[Vision2020] "we have not forgotten, mr. president"

Debbie Gray graylex at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 13 20:50:51 PDT 2006

Very moving words....

> "We Have Not Forgotten, Mr. President."
> The Nation
> Mon Sep 11, 9:49 PM ET
> The Nation -- Keith Olbermann is without a doubt the
> best news anchor on
> television today. Two weeks ago, echoing the spirit
> of the legendary
> Edward R. Murrow, Olbermann took Donald Rumsfeld to
> task for comparing
> critics of the Iraq war to Nazi appeasers. Tonight,
> broadcasting live from
> above a desolate and still demolished Ground Zero,
> Olbermann delivered a
> stirring eight minute commentary indicting the Bush
> Administration's
> shameful and tragic response to 9/11. The entire
> speech is worth watching
> and reading, so I'm posting the full text below.
> Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty
> space. And for 40 days
> after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to
> make sense of what
> happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.
> All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed
> contained the remains of
> thousands of people, including four of my friends,
> two in the planes and
> -- as I discovered from those "missing posters"
> seared still into my soul
> -- two more in the Towers.
> And I knew too, that this was 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 that, 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 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 it, far above our poor power to add or
> detract."
> Lincoln used those words to immortalize their
> sacrifice.
> Today our leaders could use those same words to
> rationalize their
> reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can
> not consecrate, we can
> not hallow this ground." So we 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 how 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 us 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 come and steal our newly-regained
> sense of being
> American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the
> Democrats. Nor did
> the media. Nor did the people.
> The President -- and those around him -- did that.
> They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that
> to them,
> "bi-partisanship" 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 now learn from our own Senate Intelligence
> Committee, hated
> al-Qaida as much as we did.
> The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped
> into supporting a war,
> on the false premise that 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, curdled, version of our beloved
> country.
> Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final
> candle of respect and
> fairness: even his most virulent critics have never
> suggested he alone
> bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.
> Half the time, in fact, this President has been so
> gently treated, that he
> has seemed not even to be the man most responsible
> for anything in his own
> administration.
> Yet what is happening this very night?
> A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly
> financed by -- the most
> radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis,
> continues to be
> televised into our homes.
> The documented truths of the last fifteen years are
> replaced by bald-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 it into
> fraudulent war and needless
> death, after monstrously transforming it into fear
> and suspicion and
> turning that fear into 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 cite a television program,
> especially one from
> March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out
> of the truth (and this
> country) suggests, even television programs 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
> extra-terrestrials
> 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 he turns out to be just another
> neighbor, returning from going
> for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by hill,
> where two
> extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small
> device that can jam
> electricity. The veteran tells his novice that
> there's 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's 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 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, 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 any of it, we are
> somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if
> we merely question, we
> have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into
> this empty space behind
> me and the bi-partisanship upon which this
> administration also did not
> build, and tell me:
> Who has left this hole in the ground?
> We have not forgotten, Mr. President.
> You have.
> May this country forgive you.

> Copyright  2006 The Nation
> Copyright  2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
> Debbie
>   Debbie Gray      dgray at uidaho.edu
>   We must be willing to get rid of the life we've
> planned,
>   so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
> --Joseph Campbell

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