We will not walk in fear, one of another.

Funny what happens when you’re out of the country for a week. I totally missed Donald Rumsfeld going off the deep end and claiming that critics of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war were propping up fascism. Huh?

It’s a type of criticism we’ve heard from this administration and its toadies before: we must live in fear. We must not question the president, regardless of the evidence; to do so is treasonous. It’s the same message that got a pass from the American people for the last five years.

How astonishing, then, that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann was able to turn Rumsfeld’s syllogism around on him, comparing Bush’s government to Neville Chamberlain’s in their certainty of their command of the situation and impugning the integrity of their chief critic, Winston Churchill. It’s six and a half minutes of some of the finest display of journalistic integrity and courage since Edward R. Murrow, whom Olbermann invokes to good effect:

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. 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.

Indeed. See also Slate’s roundup of reaction from both sides of the blogosphere.