“The man who speaks to you of sacrifice,” Ayn Rand wrote in The Fountainhead, “speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.”
In his latest “special comment” tonight, Keith Olbermann responded forcefully to reports that our Prince President plans to call for “sacrifice” to justify increased U.S. troop presence in Iraq:
More American servicemen and women will have their lives risked.
More American servicemen and women will have their lives ended.
More American families will have to bear the unbearable and rationalize the unforgivable – “sacrifice” – sacrifice now, sacrifice tomorrow, sacrifice forever. …
That is what this “sacrifice” has been for.
To continue this senseless, endless war. …
It has succeeded, Mr. Bush, in enabling you to deaden the collective mind of this country to the pointlessness of endless war, against the wrong people, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
It has gotten many of us used to the idea – the virtual “white noise” – of conflict far away, of the deaths of young Americans, of vague “sacrifice” for some fluid cause, too complicated to be interpreted except in terms of the very important-sounding but ultimately meaningless phrase “the war on terror.”
And the war’s second accomplishment – your second accomplishment, sir – is to have taken money out of the pockets of every American, even out of the pockets of the dead soldiers on the battlefield, and their families, and to have given that money to the war profiteers. …
This has now become “human sacrifice.” …
Our meaningless sacrifice in Iraq must stop.
I would grumble a bit at Olbermann’s focusing solely on American lives sacrificed; but otherwise it’s dead-on. Read the whole thing. (And I assume the video will be online ere long.)
With all due respect, Prof. Long, I’d quibble with your evaluation that “it’s dead-on.” Olbermann’s oratory is still collectivist –e.g., Bush’s judgment “is at variance with your people’s” (I certainly don’t consider myself one of “Bush’s people’s” and I doubt you do), “our stupidity”– and statist –e.g., suggesting to congressmen and Bush to change policy because this “country does not want more troops in Iraq,” instead of emphasizing the moral arguments against sending people to kill and be killed (of course, Keith would probably lose a lot of his audience if he were to do so).
Fair enough. But when you hear it instead of reading it, his tone makes it feel as though he’s been making the moral argument.
I think the pull quote is the strongest part, it really puts it pretty clearly:
“If in your presence an individual tried to sacrifice an American serviceman or woman, would you intervene?
Would you at least protest?”
And there are some nice subtle connotations in that couplet about how GWB is functionally a violent islamic radical.
Here as elsewhere, half of decent political thinking is just learning to keep your personal pronouns straight.