Colin Powell's Ex-CoS Takes the Gloves Off

Friday, October 21, 2005

Colin Powell's Ex-CoS Takes the Gloves Off

Plenty of Democratic lawmakers and liberal interest groups have disparaging things to say about the way the Bush administration operates. You’d expect as much. But you’d also expect that Bush alumni would either say good things or nothing at all.

Yet the list keeps growing of ex-Bush administration officials who have rather disturbing reports of how the White House and top Bush confidants run things. To the names of Paul O’Neill, Richard Clarke and other disenchanted Bush alumni, you can add Lawrence Wilkerson.

On the surface, Wilkerson is not the kind of guy you’d expect to be taking shots at the Bush administration. He’s a retired Army colonel and former director of the Marine Corps War College. But as today’s New York Times reports:
Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff has offered a remarkably blunt criticism of the administration he served, saying that foreign policy had been usurped by a "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal," and that President Bush has made the country more vulnerable, not less, to future crises.

The comments came in a speech Wednesday by Lawrence Wilkerson, who worked for Mr. Powell at the State Department from 2001 to early 2005 …. Mr. Wilkerson suggested that secrecy, arrogance and internal feuding had taken a heavy toll in the Bush administration, skewing its policies and undercutting its ability to handle crises.

"I would say that we have courted disaster, in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran, generally with regard to domestic crises like Katrina, Rita — and I could go on back," he said. "We haven't done very well on anything like that in a long time."

Mr. Wilkerson suggested that the dysfunction within the administration was so grave that "if something comes along that is truly serious, truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence."
Security moms: doesn't this make you feel nice and safe?
… (Mr. Wilkerson) said that in his years in or close to government, he had seen its national security apparatus twisted in many ways. But what he saw in Mr. Bush's first term "was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberration, bastardizations" and "perturbations."
Ineptitude? Hmmmm .... Wilkerson must be referring to Bush's advisers, but not Bush himself. Thanks to Harriett Miers, we now know what a "brilliant" president we have.

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