The worms come out of the woodwork

How sublime and inspiring to see high-ranking Republicans and decorated officers now stepping forward to reveal just how dreadfully incompetent, secretive and dangerous our government has become under Bush. From no less a figure than Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to former SOS Colin Powell:

Decisions that send men and women to die, decisions that have the potential to send men and women to die, decisions that confront situations like natural disasters and cause needless death or cause people to suffer misery that they shouldn’t have to suffer, domestic and international decisions, should not be made in a secret way.

That’s a very, very provocative statement, I think….But fundamental decisions about foreign policy should not be made in secret. Let me tell you the…practical reasons why it’s true.

….When you cut the bureaucracy out of your decisions and then foist your decisions on us out of the blue on that bureaucracy, you can’t expect that bureaucracy to carry your decision out very well and, furthermore, if you’re not prepared to stop the feuding elements in that bureaucracy, as they carry out your decision, you’re courting disaster.

….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.

This is one of those “read the whole thing” articles. Read it, but don’t expect to come away with even a nano-droplet of faith in the people running our government and our military. Depressing, sickening. And you can’t blame this one on those damned libruhls.

The Discussion: 15 Comments

And let me add, this is now happening on a massive scale. Guess who wrote this today in the WSJ:

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aside, George W. Bush has not governed as a conservative (amnesty for illegal immigrants, reckless spending that will ultimately undo his tax cuts, signing a campaign finance bill even while maintaining its unconstitutionality). This George Bush, like his father, is showing himself to be indifferent, if not actively hostile, to conservative values. He appears embittered by conservative opposition to his nomination, which raises the possibility that if Ms. Miers is not confirmed, the next nominee will be even less acceptable to those asking for a restrained court.

Why, it’s none other than conservative demigod Robert Bork! What are we coming to? The Grand Old Party is literally imploding before our eyes as our Codpiece in Chief stays the course. The course that leads straight to hell.

October 20, 2005 @ 5:14 am | Comment

how’s this for blaming libruhls? They’ve been totally incompetent and incapable of finding any way of bringing the people back to our side! They’ve had to wait until the Bush administration f*cks up so much that the administration does it for them. that’s pretty sad.

October 20, 2005 @ 5:45 am | Comment

You’ve just gotta love Steve Clemons and the New America Foundation–they’re the ones who pulled this off.

Here’s a link to video and audio of the event:

Here’s a link to Steve Clemons’s blog, The Washington Note:

October 20, 2005 @ 7:18 am | Comment

Matt, thanks for the video link, and I really have to blogroll Steve Clemons.

Laowai, you’re right, and I don’t see a solution. Lenin and Mussolini and the man with the toothbrush mustache and the Republicans had one thing in common: blind, ruthless ambition and excellent organizational skills. Unfortunately, the dems seems to lack both of these “qualities.” Here they are, the GOP imploding and flailing, and they still have no coherent messages or strategy.

Unless…. Maybe their strategy right now is one of silence. Let the Republicans eat their own young over Harriet Miers. Why talk about Valerie Plame when the Bush-appointed prosecutor can inflict the damage? I remind readers of how, during the Lewinsky scandal, the Republicans all agreed to an omerta – total silence until the president was caught in his lie. And then, in dazzling lockstep, they descended like vultures. Maybe the dems have learned from this example? Maybe their silence is part of a grander strategy? I sure hope so. Because if they can’t prevail under the current conditions, when the Rethuglicans are practically handing them the country on a silver platter, there’s not much hope for them.

October 20, 2005 @ 8:22 am | Comment

A 19-year-old can figure it out but Neo-Komms won’t

Iraqi intelligence documents seem to identify the Somalia ambush as the first incident of cooperation between Sudan, Iraq, and Osama Bin Laden. An Iraqi document signed by Saddam’s secretary shows that the regime demanded that action was made to “hunt the Americans” in Somalia using “Arabian elements, or Asian (Muslims) or friends.” The Iraqi documents list a range of groups available for participation in the operation. Muhammad Farrah Aidid, who led the ambush, even met with Iraqi intelligence in Khartoum.

From then on, there are periodic meetings between the Iraqis and Al-Qaeda officials. Training of Al-Qaeda operatives began in 1995 as a result of meetings between the Iraqis and Abu Hajer al-Iraqi, known as Osama Bin Laden’s “best friend.” From then on, there would be a great number of meetings, participated in by many different leaders and officials of the Iraqi regime and Al-Qaeda. A stream of defectors would report cooperation between the two, as would many intelligence services.

Cooperation from the mid-1990s up until the war steadily increased, eventually culminating in Iraqi training of Al-Qaeda members in document forgery, bomb production, WMD development, and other activity. On more than one occasion, the Iraqis would go on alert and then an Al-Qaeda terrorist attack would be attempted. Iraq would also actively work with Al-Qaeda (and Syrian intelligence) to prepare the guerrilla war we’re facing today.

I’m aware of new evidence that Iran played a direct role in 9/11 and sponsoring Al-Qaeda and this is not contradictory. In fact, documents brought to light by Ken Timmerman show that Imad Mughniyah of Hezbollah, high-level Iranian officials, high-level Iraqi intelligence officials and high-level Al-Qaeda operatives met in Iran in October 2001. So Bin Laden relied on several avenues of support, which made sense, as this meant he couldn’t be held down by one state’s interests.

Saddam passed his WMDs into other countries long before Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Iraq’s WMDs have long been, all the way back to the 1990s, connected to other state’s WMD programs. By the late 1990s, a great part of Iraq’s nuclear program was based in Libya as a joint project. Iraqi WMD would be routinely moved in and out of Syria to avoid inspections.

So the fact that Syrian defectors, Iraqi scientists and foreign intelligence sources indicate the WMD was moved to Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Iran is not surprising at all. American satellites saw traffic moving from Iraq into Syria between January 2003 and the war’s beginning, and at this time the Iraqi border guards were replaced with Iraqi intelligence. Iran has even taken in some Iraqi chemical and biological weapons equipment, just like they took in Iraqi aircraft in 1991.

UN inspectors even CONFIRMED in the 1990s [during Impeached Clintoon’s watch] this was going on. Iraqi WMD expertise has been confirmed to be in other countries as well (and Duelfer confirmed that Qusay Hussein prepared for such expertise to go to Syria). This is not at odds with Duelfer or Kay, who both confirmed there were reports of WMD going to Syria and that trucks full of “Iraqi equipment” went to Syria but we don’t know the contents. Duelfer even said there was evidence Syria offered to harbor Iraqi WMD, but he couldn’t confirm that they did in fact do that because the insurgency stopped his team from completing the investigation.

Don’t fool yourself, they [RUSSIA] are the ones arming Syria, Iran, and China. In my book, I chronicle how deeply involved Russia was in helping Saddam Hussein on many levels. The Russians, as part of their geopolitical strategy and because of the oil they got from Iraq, helped him at every end.

Former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, a long personal friend of Saddam Hussein, went to Iraq before the war with two former Soviet generals that some suspect advised Iraq on how to fight the coming war. The highest ranking intelligence officer ever to defect from the Soviet Bloc, Ion Mihai Pacepa, has come out and said that the Soviets long had a plan entitled “Sarindar” or “Emergency Exit” for its third-world allies, originally Libya but later Iraq, to abandon evidence of their WMD activity if an invasion by Western forces was expected. Pacepa says he was personally consulted on the plan by Yuri Andropov, Yevgeny Primakov, Leonid Brezhnev, and other leaders. The aim was to rid the targeted country of Russian involvement in their WMD programs, as well as to “frustrate the West by not giving them anything they could make propaganda with.” They [and Neo-Komms] aimed to discredit the West.

…documents have been found…

Listen to the silence.

October 20, 2005 @ 9:29 am | Comment

I haven’t read the whole article … but the excerpt you provide says what? That bureaucracy is a good thing? And people who don’t play by the bureaucratic rules are bad people? In the opinion of one particular person, anyway.
And this is supposed to prove what exactly?

October 20, 2005 @ 9:33 am | Comment

sure thing, Richard. he’s got really interesting ideas and seems very well connected.

October 20, 2005 @ 10:12 am | Comment

I gather Wilkerson is the person Powell would use to say those things he thought but would not necessarily wish to say in his position – Wilkerson never had as much to lose by being forthright in his opinions.

October 20, 2005 @ 1:10 pm | Comment

And the point of the piece is, as I understand it, that this Neo-con cabal cut out agencies and people whose job it is to advise on the sorts of decisions that were being made, that decisions were made in secret, without the normal oversight process that such decisions would generally be subjected to.

And the result, I would submit, is 2000 dead American soldiers, tens of thousands wounded, and uncounted Iraqi civilian deaths and injuries.

October 20, 2005 @ 1:14 pm | Comment

The full transcript is now available here:

It includes questions asked of the colonel after he spoke.

October 20, 2005 @ 3:01 pm | Comment

other lisa – some of the other liberal blogs say that Wilkerson has been pushing Powell to say these things, but Powell has been unwilling to step to the microphone.

I think Wilkerson decided that he couldn’t wait for his former boss to do the right thing.

And frontpagemag? Davey Horror-witless’ rag? The Leninist Likudnik. *snicker* One step down from f4!un g0ng or sh4ngh4aI c!Iqu3 propaganda.

October 20, 2005 @ 7:42 pm | Comment

Tom, I think you are probably right. It must get tiring being your boss’s conscience mouthpiece.

October 20, 2005 @ 11:00 pm | Comment

Frankly, much of this is mere confetti. The real problem remains that neither the spirit nor the letter of the U.S. Constitution have been applied by various administrations since Harry Truman’s. Precedent, and the silence of the Constitution, allow the President to commit contingency forces in situations short of war. A declaration of war, however, remains the province of Congress. Truman didn’t get one for Korea. Johnson agonized over his sending regular forces to Vietnam without one, George H.W. Bush can argue that his war war was an enormous contingency operation with some justification, but G.W. has definitely stepped beyond those bounds to that of a real war. Forget the War Powers Act, Congress needs to reassert its rights (and responsibilities) as envisioned by the founding fathers. We need Congress to define for once and all what that fine line is between contingency operations (the province of regular standing forces) and war (the province of the Nation), with the concurrent power to draft the manpower and direct the full resources of this Nation to prosecute that war. That had been Congress’ failure for the past 55 years, so it is not a matter of “Thuglicans” versus “Kleptocrats”, or of any other juvenile characterization. Many of the men on both sides are honorable men, but they are failing us all.

October 20, 2005 @ 11:37 pm | Comment

Many of them are honorable men. (So are they all, all honorable men.) But not the members of the cabal. Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rove are truly not in any way honorable. And the point of these remarks by Wilkerson is that these three men have all the power and led us in a terible direction. In this case, “Rethuglican” – a term I normally shy away from as juvenile – is singularly appropriate.

October 20, 2005 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

Sure “Tom – Daai Tou Laam”, anything that doesn’t agree with your political ideology is propaganda.
Even if it contains “documented” facts.

Smells like facism to me.

October 21, 2005 @ 9:52 am | Comment

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