As oft noted here, Colin Powell is one of the consummate liars of the age. But last week, in an extraordinary development, his former chief of staff did something almost unheard of in official Washington, especially from an ex-high muckity-muck in the Bush Regime: he spoke the truth.
And what a truth. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson confirmed, openly, what Bush critics have been saying for years: that the regime of systematic torture that has been established in Bush's worldwide Terror War gulag was instigated and condoned by the White House. Here's a quote, from the FT:
"The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was 'a concrete example' of the decision-making problem, [Wilkerson said],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.'"
The colonel had more hot beans to spill about how the "cabal" of Cheney and Rumsfeld "hijacked" the government and ran circles around their clueless and incurious boss; you can find it all here. But of course, in so many ways, this is old news: torture, rendition, wanton, murderous lawlessness in the highest reaches of the Bush government. Below, in another excerpt from the "Empire Burlesque" book, you can see how all these things were operating very early on in the Terror War -- operating in broad daylight, where any member of the media/political Establishment could have seen it, and tried to stop it, or at the very least spoke out against it. But as we now know, our high and mighty ones, our good and great, our eminent worthies, turned a blind eye and kept a closed mouth as the atrocities mounted.
And while we applaud Colonel Wilkerson's candor now, we also must ask: Where was he then? And why did he keep silent as his own boss helped facilitate the ultimate international crime of aggressive war?
Render Unto Caesar: The End of Law
March 15, 2002