Friday, May 15, 2009

Lawrence Wilkerson Challenges Cheney's Accounting

I thought the piece Rachel Maddow did the other night with Col. Lawernce Wilkerson, who was the Chief of Staff to Colin Powell in the Bush Mis-Administration was very good.

Watch this video, if you haven't seen it, and then I will post parts of the editorial he wrote about it.

Here is what he said before the video,

Last night I was on Rachel Maddow's show on MSNBC at the top of the hour. But before I came on, through the earpiece I listened to the five minutes that Rachel sketched as a lead-in. Most of it was videotape from the last few days of former Vice President Dick Cheney extolling the virtues of harsh interrogation, torture, and his leadership. I had heard some of it earlier of course but not all of it and not in such a tightly-packed package.

Let's just say that five minutes of the Sith Lord was stunningly inaccurate.

I love how he says that Cheney was "stunningly inaccurate" but that's it. So, does that mean he is saying Cheney is lying?

He goes on to point out a few facts about the Bush-Cheney Mis-Administration,

First, more Americans were killed by terrorists on Cheney's watch than on any other leader's watch in US history. So his constant claim that no Americans were killed in the "seven and a half years" after 9/11 of his vice presidency takes on a new texture when one considers that fact. And it is a fact.

That is an important fact. Yes, Cheney forgets to mention, 9-11 happened on HIS watch. So, even as he claims he kept us safe, he failed to keep us safe on this important day.

Second, the fact no attack has occurred on U.S. soil since 9/11--much touted by Cheney--is due almost entirely to the nation's having deployed over 200,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and not to "the Cheney method of interrogation."

Those troops have kept al-Qa'ida at bay, killed many of them, and certainly "fixed" them, as we say in military jargon. Plus, sadly enough, those 200,000 troops present a far more lucrative and close proximity target for al-Qa'ida than the United States homeland. Testimony to that fact is clear: almost 5,000 American troops have died, more Americans than died on 9/11. Of course, they are the type of Americans for whom Cheney hasn't much use as he declared rather dramatically when he achieved no less than five draft deferments during the Vietnam War.

So, no matter what Cheney claims, it has nothing to do with the torture he clamors about, it is the fact that we are fighting and killing the so called enemy, at the cost of our military that keeps us safe. Yes, we have lost over 5,000 more American lives, who knows how many Iraqis, how many Afghanis, how many Pakistanis, but he has kept us safe.

But, at what cost Dick, at what cost? Do you ever think about that? No, I really don't think he does.

The next point Wilkerson makes is this,

Third--and here comes the blistering fact--when Cheney claims that if President Obama stops "the Cheney method of interrogation and torture", the nation will be in danger, he is perverting the facts once again. But in a very ironic way.

My investigations have revealed to me--vividly and clearly--that once the Abu Ghraib photographs were made public in the Spring of 2004, the CIA, its contractors, and everyone else involved in administering "the Cheney methods of interrogation", simply shut down. Nada. Nothing. No torture or harsh techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator. Period. People were too frightened by what might happen to them if they continued.

What I am saying is that no torture or harsh interrogation techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator for the entire second term of Cheney-Bush, 2005-2009. So, if we are to believe the protestations of Dick Cheney, that Obama's having shut down the "Cheney interrogation methods" will endanger the nation, what are we to say to Dick Cheney for having endangered the nation for the last four years of his vice presidency?

This is very important to see, and I put in bold what I felt was something we needed to concentrate on. We hear this over and over. That Pres. Obama, by stopping the "harsh interrogation" (that's Republican code for torture) or torture, he is making us less safe, is just wrong.

They stopped using torture and went back to doing things the proper way, as far as anyone can tell in 2004. Because it was found out. Not out of any noble, come to Jesus type revelation, only because it was made public. After people knew about it, Cheney and Bush decided they better stop, because they knew they would be in trouble. Then the cover up started.

Wilkerson points out that it was not to keep us from being attacked again that motivated Cheney, it was to give them proof to attack Iraq. Since they found no WMD's they had to try to find a link between 9-11 and Saddam Hussein.

Likewise, what I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002--well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion--its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa'ida.

So furious was this effort that on one particular detainee, even when the interrogation team had reported to Cheney's office that their detainee "was compliant" (meaning the team recommended no more torture), the VP's office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods. The detainee had not revealed any al-Qa'ida-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, "revealed" such contacts. Of course later we learned that al-Libi revealed these contacts only to get the torture to stop.

There in fact were no such contacts. (Incidentally, al-Libi just "committed suicide" in Libya. Interestingly, several U.S. lawyers working with tortured detainees were attempting to get the Libyan government to allow them to interview al-Libi....)

He finishes by saying he wishes Cheney and Limbaugh would just shut the hell up. I have to disagree with him there.. I hope they keep talking.

As long as they keep talking it seems the President's numbers go up and theirs go down.

If you want to read the entire editorial from Wilkerson you can read it here at Talking Points, or at The Washington Note.


Tango daddy said...

It does seem he digs in deeper every day. It also is true that a lot of info is coming out without an investigation having realy been started.
but the thing that is most troublng to me is this damn notion that the events of 9/11 were all the result of box cutters and nineteen hijackers.
The truth about the Bush administration must start with the real facts of that infamous event.
Is Dick blowing smoke with torture? Is the event of 9/11 settled fact?

themom said...

Realistically, I don't think we will ever get the entire truth (re: Pelosi) about who knew what and when. My belief is that the CIA under Bush managed to destroy or tamper with any pertinenet documents. I believe Pelosi and if one listened to the press conference yesterday - the intent by the reporters was clear, that they wanted to confuse and trip her up with a mish mash of info.