Chris Matthews, in the wake of the Tucson shootings, went on a tear against the likes of Sarah Palin who used what he called "gun play" language, yet on Wednesday's Hardball, Matthews uttered phrases against public figures that he, himself, would've considered incendiary had a conservative said them.
In his "Let Me Finish" segment Matthews issued a "call to arms" against George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and others who were responsible for the "unpatriotic way this country was marched to war." Matthews then proceeded to give out the Capitol Switchboard phone number, urged his viewers to call their senator and instructed them on what to say, before concluding his rant with a demand for "nationally televised hearings" to find out why the Bush administration started "a war for a reason they knew wasn't true."
(video, audio and transcript after the jump)
The following Matthews monologue was aired on the February 16 Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a call to arms. I want everyone watching to call your United States senator and ask him or her to support hearings into the corrupt, bogus, downright unpatriotic way this country was marched to war eight years ago. Here's the number for the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.
We now know from the Secretary of Defense's own hand that there were no nuclear weapons in Iraq, no production facility to make them, no evidence of any purchases of such weapons, no attempt to buy such weapons. Nada. This being the case, why are 4,400 Americans dead? Why were 100,000 Iraqis killed? Why did we violate our own opposition to aggression by being the aggressor ourselves?
I ask you to call your senator and cite the Rumsfeld book, cite the National Intelligence Estimates of late 2002, which he cites, and the report of the intelligence director for the joint chiefs and the Secretary of Defense. All this is in the book, all this evidence that there were no nuclear weapons in Iraq despite all the talk by President Bush and his people about "mushroom clouds." The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is John Kerry. You can call him. But the best people to call are your own senators - Democratic or Republican.
Don't they want an explanation of this historic fraud against the American people, a fraud that cost thousands their lives, their spouses, their fathers, their brothers? "Senator," you could say or write, "Secretary Rumsfeld admits in this new book that Iraq did not have nuclear weapons. Had he admitted this during the war, or before the war, rather, the American people would not have backed the war. Why aren't you and the rest of the Senate raising Hell about this? If we'd gotten this confession, from Rumsfeld, before shots were fired, we could have stopped the US attack on Iraq. Those lost people would be with us today." And that'll do it.
The time has come for full-fledged national hearings on the methods used to take America into a war that should have never been fought. It should never have been because it was based on something that was never true. President George W. Bush and his people told the American people - and the world - again and again that Saddam Hussein posed a nuclear threat to our country, that he would hit us with a nuclear bomb. That threat was a deal-maker that got America to go on the attack.
Will just one U.S. senator stand up and demand that this be investigated? It's time that we see nationally televised hearings like the Fulbright hearings, those great hearings on Vietnam. This time we need to find out who got us into this war and for God's sake why? Why did they start a war for a reason they knew wasn't true? I'm not gonna stop asking this question, as the great Adlai Stevenson once said, "'til hell freezes over."
—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here