Thursday, October 20, 2005

Another Troubled Conscience Heard From

They're coming out of the woodwork. The latest administration official to speak up is Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Colin Powell. From the Financial Times:
(Wilkerson) said: said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences…”

Mr Wilkerson said such secret decision-making was responsible for mistakes such as the long refusal to engage with North Korea or to back European efforts on Iran…

Among his other charges:

-- The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was “a concrete example” of the decision-making problem, with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. “You don't have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you've condoned it.”

-- Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was “part of the problem”. Instead of ensuring that Mr. Bush received the best possible advice, “she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the president”.

-- The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr. Wilkerson claimed, “start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel."

These sorts of revelations from former administration insiders is both encouraging and lamentable. Wilkerson's statements confirm what so many of us knew--or at least suspected--all along. And while it's nice to say, "Ah! I was right," it's tragic that Cheney and Rumsfeld were able to get away with their abuses of power for so long.

I'd say the cabal was larger than just Cheney and Rumsfeld, though. Neocon luminaries Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and John Bolton were certainly players.

Like so many, I'm hoping the Fitzgerald investigation brings this gang of thugs down--at least enough of them to put the organization out of business. But as citizens, we need to stay vigilant. The neocons are not the only power hungry cabal out there. And the power hungry thugs aren't all Republicans!


  1. "-- The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr. Wilkerson claimed, 'start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel'."

    Well la de effin' da. You (Col. Wilkerson) blindly and gladly follow a cowardly, AWOL shirker and a party of hypocrites that constantly gives you the shaft, and now, NOW, you come crying in your beer? Well kiss my ass you ignorant tool.

    Sorry Jeff, but I have had about all I can stand of these arrogant twits and if HE is what passes for an elite member of the officer corps these days, then we are in deep caca for sure.

    Lacking honor and dignity coupled with a penchant for being abused does not an elite officer corps (or enlisted group) make.

    Out of the woodwork, indeed Jeff. This sorry bastard seems suddenly to have found ethics, honor and integrity... NOT. He is simply engaging in the time honored tradition of CYA, you know, it's not MY fault.

    A pox on him and all like him!

  2. "And the power hungry thugs aren't all Republicans!"

    Hear, hear!!

    Well said Jeff!

  3. Agree with you, Bob. Worms are worms, turning or not.

    Some of us had the good grace to quit.

  4. And I just got an e-mail from John Kerry exhorting me to get out and support the other set of power hungry thugs.

  5. John Kerry? Seems like the courage he displayed in Vietnam is no longer a part of his make up. In my mailer his mail does not pass go or wind up in my inbox. Straight into the trash.

    Sorry to say I voted for him, holding my nose (fool me once...) for Wes Clark was my first choice.

    The Democratic party needs fewer power hungry thugs and more people of principle, IE: People with a spine.

  6. Bob, I only say this because I think it needs to be said:

    Be very wary of putting your hopes on Wes Clark.

    I mean it.

  7. William Bollinger7:37 AM

    I gotta agree with you on that.

    In mid '04, I started to look at the (D)'s running for the primary. I figured I'd go for Clark, but after listening to him speak a couple times, quickly decided he was "same shit, different democrat". All he was saying was what every pol says to get elected. Hollow.

    I ended up going into the Dean camp. I never fully got over the feeling that Howard himself was small potatoes, but his small donor, avoid corporate contribution concept sold me as more likely to elect someone who would do something for the country, and not just the special interests that owned them.

  8. "Be very wary of putting your hopes on Wes Clark."

    I understand Jeff but my opinions were formed after meeting and talking with him in the run up to the Oklahoma primary in 2004. We were still in Tulsa then and, for the first time, ever, I changed my party affiliation from Independent to Democrat so I could vote in the primary because Oklahoma is one of those states that does not allow open primaries.

    In any event, I respect your opinions Jeff and would hope that Clark will one day change your impression.

    The fact is, he is not a polished politician just as he is not a "regular" guy (Could any O-10, other than Omar Bradley, claim to be that?) but up close and personal he comes across as sincere. As for not being polished, maybe that is what we need at this critical time in our history.

    Perhaps what we need is someone who will tell it like it is, call a thief a thief, an incompetent an incompetent and speak truth to power to the people.

    We shall see. I have been poltically active for more years than I care to think about and have been disappointed more than I can say, but hope springs eternal and maybe, just maybe, Wes Clark is the guy to give America back to the people.

  9. Bob,

    I think I'll start recusing myself on the subject of Wes Clark. My experience of the guy was not personal, but as one of his troops in Kosovo, a war I didn't think went particularly well for a number of reasons.

    Right now, I don't think I've heard him say anything regarding Iraq that's a whole lot different from what Mister Bush is offering. "Stay the course" in different language.

    But I may well have missed something, and will be more than willing to reconsider that opinion.

    Good to be able to have an open dialogue about this sort of stuff.

    Thanks for the discussion.