Olbermann Accuses Bush of 'Impeachable' 'Lies' and 'Crime Against' 9/11 Victims

At the very end of Monday's Countdown show, during his latest "Special Comment" (also posted on his Bloggermann Web site) attacking the Bush administration, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann unleashed one of his most vitriolic attacks on the President, accusing him of "lying by implication" to get America into a "fraudulent war" with "needless death" in Iraq, which Olbermann referred to as "an impeachable offense." Olbermann: "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.'" He also bizarrely seemed to blame President Bush for the delays in building a memorial at Ground Zero, as he branded Bush's "reprehensible inaction" as a "crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you [Bush] mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it." After accusing the President of "forgetting the lessons of 9/11," Olbermann obnoxiously concluded: "May this country forgive you." (Transcript follows)

Video of the last two-thirds of Olbermann's nearly nine-minute long rant (5:45): Real (4.4 MB at 100 kbps) or Windows Media (3.7 MB at 81 kbps), plus MP3 audio (2 MB)

In one of the plugs for the segment, Olbermann referred to the "unmistakable lies" of the administration: "Ahead, a special comment on the symbolism of this day at Ground Zero. What is, five years later, still an empty pit mirroring the empty promises of this administration to unite us, and also its unmistakable lies."

Olbermann introduced the "Special Comment" segment by recounting his experiences at Ground Zero and recollections of friends he lost there as he tried to preempt possible arguments of those who might criticize him, suggesting the words "dilettante" or "idiot" might apply to the President Bush or Vice President Cheney. Olbermann: "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.

The Countdown host soon moved on to complain that there was still no memorial at Ground Zero, which he contended is "still just a background for a photo-op" and "beyond shameful." Referring to the "reprehensible inaction" of "our leaders," Olbermann seemed to implicate Bush in the failure to build a 9/11 memorial as he referred to spending money on "irrelevant wars": "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."

Olbermann then invited Bush to look at Ground Zero, implying that because there is still no monument that "the terrorists are clearly still winning," and accused Bush of a "crime against every victim here." Olbermann: "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."

The Countdown host soon brought up impeachment as he went on to complain about being "duped" into supporting the Iraq invasion: "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.'"

Turning to his displeasure with ABC's controversial 'Path to 9/11' movie series, Olbermann he contended that it was "possibly financed by the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis" as he complained of the "talking points of the current regime" being "parroted." Addressing the President again, he accused the administration of "using 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans." Olbermann: "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 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."

Olbermann also bizarrely found it insightful to compare the present situation in America to an old episode of The Twilight Zone in which aliens invaded Earth by scaring people into suspecting each other of being aliens in disguise, which provoked people to start killing each other, during which an alien leader observed 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."

Olbermann concluded by accusing the President of "forgetting the lessons of 9/11" and asking: "Who has left this hole in the ground? We have not forgotten, Mr. President. You have. May this country forgive you."

Just before a commericial break at 8:16pm EDT, Olbermann plugged the segment, "Ahead, a special comment on the symbolism of this day at Ground Zero. What is, five years later, still an empty pit mirroring the empty promises of this administration to unite us, and also its unmistakable lies."

Below is a complete transcript from the September 11 Countdown of Olbermann's "Special Comment," which the MSNBC host delivered at 8:51pm EDT, just minutes before the beginning of Bush's Address to the Nation:

"And lastly tonight, a special comment on why we are here. Half a lifetime ago, I worked in that now-empty space behind me. 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. And all of 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 those missing posters seared still into my soul, two more in the Towers. And I knew as well 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 own reprehensible inaction. 'We cannot dedicate, we cannot 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 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 now 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 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 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 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 miniseries, 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 both 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 of 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.' [over black and white video of the TV episode] 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 for help. The camera pulls back to a nearby hill, where two extraterrestrials 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 any of that freedom, 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 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.

"Our coverage of the President's address is next. From Ground Zero, I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."