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Message #1828 of 2187  *NEW*
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Chris Reed  
Olbermann on 9/11 Anniversary
9/12/06, 1:52pm (Last Edited: 9/12/06, 1:53pm)
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I've always been a big fan of Keith Olbermann, though I became a follower back in his KTLA and KCBS days doing sports in L.A. The best pre-game and post-game shows I ever saw were those he did during the Lakers’ championship runs of the late 80s.

Flash forward 20 years later and Olbermann has truly become our Edward R. Murrow, putting into prose courageous words that nevertheless speak the truth.

With that, here are his extraordinary words on the fifth anniversary of 9/11… Video is here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=6LylYbeLyMI

OLBERMANN: And lastly tonight, a special comment on why we are here. Half a lifetime ago I worked in the now empty space behind me. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what had happened and was yet to happen, as a reporter. And all the time I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my own friends, two in the planes and as I discovered from the missing posters, seared still into my soul, two more in the towers. And I knew as well that this is the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize for me this was and is and always shall be personal, and anyone who claims that I and others like me are soft or have forgotten the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic dilettante and at worst an idiot, whether he is a commentator or a vice president or a president.

However, of all the things of those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast, of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds, none of us could have predicted this. Five years later this space is still empty. Five years later there is no memorial to the dead. Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us by cowards and criminals. Five years later this country‘s wound is still open. Five years later this country‘s mass grave is still unmarked. Five years later this is still just a background for a photo op. It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial, barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field, Mr. Lincoln said, “We cannot dedicate. We cannot consecrate. We cannot hallow this ground. The brave men living and dead who struggled here have consecrated far above our poor power to add or detract.”

Lincoln used those words to immortal words to their sacrifice. Today they could use those words to rationalize their own reprehensible inaction. We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground, so they won‘t.
Instead they bicker and buck-pass. They thwart private efforts and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars and elaborate self-congratulations and buying off columnists to write you on good a job they‘re doing, instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets and look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres the terrorists are clearly still winning. And in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed, but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast-gaping hole in this city and in the fabric of our nation, there is its symbolism, of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath reduced to lazy execution. The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity here and throughout the country. The government, the president in particular, was given every possible measure of support. Those who did not belong to his party, tabled that. Those who doubted the mechanics of his election, ignored that. Those who wondered of his qualifications, forgot that.

History teaches you that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation‘s wounds, but to take political advantage.
Terrorists did not steal our newly regained sense of being American first and political 50th, nor did the democrats, nor did the media, nor did the people. The president and those around him did that.

They promised bipartisanship and then showed that to them bipartisanship meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow or be branded with ever escalating hysteria as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers. As those who, in the vice president‘s words, yesterday, “validate the strategy of the terrorists.”
They promised protection and then showed that to them protection meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al Qaeda as much as we did.
The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped in to supporting a war on the false premise it had something to do with 9/11, is “lying by implication.” The impolite phrase is “impeachable offense.”

Not once, in now five years, has this president ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space and to this the current and curdled version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness. Even his most virulent critics have never suggested that he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.

Half the time, in fact, this present has been so gently treated that he is seen not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.

Yet, what is happening this very night, the miniseries, created, influenced, possibly financed by the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavelli continues to be televised into our homes. The documented truths of the last 15 years are replaced by bold-faced lies, the talking points of the current regime parroted the whole sorry story blurred by spin to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent and the party in office seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President? After taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love and transmuting both into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear in to the campaign slogan of three elections. How dare you or those around you ever spin 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded, are still succeeding, as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero, so too have they succeeded and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to site a television program, especially one from March of 1960, but as Disney‘s continuing sell-out of the truth and of this country suggests, even television program can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called the “Twilight Zone” broadcast a riveting episode entitled “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.” In brief, a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extraterrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out, a neighbor pleads for calm, suddenly his car and only his car starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man‘s lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An alien is shot, but then he turns out to be just another neighbor returning from having gone from help.

The camera pulls back to a nearby hill where two extraterrestrial are seen, finally, manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there is no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it is themselves.

And then in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves, tonight. “The tools of conquest,” he said, “do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record,” he said, “prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own for the children and the children yet unborn.”

When those who dissent are told time and time again, as we will be if not tonight by the president, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus, that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use that any of that freedom we are somehow un-American. When we are scolded if we merely question, we have “forgotten the lessons of 9/11,” look in to this empty space behind me and the bipartisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me this—who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President. You have.
May this country forgive you.

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Message #1829 of 2187  *NEW*
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Chris Reed
Larry Levy  
Re: Olbermann on 9/11 Anniversary
9/13/06, 9:53am
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Wow. That’s a lot to dissect, but I’ll give it a go….

In sum, there’s enough blame to go around.

I agree that it is a travesty that we do not have a memorial yet at the WTC site. I agree with Olbermann that this should be hallowed ground and we should never build anything other than a memorial there. We would never think of an office building at Gettysburg, nor should we at Ground Zero. No matter what land values are in Manhattan, it’s just wrong to build anything else on that spot. Could we ever conceive of a shopping center at Pearl Harbor? I think not.

The fact is the City of New York, and not the President, cannot agree on a design for a memorial. All plans so far include an office building along with a memorial, and that’s just wrong, in my opinion. There is a question whether or not the President could sign an Executive Order designating the site as a National Monument. If so, President Bush, or his successor should do so. If this is so, the President deserves part of the blame.

Olbermann goes on to talk about the President’s shortcomings in regards to the war on terror, yet Olbermann would be among those who are against the Patriot Act and racial profiling. In other words, Mr. Bush, protect us to the limits we will allow and if we get hit again, shame on you.

The fact is in regards to 9/11, our government dropped the ball. This isn’t the first time, and I again cite Pearl Harbor and all the ignored warnings that led up to it as another example. Yes, President Bush and those around him deserve some of the blame, but also save some blame for Congress and for the previous administration. In spite of President Clinton’s statements to the contrary, it is well settled that we had the chance to get Bin Laden and did not. The recently aired docudrama is not the first time this has been depicted. As usual our government placed political appearances and questionable diplomatic alliances over protecting the American People. That wasn’t the first time and unfortunately it won’t be the last. But as usual those on the left blame the current administration and conveniently stop there. I have to admit I am guilty of the same in regards to mistakes I believe the previous administration made. This is just human nature, short-sighted as it may be. Mea culpa.

In summary, we need to stop playing the blame game and deal with the fact that the world was forever changed on that September morning. We need to properly mourn the dead and then work together to insure this doesn’t happen again.

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" I lift up mine eyes to the hills, whence cometh my help.", Psalm 121
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Message #1830 of 2187  *NEW*
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Larry Levy
Rob Reed  
Re: Olbermann on 9/11 Anniversary
9/13/06, 3:17pm
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As much as I liked Olberman's speech, I liked your post.

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"Treat the Earth not as if it was given to you by your parents, but as if it was lent to you by your children." - Kenyan Proverb

"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw
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Message #1831 of 2187  *NEW*
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Rob Reed
Larry Levy  
Re: Olbermann on 9/11 Anniversary
9/13/06, 4:55pm
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>As much as I liked Olberman's speech, I liked your post.

Thanks.

By the way, Senator Kerry will be speaking here at Pepperdine next Monday afternoon at 2:00 PM.

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" I lift up mine eyes to the hills, whence cometh my help.", Psalm 121
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Message #1832 of 2187  *NEW*
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Larry Levy
Chris Reed  
Re: Olbermann on 9/11 Anniversary
9/14/06, 11:36am
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>In spite of President Clinton’s
>statements to the contrary, it is well settled that we had the
>chance to get Bin Laden and did not. The recently aired
>docudrama is not the first time this has been depicted. As
>usual our government placed political appearances and
>questionable diplomatic alliances over protecting the American
>People.

Revisionist history without context.... That ABC special really was Kool Aid...

Saying Clinton could have gotten Bin Laden is akin to saying Reagan could have gotten Bin Laden, or Bush Sr. could have gotten Bin Laden.

And the fact that is being obscured by the Karl Rove smokescreen is this: Five years after 9/11, Bush has still not gotten Bin Laden ... and is barely trying to do so now.
No matter how much people may try, that's not something you can blame on Clinton.

Fact is, Clinton tried to get Bin Laden… even performed an unpopular bombing on Afghanistan. But what thwarted him was a Republican congress that was more worried about stopping Clinton from getting a blow job than stopping Bin Laden from blowing up the Twin Towers.

How quickly people forget the GOP cries of “Wag the Dog,” saying Clinton’s efforts against Bin Laden were an attempt to deflect from the Lewinsky scandal. The real deflection was by the GOP, dragging our country down in tabloid mud and away from something that potentially could, and did, damage the country: Osama Bin Laden.

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Message #1833 of 2187  *NEW*
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Chris Reed
Larry Levy  
Re: Olbermann on 9/11 Anniversary
9/14/06, 12:02pm
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Like I said, there's enough blame to go around and enough mud slinging on both sides of the aisle....That's nothing new and it dosn't accomplish anything, but that's politics.

Bin Laden was just another wealthy Saudi when Reagan was around...We probably even supported his efforts in Afganistan against the Soviets.

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" I lift up mine eyes to the hills, whence cometh my help.", Psalm 121
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Message #1834 of 2187  *NEW*
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Chris Reed
Rob Reed  
Re: Olbermann on 9/11 Anniversary
9/14/06, 12:36pm (Last Edited: 9/14/06, 12:36pm)
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>Fact is, Clinton tried to get Bin Laden… even performed an
>unpopular bombing on Afghanistan. But what thwarted him was a
>Republican congress that was more worried about stopping
>Clinton from getting a blow job than stopping Bin Laden from
>blowing up the Twin Towers.

Well, really, if you take an unbiased look at this one... no blow job, no thwarting any more than usual (i.e., no impeachment proceedings).

>How quickly people forget the GOP cries of “Wag the Dog,”
>saying Clinton’s efforts against Bin Laden were an attempt to
>deflect from the Lewinsky scandal. The real deflection was by
>the GOP, dragging our country down in tabloid mud and away
>from something that potentially could, and did, damage the
>country: Osama Bin Laden.

Bottom line... you can't blame anybody. Like it or not, Osama (or one of his cronies) would have gotten to us, even if we took Osama down (in fact, were we to have done this, this would have been the impetus for even quicker response, I would suspect).

And, unfortunately, we will get hit again.

--------------------------------------------------------
"Treat the Earth not as if it was given to you by your parents, but as if it was lent to you by your children." - Kenyan Proverb

"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw
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