Keith Olbermann on what Bush has wrought

"The impolite phrase is 'impeachable offense.'"

Published September 12, 2006 1:53PM (EDT)

Keith Olbermann began his commentary Monday night remembering what it was like to breathe air that "contained the remains" of thousands of strangers and four of his friends. He ended it with words and images from "The Twilight Zone." Somewhere in between -- somewhere before he started quoting Rod Serling -- Olbermann delivered the sort of probing, reality-based post-9/11 assessment we got from neither ABC nor the president of the United States:

"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.'"

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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9/11 George W. Bush Keith Olbermann War Room