Olbermann: Bush Administration 'A New Type of Fascism'
Looking back, it all seems so predictable. The relentless criticism, the countless sneering jabs from Keith Olbermann directed at the Bush administration were building to an inexorable climax. It came tonight. Olbermann flatly accused the Bush administration of representing "a new type of fascism."
Though the denouement was inevitable, the proximate cause of Olbermann's tirade was Donald Rumsfeld's speech to the American Legion on Tuesday in which he suggested that opponents of the war in Iraq have adopted the same attitude that slowed a military response to Hitler. Rumsfeld asserted that radical Islam represents "a new type of fascism."
Olbermann's oration came in a 'Special Comment' segment ending this evening's show. He spoke in melodramatic tones and an aura of exceeding gravitas that he undermined when in a preceding segment he alluded to Rumsfeld's speech as "baby poop." Annotated excerpts:
"Mr. Rumsfeld made an apt historical analogy except that he has the battery plugged in backwards. His government, absolute and exclusive in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one that stood up to the Nazis. It is the modern version of the government [dramatic pause] of Neville Chamberlain."
The government that routed the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, that deposed Saddam Hussein, that stood by Israel in its fight against Hezbollah is the modern-day equivalent of Chamberlain's appeasement? People are entitled to their opinions on Iraq. But to describe the Bush administration's record as one of appeasement is simply nonsense. Surely Olbermann must acknowledge that his fundamental criticism of Bush has been an alleged excess of militarism, not the appeasing dearth thereof.
"This is a democracy. Still. And sometimes just barely."
That Olbermann obviously feels free to go on the air and accuse the sitting President of the United States of fascism is the best counter-evidence to this melodramatic accusation.
"From Iraq, to Katrina, to flu vaccine shortages, to the entire fog of fear which continues to envelope our nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and their cronies have - inadvertently or intentionally - profited and benefitted both personally and politically."
"Fog of fear"? See discussion above regarding our "barely" clinging to democracy. Americans fearlessly go about their lives every day. But the fact is that there exists a worldwide Islamo-fascist enterprise whose goal is to kill us and destroy Western civilization.
"With what country has he confused the United States of America? The confusion we as its citizens must now address is stark and forbidding. The variations of it have faced our forfathers when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis Lemay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note, with hope in your heart, that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light and we can too. The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense and this administration are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek, the destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City so valiantly fought."
Olbermann then moved to his peroration: "But about Mr. Rumsfeld's other main assertion - that this country faces 'a new type of fascism' - as he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that, though probably not in the way he thought he meant it. This country faces a new type of fascism, indeed."
Olbermann's wrongheadedness is not merely sad nor simply angering. When America and the West are engaged in a fight for their survival, for Olbermann and his ilk to see as the fascist enemy our government, rather than those who indeed seek to destroy our civilization, is nothing less than dangerous.
Video available at Crooks & Liars.
Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts 'Right Angle,' an award-winning public-access TV show. Contact him at email@example.com