The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, November 28, 2005

Cheney: Moron, Idiot, or Nefarious Bastard?

That's a quote. And it's from Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson. He's become a very vocal critic of the administration's conduct of the war, portraying it as the pet project of a few men close to Bush (especially Cheney and Rumsfeld) and becoming increasingly pointed in his attacks.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees arose from White House and Pentagon officials who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful" and the Geneva Conventions irrelevant.

In an Associated Press interview, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of postwar planning. Underlings exploited Bush's detachment and made poor decisions, Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. He said Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard." (. . .)

Cheney's office, Rumsfeld aides and others argued "that the president of the United States is all-powerful, that as commander in chief the president of the United States can do anything he damn well pleases," Wilkerson said.

On the other side were Powell, others at the State Department and top military brass, and occasionally Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, Wilkerson said.

Powell raised frequent and loud objections, his former aide said, once yelling into a telephone at Rumsfeld: "Donald, don't you understand what you are doing to our image?"

Recommended reading, especially on a day when blogs were reporting Bush's continued isolation from most of the administration and insistence that history will think of him as a savior.

It's just a shame that the White House crack-up is coming at such a high cost to the nation.