Olbermann blasts President Bush for suggesting that electing a Democrat as president means “another attack on the United States.” Olbermann also questions Bush's claim that he gave up golf out of empathy for fallen U.S. soldiers.
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
May 14, 2008
OLBERMANN: Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment on two topics a lot of us had foolishly thought, and had naively hoped, we would not again have to address, and a third topic nobody thought a President would ever seriously mention in public, unless perhaps he‘d just been hit in the head with something and was not in full possession of his faculties, how he expressed his empathy to the families of the dead in Iraq by giving up golf.
The President has resorted anew to the sleaziest fear-mongering and mass manipulation of an administration of a public life dedicated to realizing the lowest of our expectations. And he has now applied these poisons to the 2008 presidential election, on behalf of the party at whose center he and Mr. McCain lurk.
Mr. Bush has predicted that the election of a Democratic president could, quote, “eventually lead to another attack on the United States.”
This ludicrous, infuriating, holier-than-thou and most importantly bone-headedly wrong statement came yesterday during an interview with Politico.com and online users of Yahoo. The question was phrased as follows: “If we were to pull out of Iraq next year, what‘s the worst that could happen, what‘s the doomsday scenario?”
The President replied: “Doomsday scenario of course is that extremists throughout the Middle East would be emboldened, which would eventually lead to another attack on the United States.
“The biggest issue we face is, it‘s bigger than Iraq, it‘s this ideological struggle against cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives.”
Mr. Bush, at long last, has it not dawned on you that the America you have now created, includes ‘cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives‘? They are those in, or formerly in, your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes. Through your haze of self-congratulation and self-pity, do you still have no earthly clue that this nation has laid waste to Iraq to achieve your political objectives?
‘This ideological struggle‘ you speak of, Mr. Bush, is taking place within this country. It is a struggle between Americans who cherish freedom, ours and everybody else‘s, and Americans like you, sir, to whom freedom is just a brand name, just like “Patriot Act” is a brand name or “Protect America” is a brand name.
But wait, there‘s more.
You also said “Iraq is the place where al Qaeda and other extremists have made their stand and they will be defeated.”
They made no “stand” in Iraq, sir. You allowed them to assemble there! As certainly as if that were the plan, the borders were left wide open by your government‘s farcical post-invasion strategy of ‘they‘ll greet us as liberators'.
And as certainly as if that were the plan, the inspiration for another generation of terrorists in another country was provided by your government‘s farcical post-invasion strategy of letting the societal infrastructure of Iraq dissolve, to be replaced by an American Vice-Royalty enforced by merciless mercenaries who shoot unarmed Iraqis and then evade prosecution in any country by hiding behind your skirts, sir.
Terrorism inside Iraq is your creation, Mr. Bush!
It was a Yahoo user who brought up the second topic, upon whose introduction Mr. Bush should have passed, or punted, or gotten up and left the room, claiming he heard Dick Cheney calling him.
“Do you feel,” asked an ordinary American, “that you were misled on Iraq?”
“I feel like—I felt like there were weapons of mass destruction. You know, “mislead” is a strong word, it almost connotes some kind of intentional—I don‘t think so, I think there was a—not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was.”
Flawed? You, Mr. Bush, and your tragically know-it-all minions, threw out every piece of intelligence that suggested there were no such weapons. You, Mr. Bush, threw out every person who suggested that the sober, contradictory, reality-based intelligence needed to be listened to, and damn fast. You, Mr. Bush, are responsible for how “intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment.”
You and the sycophants you dredged up and put behind the most important steering wheel in the world propagated palpable nonsense and shoved it down the throat of every intelligence community across the world, and punished everybody who didn‘t agree it was really chicken salad.
And you, Mr. Bush, threw under the bus all of the subsequent critics who bravely stepped forward later to point out just how much of a self-fulfilling prophecy you had embraced, and adopted as this country‘s policy, in lieu of, say, common sense.
The fiasco of pre-war intelligence, sir, is your fiasco.
You should build a great statue of yourself turning a deaf ear to the warnings of the realists, while you are shown embracing the three-card monte dealers, like Richard Perle and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. That would be a far more fitting tribute to your legacy, Mr. Bush, than this Presidential library you are constructing as a giant fable about your presidency, an edifice you might as claim was built from Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, because there will be just as many of those inside your Presidential library as there were inside Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq.
Of course, if there is one over-riding theme to this president‘s administration it is the utter, always-failing, inability to know when to quit when it is behind. And so Mr. Bush answered yet another question about this layered, nuanced, wheels-within-wheels garbage heap that constituted his excuse for war.
“And so you feel that you didn‘t have all the information you should have or the right spin on that information?”
“No, no,” replied the President. “I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction.”
The insane informant “Curveball?”
The Iraqi snake-oil salesman Ahmed Chalabi?
The American snake-oil salesman Dick Cheney?
“I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction, as were members of Congress, who voted for the resolution to get rid of Saddam Hussein.
“And of course, the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes.”
Mr. Bush, you destroyed the evidence that contradicted the resolution you jammed down the Congress‘s throat, the way you jammed it down the nation‘s throat. When required by law to verify that your evidence was accurate, you simply re-submitted it, with phrases amounting to “See, I done proved it,” virtually written in the margins in crayon. You defied patriotic Americans to say “The Emperor Has No Clothes” only this time with the stakes—as you and the mental dwarves in your employ put it—being a “mushroom cloud over an American city.”
And as a final crash of self-indulgent nonsense, when the incontrovertible truth of your panoramic and murderous deceit has even begun to cost your political party seemingly perpetual Congressional seats in places like North Carolina and, last night, Mississippi, you can actually say with a straight face, sir, that the members of Congress, “the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes,” while you greet the political heat and try to run and hide from your presidency, and your legacy.
Four thousand of the Americans you were supposed to protect are dead in Iraq, with your only feeble, pathetic answer being, “I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction.”
Then came Mr. Bush‘s final blow to our nation‘s solar plexus, his last re-opening of our common wounds, his last remark that makes the rest of us question not merely his leadership or his judgment but his very suitably to remain in office.
“Mr. President,” he was asked, “you haven‘t been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?
“Yes,” began perhaps the most startling reply of this nightmarish blight on our lives as Americans, on our history.
“It really is. I don‘t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as—to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”
Golf sends the wrong signal to the grieving families of our men and women butchered in Iraq?
Do you think these families, Mr. Bush, their lives blighted forever, care about you playing golf?
Do you think, sir, they care about you?
You, Mr. Bush, you who let their sons and daughters be killed. Sir, to show your solidarity with them you gave up golf? Sir, to show your solidarity with them you didn‘t give up your pursuit of this insurance-scam, profiteering, morally and financially bankrupting war. Sir, to show your solidarity with them you didn‘t even give up talking about Iraq, a subject about which you have incessantly proved without pause or backwards glance, that you may literally be the least informed person in the world?
Sir, to show your solidarity with them, you didn‘t give up your presidency? In your own words “solidarity as best as I can” is to stop a game? That is the “best” you can?
Four thousands Americans give up their lives and your sacrifice was to give up golf!
And still it gets worse.
Because it proves that the President‘s unendurable sacrifice, his unbearable pain, the suspension of getting to hit a stick with a ball, was not even his own damned idea.
“Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?”
“I remember when de Mello was killed, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man‘s life. And I was playing golf—I think I was in central Texas—and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it‘s just not worth it any more to do.”
Your one, tone-deaf, arrogant, pathetic, embarrassing gesture, and you didn‘t even think of it yourself? The great Bushian sacrifice, an Army private loses a leg, a Marine loses half his skull, four thousand of their brothers and sisters lose their lives, you lose golf and they have to pull you off the golf course to get you to just do that?
If it‘s even true.
Apart from your medical files, which dutifully record your torn calf muscle and the knee pain which forced you to give up running at the same time, coincidence no doubt, the bombing in Baghdad which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello of the UN and interrupted your round of golf, was on August 19th, 2003.
Yet there‘s an Associate Press account of you and photographs playing golf as late as Columbus Day of that year, October 13th, nearly two months later. Mr. Bush, I hate to break it to you six-and-a-half years after you yoked this nation and your place in history to the wrong war, in the wrong place, against the wrong people, but the war in Iraq is not about you!
It is not, Mr. Bush, about your grief when American after American comes home in a box. It is not, Mr. Bush, about what your addled brain has produced in the way of paranoid delusions of risks that do not exist, ready to be activated if some Democrat, and not your twin, Mr. McCain, succeeds you.
The war in Iraq, your war, Mr. Bush, is about how you accomplished the derangement of two nations, and how you helped funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to lascivious and perennially thirsty corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater, and how you sent 4,000 Americans to their deaths for nothing.
It is not, Mr. Bush, about your golf game!
And, sir, if you have any hopes that next January 20th will not be celebrated as a day of soul-wrenching, heart-felt Thanksgiving, because your faithless stewardship of this presidency will have finally come to a merciful end, this last piece of advice: when somebody asks you, sir, about Democrats who must now pull this country back from the abyss you have placed us at—when somebody asks you, sir, about the cooked books and faked threats you foisted on a sincere and frightened nation—when somebody asks you, sir, about your gallant, noble, self-abnegating sacrifice of your golf game so as to soothe the families of the war dead; this advice, Mr. Bush: shut the hell up!
Good night, and good luck.