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Monday, November 07, 2005

The Cabal, as seen by an insider

If you haven't yet done so, I encourage you to read the transcript of the Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.) talk to the New America Foundation on Wednesday, October 19, 2005: "The Bush Administration’s National Security Decision Making Process."

Wilkerson was Colin Powell's Chief of Staff at the State Department, 2002-2005.

You've probably already seen this quote in the newspaper:
But the case that I saw for four-plus years was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberrations, bastardizations, perturbations, changes to the national security decision-making process. 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.
Wilkerson points out that Congress has abandoned its oversight responsibility of the decision-making process and that the situation is especially problematic because of this administration's tremendous secrecy -- and because of Cheney's former ties to Halliburton:
what I was seeing was an extremely weak national security advisor, and an extremely powerful vice president, and an extremely powerful in the issues that impacted him secretary of Defense – remember, a vice president who has been secretary of Defense too and obviously has an inclination that way, and also has known the secretary of Defense for a long time, and also is a member of what Dwight Eisenhower warned about – God bless Eisenhower – in 1961 in his farewell address, the military industrial complex – and don’t you think they aren’t among us today – in a concentration of power that is just unparalleled.
Wilkerson criticizes the current Bush's "ineptitude" and "gracelessness," but praises George H.W. Bush for his diplomacy. Cheney, who served in both administrations, has arguably changed beyond recognition because of an apparent fixation with the risk of a nuclear 9/11.

There are other provocative ideas. He says the military faces two major problems -- one from the shame of the detainee abuse scandals ("we'll probably have to grow a new military") and one from the "brewing" recruitment problems faced by the Army and the Marine Corps ("my army right now is truly in bad shape").

Wilkerson favors the merger of the State and Defense Departments!

And Wilkerson doesn't think the Bush administration has offered a cogent explanation of why the US is in Iraq.

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