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Sorry to be a couple of days late on this, I think this is a great read.
Keith Olbermann is THE MAN.

This Hole in the Ground
By Keith Olbermann
MSNBC Countdown

Monday 11 September 2006

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.

Keith Olbermann on another great of journalist that he is being compared to:

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: "confused" or "immoral."

Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," he said, in 1954. "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."

And so good night, and good luck

Keith Olbermann speaks the words I cant.
 

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Funny how a guy who used to crack jokes on Sportscenter can end up writing an article as good as this one. He makes some solid points. I personally don't find myself nearly as outraged at the lack of a memorial or a new building only 5 years later (skyscrapers take a long time to design and construct, and when politics are in the way, they take even longer) as I am at the highjacking (no pun intended) of the public's emotions following the 9/11 attacks to justify an unrelated war, the political spin machine that can make half of the country think that the war in Iraq has anything, something, or everything to do with 9/11, and the other assorted lies (weapons of mass destruction, anyone?) told to trick the nation into supporting something that the current administration wanted to do, but weren't able to do until they could dishonestly manipulate the aftermath of a terrible attack into the justification needed to aquire the support of the public. Sadly, the uninformed believed what the government, again quite sadly, told them was the truth.

CBSNews said:
On September 4, 2002, CBSNEWS.com ran a bombshell of a story titled "Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11." The article stated that "barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq - even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks." The article cited "notes taken by aides who were with Rumsfeld in the National Military Command Center on Sept. 11."

CBSNEWS.com, "Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11," 9/4/02:

. . . at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." - meaning Saddam Hussein - "at same time. Not only UBL" - the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden . . . "Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
Related and not, indeed. Before the smoke from the falling towers had cleared, top-level Bush administration officials were planning to use the public's outrage as fuel for what they had wanted to do for a long time, namely removng "S.H." from power, despite the fact that, in Rumsfeld's own words, it was unrelated.

It worked perfectly, thanks in part to the American public's willful ignorance on matters of importance. The Rumsfeld quote story (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/09/04/september11/main520830.shtml) broke on mainstream American news less than a year after 9/11/01, yet hardly anyone could tell you what was said, much less allows it to impact their opinion on the war.

People will continue to believe that the war in Iraq is a retaliation for 9/11, that we are fighting for the people that died that day, and that the Bush administration is doing something honest, something noble, something right, and something we all should support, lest we "support the terrorists". Remember, you're either "for them or against them", you can either support the war or support terror. There is no in-between. You can't be outraged at 9/11 and Al Queda while condemning the war as dishonest and unrelated.

It's all so unbelievable sometimes...welcome to modern-day America.
 

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I agree that we're in a mess, and I agree that Bush is incompetent, but I have one thing to say about Iraq.

I think the strategy is to use Iraq as a venue in the war on terrorism.

Look at how terrorists are streaming into Iraq from around the Middle East, congregating in Iraq. It gives us a central location in which to fight them. Bush can't say that, because the Iraqi people wouldn't appreciate knowing that their turf is being used for this purpose -- that the Iraq invasion was not really about bringing democracy to Iraq.

I know the objection is going to be that we're "creating new terrorists" but I am not so sure. I think we are drawing existing terrorists there, at least I hope so.
 

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Why not just say, " I hate President Bush and blame him for everything I think is wrong in the world." This would save him much time in writing and us in reading.
Another article whinning without solutions, a pure waste of time.
Go organize a group to fill the hole with a peace monument, go join the military and go help end the war on terrorism, go vote in the next election. I offer these as solutions, lest i'm a hypocrit.
I think this President is doing a better job than the last one. Even though I didn't cre for the last President, I did not bad mouth him, I merely voted against him. Democracy is beautiful.
 

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UTRex said:
Why not just say, " I hate President Bush and blame him for everything I think is wrong in the world." This would save him much time in writing and us in reading.
I think it was directed criticism...

I think this President is doing a better job than the last one.
Care to elaborate?
 

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Care to elaborate?[/quote] Sure, because you asked.
- Does not have sex with interns, and then fire subordinates for doing the same.
- Does not waste time & money saying he didn't have sex with said intern.
- Does not grope young college girl in bar while Govenor and then hide behind body guards when boyfriend comes over to kick his rear and laugh about it.
- Treats his Secret Service detail with respect.
- Supports troops when in conflict and does not abandon them.
- Has not stolen numerous expensive items from the White House.

The last President did some great things for the economy and the county. My criticism is based mostly on his lack of integrity and moral courage. He could have bee recorded as on of our better leaders, but he will always be remembered for the numerous scandals.
 

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UTRex said:
- Does not have sex with interns, and then fire subordinates for doing the same.
- Does not waste time & money saying he didn't have sex with said intern.
- Does not grope young college girl in bar while Govenor and then hide behind body guards when boyfriend comes over to kick his rear and laugh about it.
- Treats his Secret Service detail with respect.
- Supports troops when in conflict and does not abandon them.
- Has not stolen numerous expensive items from the White House.

The last President did some great things for the economy and the county. My criticism is based mostly on his lack of integrity and moral courage. He could have bee recorded as on of our better leaders, but he will always be remembered for the numerous scandals.
I think this President is doing a better job than the last one.
Most of those are really anything to do with how the job is done. I would like to see evidence about how the Secret Service detail is treated, and I was unaware of items being stolen from the White House, I'm sure Clinton has enough money that he doesn't need to steal stuff.

Supporting the troops? You must mean extending the tours? What about the funding for safety for our troops that are in Iraq? Maybe calling up all the National Guard units (like the ones that should have been in NO during/after Katrina)?

I don't think we need to get into the integrity argument over Mr. Bush either...
 

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This blame Bush for everything sentiment is getting old.
I don't see the fact that there isn't a memorial up yet as being his fault. I just watched a show on PBS regarding the design of the memorial and construction on the site of the temporary subway station that was built at ground zero. There is a lot of controversy over the memorial. The reason it is taking so long is that no real agreement can be made as how to honor the dead.
I think that the people who have worked their asses off for the last 5 years to get the subway running under and around ground zero would be very offended at ESPN boy's commentary. Also, WTC7 was rebuilt. And it took a very concerted advertising effort to get groups and companies to lease the space in the new building.
Things are happening there. Building is going forward. Plans are in effect.
The Civil War happened at a very different time in our history. I wonder if Mr. Oberman did any research on Pearl Harbor when he wrote his peice. Certainly, it can be said that the bombing of Pearl Harbor is the closest even in the history of the United States to the attacks on September 11.
On December 7, 1941, 1177 crewman on the USS Arizona lost their lives.
Here is a little history of the USS Arizona Memorial:

"The USS Arizona Memorial grew out of wartime desire to establish some sort of memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those who died in the attack. Suggestions for such a memorial began in 1943, but it wasn't until 1949, when the Territory of Hawaii established the Pacific War Memorial Commission, that the first real steps were taken to bring it about.

Initial recognition came in 1950 when Admiral Arthur Radford, Commander in Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC), ordered that a flagpole be erected over the sunken battleship. On the ninth anniversary of the attack, a commemorative plaque was placed at the base of the flagpole.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who helped achieve Allied victory in Europe during World War II, approved the creation of the Memorial in 1958. Its construction was completed in 1961 with public funds appropriated by Congress and private donations. The Memorial was dedicated in 1962."
-Taken from the National Park Service official website.

21 years to complete the memorial. Of course, we were distracted with other things (WWII) at the time, just as we are with the whole mid-east debacle.
So, pardon my intolerance of all this Anti-Bush sentiment. I surely do not agree with everything that has happened during his administration. But at the same time, blaming Bush for everything is silliness.
I think it will take many years before we fully begin to understand what has happened over the last 25 years. The complexity of this war goes well beyond the last 5 years. You have to go all the way back to the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI to even start to understand the relationship between the middle east and the west.

Keith Oberman has done a fine job of throwing gasoline on a fire that showed no signs of diminishing in the first place.
 

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Most of those are really anything to do with how the job is done. I would like to see evidence about how the Secret Service detail is treated, and I was unaware of items being stolen from the White House, I'm sure Clinton has enough money that he doesn't need to steal stuff.

Talk with the Secret Service people who worked under both Presidents. They won't say much, but what they will tell you is enough to know they are treated much better. eg. Not having to contract frostbite while the President finishes a card game in his limo. Laura Bush frequently takes coffee to the guys outside and thanks them for what they do.

The Clintons do have plenty of money. They get a large sum for renting a home to the Secret Service.

Supporting the troops? You must mean extending the tours? What about the funding for safety for our troops that are in Iraq? Maybe calling up all the National Guard units (like the ones that should have been in NO during/after Katrina)?

The Clintons asked if all military people at the White House would not wear their uniforms because they found them offensive.
Tours and rotations are heavy, but what choice do we have? Draft? Quit because we are tired? Send fewer people? We are doing to best we can with what we have.
Funding for safety? Please explain. We have better body armor, we are converting Humvees with armor, we have more armored vehicles, more IED defeating devices, and more air cover. Remember what happened in Mogadishu? The Combatant Commander asked for armored vehicles to deal with the threat and was denied based on the Commander in Chief's tactical assestment. It would look bad to the politcal world to have armored vehicles. I wonder how bad the coffins of dead Rangers looked.
Calling up all the National Guard units? They are there and have been there since day one. Most soldiers in the Guard have deployed 2-4 times already and are glad to serve. The Guard was in NO. They comprised the bulk of the force. Gen. Honoree showed up and took credit for what they did.

I don't think we need to get into the integrity argument over Mr. Bush either...[/quote]

My view is very slanted because of my position. If I were on Welfare it would probably be different.
It appears you get your information from the news and internet. Try digging a bit deeper and go talk to people who are or have been there. It's an entirely different picture.
 
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