So lemme get the funny stuff out of the way first with this Simpsons quote:
Brother Faith: Oh, Good Lord! [audience cheers] Oh, I feel it in my belly now, Springfield. Unh! Can you feel the power?
Faith: Do you want to be saved?
Faith: Now correct me if I’m incorrect, but was I told it’s untrue that people in Springfield have no faith? Was I not misinformed?
[miscellaneous mumbling sounds from the audience]
The answer I’m looking for is, “yes.”
With, of course, the wonderful Don Cheadle playing Brother Faith, and Bart becoming a faith healer himself by removing the bucket from Homer’s head.
I was reminded of that scene, in which I don’t even know how to count up the negatives, when I read a statement from Chuck Hagel that is stirring in its intent, if not its syntax:
“To question your government is not unpatriotic — to not question your government is unpatriotic,” Hagel said, arguing that 58,000 troops died in Vietnam because of silence by political leaders. “America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices.”
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld joined other administration officials yesterday in attacking critics of the Iraq war for attempting to “rewrite” history, warning that setting an arbitrary deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops could “give terrorists the false hope that if they can simply hold on long enough, that they can outlast us.”
They can outlast us. They live there. Did we learn anything from Vietnam other than PR techniques?
(And of course this is granting the false dichotomy, calling people who see themselves as defenders of their own land “terrorists”, and people whom the world sees as defending corporate profits “liberators”.)
At the same time, Rumsfeld acknowledged what he called honest mistakes in the Bush administration’s prewar intelligence on Iraq. “There’s no doubt in my mind that people made honest mistakes in … the pieces of that intelligence that were presented at the United Nations,” he said at a news briefing.
There he goes again, blaming Powell. I agree Powell lied. I’d call him an international war criminal. But these weren’t honest mistakes and Rumsfeld knows it. They weren’t “people’s” mistakes, they were his lies.
Rumsfeld also pointed to congressional actions in 1998 and 2002 calling for Hussein’s removal. But the 1998 law, signed by Clinton, said “nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to use of United States Armed Forces” to implement it.
When, as a politician, the Washington Post is calling bullshit on you, you’re in trouble.
But real trouble is when Fox News and Democrats tell the truth:
Vice President Dick Cheney jumped into the fray Wednesday by assailing Democrats who contend the Bush administration manipulated intelligence on Iraq, calling their criticism “one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.”
[Rep. John] Murtha [D-Pa], a Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam, angrily shot back at Cheney: “I like guys who’ve never been there that criticize us who’ve been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.”
Referring to Bush, Murtha added: “I resent the fact, on Veterans Day, he criticized Democrats for criticizing them.”