OLBERMANN: To this day, millions of Americans believe we invaded Iraq because of 9/11. A recent poll showed 33 percent still believe there was some interconnection between Saddam Hussein and the nightmares here and in Washington and in Pennsylvania. Iraq, of course, had nothing to do with 9/11, not then.
Six years later, that has changed. Iraq has distracted us from punishing those responsible for 9/11. If another 9/11 comes, our focus on Iraq will surely have been central to that next nightmare. How did we get here? What consequences have been paid by those who brought us here? Our number one story tonight, no one person is to blame. And only some of those who are even recognize it.
As we reported yesterday, former Secretary of State Powell tells “GQ Magazine” he is sorry he gave the world wrong information when he told the U.N. of the threat Iraq supposedly posed. He was not fired for having done so. He paid no price we know of, other than the admitted blot on his record and whatever toll his conscience has exacted.
Unrepentant, however, is former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, also talking to “GQ Magazine,” saying does he not lose sleep over the war, declining to apologize for it, despite pushing for it, despite using 9/11, the day after 9/11, for his own benefit, to pursue his goal of bombing Iraq. Rumsfeld, not fired for his performance but for politics, now in private life, reportedly trying to see how much he must tell to make for a profitable tell all.
Mr. Rumsfeld was served and the nation ill served by a flock of Pentagon hawks bent on war, seeing 9/11 not as an obligation to answer, but as an opportunity to exploit. Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who also tied Iraq to 9/11, who ridiculed warnings that we needed more troops to invade Iraq, not fired, named head of the World Bank until resigning in disgrace.
Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Pearl, not fired, forced to retire not for pushing the war, but for having allegedly profited off of it. Undersecretary Douglas Feith, who cherry picked anti-Iraq intel, not fired, despite a Pentagon report later refuting Feith‘s claim that Iraq and al Qaeda were in league.
And as you go higher in the administration, your reward for being wrong about this war grows proportionately. Deputy national security advisor Stephen Hadley, responsible for the 16-word lie about Iraqi pursuit of yellow cake from Niger, not fired, promoted to national security advisor. His boss, Condoleezza Rice, who threatened us with mushroom clouds, not fired, promoted to America‘s chief diplomat, secretary of state.
CIA Director George Tenant, who called the case for war a slam dunk, not fired, given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And within the president‘s circle of advisors, marketing the war, Andy Card and Dan Bartlett, neither fired. Card retired. Bartlett promoted, then retired. Karen Hughes, not fired, promoted, stunningly to the task of winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world.
Let us go higher still, Vice President Dick Cheney, creator of his cherry picking intel apparatus, gave its poisoned fruit to the media and then fed the lie to us on national television, even after truth and shame rendered its mendaciousness manifest. He continues to do so this day. Not fired.
Cheney‘s aide Lewis Libby came closest of all to suffering genuine consequences, convicted of covering up Mr. Cheney‘s role in slamming the critics of the war. His consequences nullified at the very last minute, when the president commuted his prison sentence, ensuring that no one in his circle, least of all him, paid any price for selling us the lie of Iraq, for failing to punish the bombing of the USS Coal, for neglecting the warnings pre-9/11, for turning back at Tora Bora, for ultimately ensuring that while the rest of the world suffers painful deadly consequences for his actions, only he does not.
Only he and one other, Osama bin lade Laden, the mastermind of 9/11. His reach and recruiting all benefiting from Mr. Bush‘s war. His group‘s strength today at a six-year high; his Afghan allies, the Taliban, as NBC reported last night, also resurgent, planning the deaths of Americans just 25 miles from Kabul. All while bin Laden himself operates freely, unmolested, with his own media operation, thanks to a regional Pakistani truce, endorsed by Mr. Bush, in a region where Mr. Bush will no go, cannot go, even if he chose to, because he spent so much American blood and treasure in the desert of a nation that had neither means nor motive to threaten us, but that tempted Mr. Bush and those around him who wished to transform the middle, so much so that he forswore the vow he made standing here, literally atop New York‘s dead, that their killers would hear us soon.
Six years later, we still hear them, because now, finally, Iraq and 9/11 really are connected by him. And we suffer the consequences. That‘s COUNTDOWN. This has been the 1,595th day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq. I‘m Keith Olbermann from Ground Zero; good night and good luck.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Olbermann on the Oberfuhrers
Forgive me for promoting someone else, and the same guy for that matter. But Keith Olbermann, who I wish I had become but instead spurned broadcasting for print, said the following last night. I wish I had said it.