Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 27, 2006

WB: Men of Dishonor

Billmon:

Men of Dishonor

Posted by b on October 27, 2006 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

Comments
LEWIS "SCOOTER" LIBBY, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO CHENEY: I'm a great fan of the vice president. I think he's one of the smartest, most honorable people I've ever met. So I'd like to consider myself fully on his team.
Larry King Live

Posted by: b | Oct 27, 2006 12:57:26 PM | 1

The CIA considered Ghorbanifar a dangerous con man and had issued a "burn notice" recommending that no U.S. agency have any dealings with him. Unfazed, Ledeen called Ghorbanifar "one of the most honest, educated, honorable men I have ever known."
Rolling Stone

Posted by: b | Oct 27, 2006 1:04:28 PM | 2

Honorable like Custer?

Posted by: | Oct 27, 2006 1:06:26 PM | 3

During the trial of Oliver North, he was asked, “Do you remember thinking that you were in a den of thieves?” North was indignant. “I never regarded that I was working in a den of thieves,” he declared. “I honestly believe I was working for honorable men doing their level best to make this country a better place, and I was carrying out lawful orders to that end.”
The Iran Contra Affair

hmmm ... a honorable history in using that word ...

Posted by: b | Oct 27, 2006 1:07:46 PM | 4

"The louder he talked of his honor..." I believe at the time Emerson was writing of a visiting minister.

Posted by: John B. | Oct 27, 2006 1:09:10 PM | 5

Taking honorable charge of oilfields. Riding honorably in limousines to country estates where brave, dead, working class soldiers are toasted with gold-trimmed champagne flutes.

Posted by: | Oct 27, 2006 1:10:04 PM | 6

Looks like you can earn an honorable living in America making nothing but trouble.

Posted by: | Oct 27, 2006 1:13:31 PM | 7

'America' has no honor

Posted by: DM | Oct 27, 2006 1:44:55 PM | 8

"You've just got to trust us. We are honorable men."

- Former CIA director Richard Helms at the
National Press Club, responding to a question
about covert CIA operations

Posted by: Lexington | Oct 27, 2006 2:15:24 PM | 9

HONORABLE, adj. Afflicted with an impediment in one's reach. In legislative bodies it is customary to mention all members as honorable; as, "the honorable gentleman is a scurvy cur."

-The Devil's Dictionary

Posted by: beq | Oct 27, 2006 4:35:36 PM | 10

Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest -
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men -
Come I to speak in Ceasar's funeral.

-- Antony, in Julius Caesar, Act III Sc. 2

Posted by: mats | Oct 27, 2006 5:48:32 PM | 11

They offered their honor.

You honored their offer.

Simple contract.

But don't forget to count the silverware.

Posted by: John Fortesque | Oct 27, 2006 7:20:51 PM | 12

i imagine rumsfield's 'sense of honour' is comparable to that of sonny corleone in the godfather

i wish on a night such as this that rumsfield would meet the same end somewhere at a toll booth in fallujah

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 27, 2006 7:27:58 PM | 13

well. Toss another platonic ideal word reification onto the scrapheap with "justice," "freedom," and "love."

Posted by: Rowan | Oct 27, 2006 8:09:01 PM | 14

Thanks to Billmon for linking to that press conference, which, if read with a little patience and care, really gives us an extraordinary view of Rumsfeld's mind.

It can be summed up very simply: for this man, the opposite of "losing" isn't "winning," it's "owning". He talks as if he's never lost anything and never will, because there's nothing he's never "owned". He owns the clock, to begin with--every and any clock you can imagine. He also owns the terrain--every inch of the globe. He owns all the people, their destinies and decisions. He owns the truth, and can read the minds of every man, woman and child, near and far. He can joke about the things he owns because the world is his toy. It keeps him busy, it keeps him amused, and he's even willing to show us some of its funnier hiding-places if we care to join in the fun.

Losing it? This isn't a problem. He can never lose it. It's his. He's never lost it. He's always owned it, and always will. He's the master, and we're the slaves. Everyone's Rumsfeld's slave, and it's everyone's job to learn this, to know it, and to act reasonably in the light of this knowledge.

But at the close of this press-conference--a long, jocular, rather weirdly labyrinthine fencing-match between the master and some of his slaves--comes a final question posed as a cliché that we've heard for decades in other contexts and in other phrasings. The question: "Is Baghdad safer today than it was six months ago?"...

And the answer? Ah, but there is no answer!...

And let's not overlook one point that goes unmentioned (unless I'm mistaken) in the transcript: Rumsfeld leaves the press-conference afterthat final question has been posed. He's heard it, and has no comeback.

The U.S.A. isn't going to win this war, and the war won't end until the U.S.A., and its delusional "mythologies" (a favorite word of Rumsfeld's) become minor holdings in the curiosity cabinets of the world at large. Or in some of those cabinets, shall we say--not in all of them. Because the U.S.A., finally, doesn't own much. It certainly doesn't own anyone's future, and least of all its own.

Emerson will survive as a human being who thinks; Rumsfeld, as a broken wind-up toy in someone's crowded attic.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 27, 2006 11:47:32 PM | 15

All this talk of "honourable men" reminds me of Mark Anthony's speech in Act 3 Scene 2 of Julius Caesar (The "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" one) where Anthony's references to Brutus and the co-conspiritors as "honourable men" grow increasingly sarcastic as he shows them to be anything but.

Posted by: Old Fart! | Oct 30, 2006 7:55:01 AM | 16

Thanks, Old Fart. This is what I like about MoA.

Posted by: DM | Oct 31, 2006 4:11:06 AM | 17

Rumsfeld is absolutely the master of everyone. It is my honor to serve him in any way he wants. When he looks at you with his piercing eyes, grimacing in the mean way he does, and making his demands with his strong and charismatic voice I have no choice but to obey. His slicked back, shiny, silver hair makes him the ultimate master - everyone must obey him.

Posted by: Cheet | Dec 23, 2006 1:44:55 PM | 18

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