Friday, March 24, 2006

Matthews Rips Bush On Imus

A friend of mine sent me the following e-mail this morning:
Did you hear Chris Matthews on Imus this morning??? He was great!!! He called Bush a liar. Repeatedly.
Now, I don't listen to Imus or watch him on MSNBC. But I was intrigued. Imus holds a lot of credibility with my and my friend's Connecticut Republican parents. He has a reputation for being independent-minded, and his interviews are known for getting honest and revealing responses from his guests. And this was our very own Tweety she was talking about. Could it really be?

So I wondered, where would I find a transcript or audio of the interview? But lo and behold, before I could even search, my friend's lifelong Republican mother (although she has recently abandoned Bush) sent me some choice quotes from the MSNBC website, below. It was hard to decide what to bold, since there's so much good stuff. Matthews is unflinching in his attacks...well, attacks isn't really the right word; it's more like Matthews is unflinching in his description of reality, a reality we here at kos have been complaining about for years. What's remarkable about Matthews saying these things on Imus is that this is the sort of forum wherein conventional wisdom is cemented. Fellow Kossacks, behold the new conventional wisdom:

Imus speaks to MSNBC's Chris Matthews about the decision to go to war in Iraq:

MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "I think the president made a big mistake this week, and maybe I'm the only one that caught it, but when he came out and said he never said that we went to Iraq because of what happened on 9/11, that Saddam was never involved in 9/11, that whole mentality, the whole culture, the country music, everything, was saying this was payback. We are getting them in Iraq because of what they did to us on 9/11, and now they come out and say I never claimed that. Well you know it's in the actual language of when he said to congress, I'm now going to pick you up on that authorization to go to war, but we are going to war tomorrow, this is in 2003 in March, we are going to war tomorrow and the reason we are going is because we are going to get the countries attacked us on 9/11 we are going to get them. He clearly said all along. The Darryl Worley song remember how you felt, and you know all that stuff, the Vice President saying that Saddam was involved in 9/11 again and again. To come out now and say I never said this was payback is B.S."

Imus: "Didn't they actually say, because we were talking about that as well, because the way they left it out... didn't he actually say that they harbored terrorists, and as I pointed out the way that people pay attention to the news, which is not as much as you and I do, it was easy for Americans to infer that he meant... and by the way they did these polls, as you well know, in which the majority of the American people actually thought that the people who flew the airplanes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and then the field in Pennsylvania actually came from Iraq, so while they didn't specifically say that they said that they harbored terrorists and the implication was... well you are right, but did he actually say that?"

Chris Matthews: "He said in the statement he gave to Congress when he said ok boys we are going to war tomorrow morning, in that statement he said I'm operating under the authorization that allows me to go after organizations or countries that attacked us on 9/11. Many times he said we can't distinguish between the people who attacked us on 9/11, we can't separate the two. The vice president was very clear, continually talking about coordination between the Iraqi intelligence and Muhammad Atta, who was the chief hijacker, it's right there in the tapes, and then Cheney comes out and denies it even though it's right on tape. Remember Gloria Borger interviewed him, I'm not sure if she was CBS at the time, but she interviewed him and he directly lied about it, and said that he did not say that. A number of times we have showed the tape and when he actually said exactly what he was denying on tape, we got the tape of what he was denying."


Imus: "I forgot who said this, it could have been Tom Friedman or, and I always thought that after September 11th, the administration wanted, maybe they always wanted to go to war with Iraq or whatever, but they wanted to demonstrate to the Muslim community and the Muslim world that we were not going to take that and that we were going to strike back at somebody and they picked what they thought was going to be the easiest target, they thought as that moron at the CIA said that it was a slam dunk. They went in there and instead of being greeted as liberators as the Vice President told Tim Russert a week before this thing started, they got in there and the thing blew up on him and they have been there three years trying to get out."

Chris Matthews: "Well I am just going to stick to this point that the president led us in there with the background music of American culture. Everybody was led to believe that we were getting payback, we were avenging what happened on 9/11 and that we are going to get them. Vice President Cheney said we are going to attack terrorism at its base. Over and over the language was, this is where it came from, in fact most recently the President suggested that it was always the hot pursuit, like a New York police chase, we chased them back into their country. We pursued the terrorists back to Iraq and it's all nonsense. The reason there are terrorists in Iraq today like Zarqawi is we created the opening by blowing the country apart. From the beginning it's been not true. Now you can't prove motive and you can't prove somebody lies, but from the beginning everything about how they've got WMD's, they are a threat to us, they are going to bomb us with a nuclear weapon, this country is going to be an easy liberate, it's going to be a cake walk. As Cheney said as recently as ten months ago the insurgents are in their last throws. Everything that is said is not true. And right to the end here, here we are now and it's not a civil war and when Allawi the prime Minster is saying it is a civil war and here is the president quoting his own people that it's not a civil war. I mean the denial has been continuous. So you really can't count on the administration to tell you what is going on. That is just the fact. You've got to check it out. By the way, the president said this week that he wants the whole truth about what is going on in Iraq, the whole truth and that the media isn't telling the whole story. I'll tell you what we are not telling. We are not showing pictures of the twenty five hundred bodies coming back because they won't let us show the pictures. They don't want the whole truth out and that's the fact."
Pretty stunning to think that these words came out of Matthews's mouth. He's always been right on the war but he's never before to my knowledge spoken this critically about the administration, although his growing contempt has been perceptible on Hardball recently.

This whole exchange reminds me of one of the more moving plotlines of the remarkable documentary Why We Fight. If you haven't seen it yet, please go out and see it. It is a searing indictment of the U.S.'s obsession with war since the creation of the military industrial complex post-WWII. In fact this term was coined by Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address to the nation in 1960 in which he warned us, with creepily prescient detail, about the merging of war and industry:

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

What elevates the film above just another history lesson (albeit one with a decidedly anti-war bent) is the inclusion of several smaller stories, all of which, in some way, reflect the premise of the film, which is that Eisenhower's warnings have indeed come to pass. The most moving of these is that of Wilton Sekzer, Retired officer, NYPD, whose son died on 9/11. All he wanted to do was retaliate against the killers of his son. So when George Bush sold the war in Iraq as part of the war on terror, as a direct response to 9/11, Mr. Sekzer emailed all branches of the armed forces to ask if his son's name could be written on a bomb to be dropped on Iraq. The Pentagon complied and Mr. Sekzer was informed of the date that the bomb was dropped. Imagine Mr. Sekzer's surprise, then, when Bush later acknowledged that there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11 and that he had never said there was. Mr. Sekzer's disillusion is potent, the loss of trust in his commander in chief still painfully visible in his eyes. But his recognition, although he is unable to express his hurt and regret -- you see it and feel it in every word, that he leant his son's name to a lie, is the most personally heartwrenching scene in the film.


Post a Comment

<< Home