.. are condemned to repeat it..  or at the very least, to be harshly judged by it.

The tagline of this blog says I'm "reserving the right to vent about anything else that's on my mind."  Besides the odd youth baseball oriented post, I've been pretty low key on that score, until now.  If you're not up for a political discussion, you might want to move on..

Since this blog's inception, I've carried a link to Keith Olbermann's website in my blogrole.  I've been an admirer of his take on the events he reports for 20 years, since he was a sports guy in Los Angeles.

Keith is rarely more trenchant than when something truly sticks in his craw, and the latest event to lodge there is US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld's contention, contained in a speech given before a convention of the American Legion, that those opposed to the ongoing foreign conflicts are "morally or intellectually confused."

From my perspective, Keith offers the Secretary some much needed history schooling in a brilliant commentary (video here, text here).

The obligations that surround the citizens of nations at war is certainly a fertile topic for discussion.  Olbermann closed his commentary with perhaps the most definitive statement available on the topic, from the journalist Edward R. Murrow:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

This is a principle that goes far beyond personal positions on a single issue, no matter how important that issue is.  By questioning our leaders -- who in this country are, as Olbermann points out elsewhere in his commentary, employees of the citizenry -- we are upholding our highest, best purpose (and our most profound obligation) as Americans.  The spectre of the leaders of a democratic society questioning the intelligence and/or the morality of their opponents simply because they disagree with a policy decision does not bode well for the job security of those leaders.

Just look at history.