Sunday, October 29, 2006

A SUCCESSOR TO ED MURROW? PART ONE

I found this article on the web last week, but the journal won't let me cut and paster directly. I like it enough to copy it so I could post it. A smart man Mr. Olberman and very articulate.

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Published on Thursday. October 19. 2006 by MSNBC Interactive by Keith Olberman

 

‘Beginning of the End '

 

 Olbermann Addresses the Military Commissions Act in a Special Comment

 

by Keith Olbermann

 

We have lived as if in a trance.

 

We have lived as a people on fear.

 

And now-our rights and our freedoms in peril-we slowly awake 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 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 news paper 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 use that Act to prosecute 2,000Americans, 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 the 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 till 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 time 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 or 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 ital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

 

And-again, Mr. bush-all of them, wrong.

 

 

2 comments:

tenyearnap said...

These last few years have seemed like someting out of science fiction, haven't they? "We have lived as if in a trance." Yes, indeed.

lisaram1955 said...

Gotta love that Mr. Olbermann...  Lisa  :-]