

US Department of Defense?
I don´t think so. It is more like:
"US Department of Nonsense"

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

His speech is referrring to the Smithsonian Enola Gay Controversy.

More info about what this mess was all about can be found here:

MASSACRE AT THE SMITHSONIAN

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Re his most disgusting standup routine, flirting with World War 2 is not really that cool.
Consider this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

Anyways, this is business as usual from a junta that managed to deceive the world ( Saddam´s WMDs ). In fact, this is a scam on the same scale as what the tsarist secret police did with the invention of "The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion"

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
A nice read. I can understand his way of thinking, but still the use of an historical analysis or lack of such is a bit problematic. There is a lot to be said about the british/german situation in the late 20s - late 30s.

Still, the current US leadership is in fact displaying something which truly can be called a new form of fascism.


A lot can be said about the US- German relations in the same period as well...

More generally;

I think this article takes the same kind of emotional shortcuts that the Bush administartion does, particularly when it says "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?". Clearly, much like the writer of this article, mr.Rhumsfled was reaised in the US; he is a product of his environment like everyone else.

The US, to refresh people's memory, in those days, was rather enamored with the Nazi's with many prominent USians being proud members of the Nazi party. This isn't so surprising because many of Hiller's ideas were founded on the typicaly USian school of thought called Eugenics. Mr. Churchill was, by modern standards, clinically insane and by anyone's standards a very silly man, if he would've had his way every time and wasn't stopped by his "advisors" he would've ruined his own situation before his famous nap (it realy should be noted that all major players at the time ranged from profoundly silly to utterly rediculous and were all camp-building drug addicts, not just mr. Churchill who was silly in a relatively charming way).

This whole annolgy fails terribly in many ways. The one thing you can say is that typically countries don't fight for Freedom; if they do fight they fight for their own freedom (or at least that of their rulers) but more likely they fight for their own gains (or more likely those of their rulers. This then gets dressed up under noble pretences. I'm not aware of any country every fighting for "Freedom", ever.

This immediately makes me wonder why this author is waving his noble flag. What does he have to gain?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

Anyways, this is business as usual from a junta that managed to deceive the world ( Saddam´s WMDs ). In fact, this is a scam on the same scale as what the tsarist secret police did with the invention of "The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion"


Ah! That story, that one is utterly crazy and all the moreinteresting because it's even true. Kinda like the Illuminatus triology, except with less drugs, sex and fiction.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
elektro80 wrote:
A nice read. I can understand his way of thinking, but still the use of an historical analysis or lack of such is a bit problematic. There is a lot to be said about the british/german situation in the late 20s - late 30s.

Still, the current US leadership is in fact displaying something which truly can be called a new form of fascism.


A lot can be said about the US- German relations in the same period as well...


INDEED

Related to all this is of course how the international community managed to turn a newborn republic ( Spain ) into a german-russian war.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
elektro80 wrote:

Anyways, this is business as usual from a junta that managed to deceive the world ( Saddam´s WMDs ). In fact, this is a scam on the same scale as what the tsarist secret police did with the invention of "The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion"


Ah! That story, that one is utterly crazy and all the more interesting because it's even true. Kinda like the Illuminatus triology, except with less drugs, sex and fiction.


The scams and hogwash routines are true indeed. Extremely embarassing. The "all important crucial evidence" was major bullshit.

Beware of clowns bringing gifts.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Within this light this is a particularly interesting bitof the speech;

Quote:
And on a personal note, I want to commend the American Legion for its sponsorship of the Boy Scouts. I know there are places where Scouting is kind of put down. Well, I was a proud Cub Scout; a Boy Scout; an Explorer Scout; an Eagle Scout; and a Distinguished Eagle Scout; and the Scouts represent, in my view, some of the very best qualities of our country, and they certainly merit our support. (Applause.)


The boyscouts were a English invention, one of the ideas was that they'd result in less training should one suddenly need to draft a lot of soldiers.

Guess what the main inspiration behind the Hitler Jugend was?

He may well be right about Guatanamo bay being "the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare" but that doesn't make it right. Hitlers camps were quite advanced in how they were run as well, that in itself doesn't realy make them right.

It's sloppy reasoning all round. I don't know what's more depressing; that the author of this articleand mr. Rumsfeld try to get away with this or that they aparently can.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:


INDEED

Related to all this is of course how the international community managed turn a newborn republic ( Spain ) into a german-russian war.


Right!

That one was another great source of "humanity is so weird the average man on the street thinks you made it up" style trivia.

I liked the bits about modern art used for torture and a few incidents where both sides flew the swastica while bombing eachother.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:

I think this article takes the same kind of emotional shortcuts that the Bush administartion does, particularly when it says "In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised?......


This immediately makes me wonder why this author is waving his noble flag. What does he have to gain?


Well, the poor guy is simply trying to write something thoughtful and making some stabs at some kind of analysis. I understand what he is trying to do, but to me this is a failed project as it stands now. On the other hand, if he actually HAD managed to write something insanely good I reckon he would be sent off to some camp somewhere.

Also, keep in mind that seeing such a commentary in mainstream media in the US is as Howard says, pretty uncommon.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Fact is a a whole lot stranger than fiction.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
Within this light this is a particularly interesting bitof the speech;

Quote:
And on a personal note, I want to commend the American Legion for its sponsorship of the Boy Scouts. I know there are places where Scouting is kind of put down. Well, I was a proud Cub Scout; a Boy Scout; an Explorer Scout; an Eagle Scout; and a Distinguished Eagle Scout; and the Scouts represent, in my view, some of the very best qualities of our country, and they certainly merit our support. (Applause.)


The boyscouts were a English invention, one of the ideas was that they'd result in less training should one suddenly need to draft a lot of soldiers.

Guess what the main inspiration behind the Hitler Jugend was?


Hmm, this might come as a huge mindshattering surprise, but what if I simple say: Robert Baden-Powell`s Boy Scouts ?? Laughing

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Anyways, Wikipedia has a fairly decent entry on the Baden-Powell scouting thingie:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
He may well be right about Guatanamo bay being "the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare" but that doesn't make it right. Hitlers camps were quite advanced in how they were run as well, that in itself doesn't realy make them right.

It's sloppy reasoning all round.


I totally agree. It is surprising the writer chooses to go there at all. His angle seems totally off the mark.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

BTW, that Enola Gay Controversy twist in Rumsfeld´s speech is one major disaster. And he is getting away with it?

Hello? Shocked

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, all things considered, I think Keith Olberman`s

Quote:
This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.


...is kinda cute.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
elektro80 wrote:

Anyways, this is business as usual from a junta that managed to deceive the world ( Saddam´s WMDs ). In fact, this is a scam on the same scale as what the tsarist secret police did with the invention of "The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion"


Ah! That story, that one is utterly crazy and all the moreinteresting because it's even true. Kinda like the Illuminatus triology, except with less drugs, sex and fiction.


I dunno. As for the WMD scam, they kinda got Tony Blair along for the ride.

And the protocs of the learned elders scam was pretty juicy.
Less fiction than the Illuminatus trilogy? Laughing Not really..

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

Also, keep in mind that seeing such a commentary in mainstream media in the US is as Howard says, pretty uncommon.


That's true.

Still, I think they have strong similarities in that their reasoning is based on rather simplistic apeals to emotion rather then a call for real thought out agreement.

They are both writing like Hitler did in some ways, aside from the apleal to emotion particularly in the emphasis on a loyalty to a imaginary and idealised version of their audience's country.

This doesn't nesicarily make them like Hitler in any other way but it does make the WWII analogies rather dubious. I'm not sure what that says about US mainstrem media but I suspect it indicates that they might think of their own audience like Hitler did of his. I'm not at all convinced either one realy believes what he says either.

I was aware of Powell, my father always maintained that he was responcible for inventing the concentration camps as well but I couldn't find any hint of that on Wikipedia.

I need to sleep now, if I may I'd like to conclude that the typical tendency to try and simplify a issue by comparing somebody to Hitler is rather naive since that situation was far from simple and had a rather big shortage of clear "good guys". It's a shame people always talk about the various drug crazed silly men, it's about time people started talking about soldiers in opposing trenches refusing to fight and singing chrismas songs but I suppose it's all too much like the crusades to some for chrismas to be seen as a good analogy?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

Less fiction than the Illuminatus trilogy? Laughing Not really..


I meant the scam realy happened, I wasn't comparing the two books!

(that realy needed to be perfectly clear, I don't want any disagreements with jews after hearing they drink blood..... ;¬) )

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
This whole annolgy fails terribly in many ways. The one thing you can say is that typically countries don't fight for Freedom; if they do fight they fight for their own freedom (or at least that of their rulers) but more likely they fight for their own gains (or more likely those of their rulers. This then gets dressed up under noble pretences. I'm not aware of any country every fighting for "Freedom", ever.

This immediately makes me wonder why this author is waving his noble flag. What does he have to gain?


In the US political lingo, the concept of freedom is nothing like what we have here in Europe. The use of the word freedom is a mythological concept that invokes the process of building the US nation, the constitution and stuff like that. As you already know, reuse of the American Constitution and related concepts was later tried in several european countries, but a whole lot of stuff like the US Franklinesque twist on freedom never quite made it.

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
elektro80 wrote:

Also, keep in mind that seeing such a commentary in mainstream media in the US is as Howard says, pretty uncommon.


That's true.

Still, I think they have strong similarities in that their reasoning is based on rather simplistic apeals to emotion rather then a call for real thought out agreement.

They are both writing like Hitler did in some ways, aside from the apleal to emotion particularly in the emphasis on a loyalty to a imaginary and idealised version of their audience's country.


Yes, I am seeing that as well. Good points.

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