Voice in the Wilderness

The news about the "war on terror" your local newspaper won't print.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The No-Longer-Loyal Troops

Does it seem that this administration has more than its share of former employees who have been so outraged by what's been happening that they have resorted to blasting their former commander in chief in public? Can you remember similar occurrences happening in the Clinton, elder Bush, Reagan administrations, et. al.?

In the wilderness, this doesn't ring a bell for us either. Which is why we had to snicker sardonically to read the remarks of the former aide de camp to Colin Powell. Joining the ranks of Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neal is Larry Wilkerson, who has charged, basically, that Dick Cheney stole the presidency. Writes Edward Alden in the Financial Times, a highly respected newspaper based in London:
Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: Â?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.

Â?Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.Â? (Read the entire article.)

Wilkerson, who saw it all while the right-hand man to Powell, the erstwhile secretary of state, ripped the administration a new one during remarks to the New America Foundation, a Washington conservative think tank. Adds Aiden:

Among his other charges:

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

* Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was Â?part of the problemÂ?. Instead of ensuring that Mr Bush received the best possible advice, Â?she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the presidentÂ?.

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

Now, lest you think this is just another example of the Brits quoting an American out of context to embarrass their former colony, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post also attended Wilkerson's speech, and wrote about it in the paper (which buried inside the A section of Thursday's edition):

He said the vice president and the secretary of defense created a "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal" that hijacked U.S. foreign policy. He said of former defense undersecretary Douglas Feith: "Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man." Addressing scholars, journalists and others at the New America Foundation, Wilkerson accused Bush of "cowboyism" and said he had viewed Condoleezza Rice as "extremely weak." Of American diplomacy, he fretted, "I'm not sure the State Department even exists anymore." (Read the entire article.)
Milbank notes that Wilkerson is not a closet liberal -- he thinks we should remain in Iraq, for example -- but adds that he "objected to the administration's secrecy, which allowed Cheney, Rumsfeld and others to subvert the foreign policy apparatus that has been in place since 1947."In other words, Larry Wilkerson is just confirming what the entire world outside the red states has known for years: This is an outlaw presidency, which apparently will do anything it takes to stamp the rest of the planet with its own righteous plans.


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