"It starts with a feeling of patriotism within oneself. It carries through with a certain knowledge that the country as a whole - and for all the right reasons - felt and continues to feel this surge of patriotism within themselves. And one finds oneself saying: 'I know the right question, but you know what? This is not exactly the right time to ask it.'"
"There has never been an American war, small or large, in which access has been so limited as this one. Limiting access, limiting information to cover the backsides of those who are in charge of the war, is extremely dangerous and cannot and should not be accepted. And I am sorry to say that, up to and including the moment of this interview, that overwhelmingly it has been accepted by the American people. And the current administration revels in that, they relish that, and they take refuge in that."
"It's unpatriotic not to stand up, look them in the eye, and ask the questions they don't want to hear - they being those who have the responsibility, the ultimate responsibility - of sending our sons and daughters, our husbands, wives, our blood, to face death."
This is what I have been saying for months, and it is ludicrous that I have been accused as being less than patriotic when I questioned the lack of limitations on the scope of this conflict, the level of infringement on our civil liberties, the tragedy of US servicemen dying and being injured because they were sent into battle in pickup trucks rather than in armored vehicles, and the current administration's exploitation of the World Trade Center tragedy, using it to justify unrestrained spending that will throw this country further into debt.
Isn't it odd to get this message from Dan Rather? Very outspoken for a 70 year old that has a history of "getting along to get along". Maybe he is following in the path of Walter Cronkite, who was by far more interesting and outspoken in his later years. Perhaps his career no longer matters to Rather as much as the truth does -- he certainly should have his fuck you money by now. (Fuck you money being defined by Neil Stephenson in Cryptonomicon as "whatever amount of money it takes to make an individual pretty much able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, even when that conflicts with what other people want, fuck you very much.")
Case in point... President Eisenhower's speech three days before leaving office. Amazing words from a former general and a Republican.
"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 -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow."
"We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love."
That last quote is a wonderful encapsulation of what humanity should aspire to. The sad thing is that politicians don't dare to aspire to such vaunted goals anymore. If you don't aspire to it, it's not gonna happen...
It's a shame that such honest and open ideas don't come from most people until they have nothing left to lose. Maybe one day there will truly be enough for everyone, allowing more people to fully express themselves and dedicate their lives to making the world better, truer to itself, and a more fitting place for humanity. We can't all have fuck you money or be the ex-POTUS, but maybe one day we can find a way to need for nothing.