Former aide to former Secretary of State Larry Wilkerson has continued his irritating-to-the-Administration disclosures, by pointing out that "guidance" for our Defense Department's various methods of torture masquerading as "interrogation" originated in the office of the Vice-President (hat to tip to a recently peripatetic Bruce the Veep.)
While the likes of ignoramuses such as Lynndie England and Charles Graner are the poster-children for American torture, it is painfully obvious to all but the most dishonest knee-jerk supporters of the Bush Administration that the policies associated with... relaxing what had at one time been strict American standards for humane treatment of those our military captured during combat operations... originated at a somewhat higher pay grade than buck private or sergeant.... probably at, oh, at least, officer... or perhaps general officer... or perhaps cabinet secretary... or perhaps the White House.
Col. Wilkerson adds credence to the last one, and surprise, surprise, the Howling Harpy of Halliburton appears to be... as Stansfield Turner recently told us... the Vice-President in charge of torture. Unclear where all this is going, of course. It's unclear whether the feckless Bob Woodward will prove to be a Deus ex Machina for Scooter (and hence, Dick Dastardly) (btw, Bruce-- on fire he is-- sends us this from the Times of London establishing that Woodward's source is current NSC advisor (and yellowcake non-vetter vetter) Steven Hadley.
While such a revelation may or may not help Scooter, who will now argue, of course, that he might well have heard about Valerie Plame's secret agent status from "a journalist," i.e. Bob Woodward-Ho... why was Hadley telling Woodward, especially back when Hadley was Condi's number one aide?
That could take things right back to where they were before: Dick's lap. Worse, Junior himself may have some 'xplainin' to do.
Personally, I hope 5-Deferment Dick is suffering from all of this... anticipation.
Of course, I know better.
It may be premature to assume the Times is correct and Hadley is The Guy.
Other versions claim it's Richard Armitage.
I'll wait and see, myself.
Posted by Gary Farber at November 20, 2005 11:34 PM
I read Thomas & Isikoff's Armitage story ( http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10117465/site/newsweek/ ) late last night, after sending Seth the Times piece on Hadley. The puzzle is that both of them are apparently refusing to deny that they were The Man (Hadley only notes, coyly, that "other officials" have said he wasn't, while explicitly refusing to confirm this himself -- a fact noted by John Cole's guest blogger, who put me onto the story originally). Right now, like Gary, I don't know what the hell is going on.
Posted by Bruce Moomaw at November 21, 2005 1:17 AM
Of course, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Pace says he's never met Wilkerson, nor seen him in any of the meetings with Runsfeld and Cheney, and Wilkerson himself, who has an axe to grind, admits he has no evidence of the charges, but so what. The only way a member of the US military (former, in the case of Wilkerson) gets credibility with the left is if they want to levy charges against the government.
Posted by Lawrence at November 21, 2005 2:20 PM
let's quote the passage specifically, Lawrence:
"Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said they had no recollection of Wilkerson having attended meetings with Rumsfeld or Cheney.
" 'In terms of having first-hand information, I just can't imagine that he does,' said Rumsfeld. 'The allegation is ridiculous.'
" 'I was in every meeting with the joint chiefs. I was in every meeting with the combatant commanders. I went to the White House multiple times to meet with the National Security Council and with the president of the United States. I have never seen that colonel,' added Pace.
" 'They made my point for me,' responded Wilkerson. 'The decisions were not made in the principals' process, in the deputies' process, in the policy coordinating committee process. They were not made in the statutory process.'
"Wilkerson said his 'insights' came from Powell 'walking through my door in April or March of 2004 and telling me to get everything I could get my hands on with regard to the detainee abuse issue -- ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] reporting, memoranda, open-source information and so forth -- so that I could build some kind of story, some kind of audit trail so we could understand the chronology and we can understand how it developed.' "
That is, the fact that the decisions being made about torture are being done outside the normal channels, according to Wilkerson, itself constitutes evidence of funny business on this subject. Wilkerson, by the way, didn't say he had no "evidence" -- he said he had no "proof". Rather like those people who insist that O.J. is probably guilty.
I'm still waiting, incidentally, for Powell to call his former lieutenant inaccurate on this -- or any other -- subject. What we HAVE seen Powell doing is energetically and publicly lobbying the Senate to support the Rumsfeld Amendment against Cheney's -- and Bush's -- opposition. Why do you suppose that could be?
Posted by Bruce Moomaw at November 21, 2005 10:09 PM
As I said before, Bruce, I'm not getting into a debate with someone who has implausibly argued that two bipartisan reports that found no evidence of manipulation of intelligence on the part of the administration is irrelevant to the question of whether the administration manipulated intelligence. But Powell has distanced himself from Wilkerson and still defends the decision to go to war.
Posted by Lawrence at November 22, 2005 10:58 AM