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December 15, 2005

The Ever-Amazing Bill Moyers

"It's and old story: the greater the secrecy, the deeper the corruption," say Bill Moyers in a recent talk at the 20th anniversary of the National Security Archive, a non-governmental research institute and library at The George Washington University.  The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and Moyers' talk, although wide-ranging, focuses on the importance of the press, First Amendment rights and public disclosure.

He talks about LBJ and the Tonkin Gulf resolution and the errors made in the Vietmam War when the facts were not freely known or reported.  He talks about the on-going and consistent attempts by people in the current Bush Administration to keep information from the press, i.e. Rumsfield and Cheney fighing the Freedom of Information Act during the Ford Administration.  He talks about his own fight to report the truth on his PBS show, NOW, and the underhanded, corrupt and politically-motivated reactions of Ken Tomlinson to his show.  He talks about the Bush Administration's obsession with secrecy and the need for more push-back from the press.  It's a great read.  Here's one excellent paragraph:

I had hoped we would learn from experience. Two years ago, prior to the invasion of Iraq, I said on the air that Vietnam didn't make me a dove; it made me read the Constitution. Government's first obligation is to defend its citizens. There is nothing in the Constitution that says it is permissible for our government to launch a preemptive attack on another nation. Common sense carries one to the same conclusion: it's hard to get the leash back on once you let the wild dogs of war out of the kennel. Our present Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has a plaque on his desk that reads, "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords." Perhaps, but while war is sometimes necessary, to treat it as sport is obscene. At best, war is a crude alternative to shrewd, disciplined diplomacy and the forging of a true alliance acting in the name of international law. Unprovoked, "the noblest sport of war" becomes the slaughter of the innocent.

Posted by Lynn Allen on December 15, 2005 at 10:25 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink


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