Thursday, August 31, 2006

Quote of the day

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. 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.
Edward R. Murrow, 1954, as cited by Keith Olbermann, in a wonderfully written piece on Secretary Rumsfeld’s laughably un-American speech given to the American Legion earlier this week. Lots of points worth considering.


  1. Interesting how a member of the mainstream media confuses opinion with objectivity as he piously stands before the cameras and points fingers at others for offering an opinion.

  2. Oh, come now. One commentator has an obligation to defend the Constitution, the other is protected by it. It's disingenous (to say the least) to suggest that all Rumsfeld was doing was voicing an opinion, when his opinion was to question the patriotism of the majority of the country who dare express their own opinion (which happens to disagree with the President).

    It sure sounds good to couch this in terms of media bias, but the reality - that Rumsfeld actually understands the complexities in Iraq right now and prefers to couch the conflict in simplistic terms that betray his Constitutional oath and his obligations to the country - is much uglier.

    This is no different than the Bush campaign requiring campaign rally attendees to sign loyalty oaths. President Bush (and, it would seem, many in his cabinet) appear to belive that they are entitled to our unquestioning support. It's the Constitution that enjoys that rare privilege; our obligation as patriots is to question our leaders when they fail to live up to our expectations. For Rumsfeld to suggest otherwise is unconscionable.

  3. Did you even hear or read Rumsfeld's speech? Please show me where he "questioned the patriotism" of anyone.

    By the way, I like how the left's talking points these days include "a majority of Americans oppose the war"... when the very same polls showed a majority supported the war for the last few years and the left wasn't putting any credence in those polls then.

    Rely when convenient.

  4. Jason, I just reread the speech. He repeatedly equates opposition to President Bush with the "Blame America First" meme (something I'm certainly not doing). His fourth question suggests that those of us who disagree with the President are in fact seeking to establish that the US is the source of the world's problems. (again, not me.) At one point he says, "It seems that in some quarters there's more of a focus on dividing our country than acting with unity against the gathering threats."

    Anyway, let's keep this to what Rumsfeld did or didn't say and what I am or am not entitled to say about it. I'm not casting a wide net and tarring the entire "right" any more than you should be responding to "the left's talking points". I stood up for what I believed in when I argued that Bush was not making us any safer by invading Iraq, and I continue to feel that today. In a country where 50% + 1 vote gets you elected to the highest office in the land, surely the fact that nearly 60% are in fact opposed to the current prosecution of the war is an opinion worth acknowledging? If the majority's opinion _then_ meant Bush was right to invade Iraq, what does it mean now that they feel differently?

    For the record, insofar as it matters: I didn't agree with the President when we invaded Iraq. But he's my President, they're my troops, and I supported them without hestitation. I'm not Blaming America First, I'm not seeking to divide the country: I'm simply stating what I feel to be an obligation of a Cabinet member in our President's administration.

  5. "surely the fact that nearly 60% are in fact opposed to the current prosecution of the war is an opinion worth acknowledging?"

    Absolutely. But it must also be acknowledged that in the 60% who oppose "the current prosecution" include people like me who think more action should be taken, not less.

    "At one point he says, “It seems that in some quarters there’s more of a focus on dividing our country than acting with unity against the gathering threats.”"

    And he's right. In some quarters, that's absolutely true.

    And when he speaks of the "blame america first" crowd, he's referring to a meme of moral relativism that seems popular on the left. The idea that American policies are causing terrorism, that our possession of nuclear weapons precludes us from preventing others from obtaining them, that our history of slavery precludes us from taking a moral high ground on issues of human rights, that our country being founded on the decimation of indians trumps any meaningful discussion we should be having on illegal immigration. This moral relativity bleeds over into foreign policy discussions whereby the genuine disagreement over whether Iraq was a good strategy or not becomes an avenue to use the opposition to the Iraq war as a basis for blaming America for increasing the threat of terrorism.

    Even the former President went so far as to "blame America" for being attacked on September 11 ,2001, claiming we were just "paying a price" for slavery and the killing of native Americans. Nevermind that radical murderers have decided their translations of the Koran include the mandate to kill all infidels... no, this has to somehow be of our own doing. Afterall, those kamikaze terrorists practice a "religion of peace".

  6. Dude. I just read that Clinton speech. Please tell me you read the whole paragraph? And that you realize that nowhere - *nowhere* - does he indicate that slavery and the killing of native Americans caused 9/11?

    The price he's referring to is not 9/11, it's racial tension. And the broader point was that terror divides a society... that the response to terrorism must be that "we will figure out how to defend ourselves and civilization will endure."

    Come on. You're better than that.

  7. [...] I noticed a meme emerging on the Left with respect to Rumsfeld’s speech Monday to the American Legion. My liberal friend (yes, I have a few tokens), Rick, called Rumsfeld’s speech “laughably un-American” while praising Keith Olberman’s laughably biased report about it. [...]