Friday, June 02, 2006

Re-Fashioning History

I've been watching Olbermann a long time, not just in his current MSNBC show, but also its prior incarnation as well as his years on ESPN and FoxSports. I have never seen him this angry, with one exception, in the wake of the Bush Administration's incompentency during Katrina.

But he was full-on pissed last night, and not without reason.

Go here to see the video, which I may put up when it's available.

For the second time in less than a year, Bill O'Reilly pulled the Malmedy Massacre out of his ass as an example of American's killing "innocent" people. He did it first in October of last year, and blogs like Steve Gilliard and Crooks and Liars took note. And, to my surprise, so did I (when you've put up 6,000 plus posts I guess you forget some of them). I'm just going to repost what I put up then:

More popular bloggers than I have taken up this issue (referred to in brief below) which started through a nice catch, as usual, from Crooks & Liars. But Bill O'Reilly in order to make a cheap point, excusing torture, accused American Soldiers, specifically the 82nd Airborne, of committing the Malmedy Massacre.

American soldiers, of course, did no such thing. Rather, the German 1st Panzer mowed down troops, mostly from the American 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion (the 82nd was 10 miles away and had nothing to do with this incident). Whether the massacre was calculated, or the result of panic, is less clear, but there is no doubt that dozens of American soldiers were killed after having surrendered.

Many American soldiers escaped the massacre by fleeing, among those that escaped was the actor Charles Durning.

It was one of the best known outrages against American troops of the Second World War, particularly in the European Theatre. Any American who has done more than a cursory study of World War II -- and by that I mean pretty much watched the "History Channel" for a few hours, knows about the Malmedy Massacre.

But to have a different take on it requires a deep resevoir of sympathy for the right-wing nut job view of history. A view of history, where even tragedies inflicted on American soldiers have to be glossed over to make excuses for the Nazis.

Steve Gilliard through a Kos Diarist found and expounded on an item which could have been the source of O'Reilly's twisted history through Ann "Dry Hump McCarthy's Tombstone" Coulter:

somehow she neglects to mention McCarthy's first moment in the national spotlight. That was his infamous 1949 campaign on behalf of Nazi S.S. officers who were convicted of war crimes for the massacre of American troops in the town of Malmedy during the Battle of the Bulge. On their orders, 83 American prisoners of war had been murdered by Waffen S.S. machine-gunners. The S.S. officers were sentenced to death, but McCarthy insisted that the entire case was a frame-up, with confessions obtained by horrific torture. He intervened in Senate hearings on the case and lied repeatedly during his defense of the Nazi murderers. His most spectacular claim was that the American investigators had crushed the testicles of German prisoners as an interrogation technique. McCarthy was later shown to have served as the pawn of neo-Nazi and communist provocateurs who were using the Malmedy case to whip up anti-American sentiment in postwar Germany. The main source for his false charges concerning Malmedy was a Germany lawyer named Rudolf Aschenauer, whose closest ties were to the postwar Nazi underground and to American right-wing isolationists, but who has also been identified as a communist agent. Aschenauer testified at U.S. Senate hearings in Germany that he had passed information about Malmedy to McCarthy.

O'Reilly outrageously slandered the American Army, by accusing it of perpetrating a war crime of which its soldiers were the victim. He should not be allowed to get away with it. There, are, of course, outrages that occur from all sides in all wars, but that doesn't excuse this -- nor does it excuse the behavior of the American military in this war. War outrages should always be exposed -- and never excused.

You may chastise Mr. O'Reilly if you wish:

Okay, back to the present. This would not mean all that much but for the fact that earlier this week, in trying to minimize Haditha, just like he had then tried to minimize Abu Ghraib, O'Reilly -- who by now should have known better -- pulled this chestnut out of his ass AGAIN!

It is one thing to make an error, but when it involves taking history and turning it inside out and thereby slandering the victims of murder, as they murderers, that is simply pathelogical. If Charles Durning is able, I hope Olbermann has him on his show tonight -- he survived that massacre, and I'm pretty damned sure, he's righteously pissed.

Bill Maher, we all recall, had his contract ended with ABC because he had the temerity to say that whatever else you called the 9/11 highjackers you could not call them cowards (leaving the rest of the universe of castigating words available).

Twice O'Reilly is allowed to defend the Nazis and slander their murdered victims as the perpetrators of a war crime and he gets nothing more than a tongue-lashing?

Fair and Balanced my ass.

And then to top it off...

The pièce de résistance, FoxNews, when transcribing Bill O'Reilly's cover up of a cover up...covers up for O'Reilly's slander.

When you're **that** wrong -- when you're defending Nazi War Criminals and pinning their crimes on Americans, and you get **caught** doing so -- **twice** -- you're supposed to say 'I'm sorry, I was wrong'... and then you should shut up for a long time. Instead, Fox **washed** its transcript of O'Reilly's remarks Tuesday -- its website claims O'Reilly said "In **Normandy**..." when in fact he said "In **Malmedy**..."

I'll let Olbermann's words then go to completion:

The rewriting of past reporting -- worthy of Orwell -- has now carried over into such on-line transcription services as Burrell's and Factiva. Whatever did or did not happen **later**, in supposed or actual retribution... the victims at Malmedy, were **Americans**, gunned down while surrendering -- by **Nazis** in 1944 -- and again, Tuesday Night and Wednesday Night -- by a false patriot who would rather be loud than right.

"In Malmedy, as you know" Bill O'Reilly **said** Tuesday night, in some indecipherable attempt to defend the events of Haditha, "U.S. forces captured S.S. forces who had their hands in the air and were unarmed and they shot them dead, you know that. That's on the record. And documented."

The victims at Malmedy in December, 1944... were Americans. **Americans** with their hands in the air. **Americans** who were unarmed. That's on the record. And documented.

And their memory deserves better than Bill O'Reilly.

History should be as unkind to Bill O'Reilly, as he has been to the memory of soldiers of the American 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion. Only two days after MEMORIAL DAY, Bill O'Reilly pisses on their legacy.

What a horrendous ass.

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