Guest Post by Lawrence Wilkerson: Another Side of Richard Bruce Cheney

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cheney-waves.jpg
Lawrence B. Wilkerson was chief of staff of the Department of State from 2001-2005 and served for 16 years as an aide to General Colin Powell.
Many people today are focused on former Vice President Dick Cheney’s complicity in torture. That’s all well and good since, in effect, he has admitted to it on Fox TV and now we’ll see how the system works or doesn’t work to hold him accountable. It’s not torture that I want to discuss here, however. Here, I want to discuss Cheney’s complicity in the rape, pillage, and plunder (all implied verbs) of our country’s regulatory system.
Shirley Anne Warshaw, a political scientist at Gettysburg College, has documented in a first-blush sort of way Cheney’s culpability in this regard in her new book The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney.
Whether oil, gas, forestry, mining, fisheries, national parks, clean air, pharmaceuticals, food, endangered species – you name it – Cheney was the kingpin in the dismantling of relevant oversight and regulation.
Cheney managed this principally by putting into the regulatory or oversight positions within the executive branch of our government, people who either hailed from long service in the industry or field they were overseeing or regulating, or who had lobbied for that industry or field for long years, or a combination of the two.
Professor Warshaw describes in some detail what these people did as she discusses the immense power that Cheney wielded. In brief, the people whom Cheney placed in the key regulatory and oversight positions, like wanton little boys, as Shakespeare wrote in King Lear, plucked the wings off the flies. They either intentionally failed to follow the regulations they were supposed to enforce, developed arcane legal opinions or inexpert science that obviated their enforcement (sound like torture, anyone?) or, when necessary and possible, amended or rescinded them in cooperation with their allies in the Congress.
Cheney is the person after all who, as Secretary of Defense in 1992, had asked Halliburton to study whether the Defense Department should outsource more of its activities and, when Halliburton completed its study and said – surprise, surprise – yes, the DOD should indeed outsource more functions, Cheney accelerated the process. He then stepped out the door in 1993 and became Halliburton’s CEO and reaped the profits that his decision as Secretary of Defense had made possible. No dummy here, in other words.
So, as Vice President he set out essentially to do much the same, to “outsource to the market” all that previously had been seen as environmentally sensitive, too big not to be watched, too powerful not to be roped in with careful and precise regulation, or too monopolistic not to be kept under constant surveillance. And he largely succeeded.
The well-publicized scandals such as those surrounding the illegal activities of Jack Abramoff were manifestations of this governing environment that made it to the public eye and, subsequently, to some prosecutor for action. Most never did. Let’s look at some of Professor Warshaw’s examples.
On May 17, 2001 to set the stage for what was to come, Cheney’s Energy Task Force gave its report to the President, with a cover letter signed by Cheney. The plan barely mentioned energy conservation or alternative energy – two hugely important areas of needed government emphasis. Instead, it focused on $33 billion in subsidies, tax credits, and incentives for the coal, oil, and nuclear industries and, of course, the recommendation to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This was corporate welfare on an unprecedented scale. It was made all the more egregious when, for example, ExxonMobil subsequently turned in such record profits that many Americans saw them as obscene, topping $40B in a single fiscal year..
Cheney then moved to ensure his work in the energy field would be appreciated within the bureaucracy. For example, to ensure the Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) did not get in his way – in fact, to ensure it helped him – he first packed the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) with his own people. As Professor Warshaw points out, “he chose lawyers, lobbyists, and energy executives who shared his passion for cutting regulation, especially for energy corporations.” The CEQ chairman was James Connaughton, a man who, in Warshaw’s description, “had spent much of [his] professional career fighting environmental regulations. As a corporate lobbyist with the large Washington, D.C. law firm of Sidley, Austin, Brown and Wood, Connaughton had fought the environmental regulations that he now oversaw. Connaughton had repeatedly sued the Clinton administration over its stringent environmental rules.”
Next, Cheney approved Connaughton’s choice for deputy, Philip Cooney. Cooney had been a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute which had led the oil industry’s fight against legislative caps on greenhouse gases. (Cooney left the administration in 2005 for a senior position at ExxonMobil).
Just to demonstrate where the President of the United States was during this set-up by the Vice President, Professor Warshaw describes a conversation between then-President Bush and his EPA Administrator, Christine Todd Whitman. She asked Bush for assurances that the CEQ would not dictate policy to her or to her agency. Bush responded: “What’s CEQ?” As Warshaw points out, Whitman’s fears were more than validated and she resigned two years later.
Warshaw states, “Nearly all who managed policy areas that involved energy and environmental regulations came from the industries subject to regulation.” Moreover, “[f]rom that moment on, the Bush administration had free rein to rewrite regulations, because no one was watching.”
Cheney had selected Gale Norton to be Secretary of the Interior. According to Warshaw, when Norton encountered former President Clinton’s designation of five million acres of federal land as national monuments, she knew she could not reverse that decision. So, she simply created policies to allow commercial activities within those monuments. She then proceeded to give private interests the right to decide what commercial activities they wanted to manage within the monuments.
The U.S. Forest Service, manager of over 193 million acres of national forests, in Warshaw’s words, “reframed its regulations to benefit certain industries, especially timber and energy industries.” Its director, Mark Rey, “had been the chief lobbyist for the timber industry, working for the corporations he was now regulating. This was another case of putting a fox in charge of the hen house.”
Perhaps one of the most damaging of Cheney’s plunges into environmental regulations was his direct intervention in the proper use of the Endangered Species Act. I’m a bird hunter and a fly fisherman (as, supposedly, is Cheney), so such interventions by Cheney stand out for me as cruel, injudicious, and violating the spirit of conservation that another Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, brought to Washington in such a meaningful and sustained way. I find it hard to believe that Cheney is a genuine hunter or fisherman. I’ve known many such false “sportsmen” throughout my 55 years of hunting and fishing (and, incidentally, I’ve never shot anyone in that more than half century of hunting – and I have an iron-clad rule about alcohol and guns: never mix them and shun those who do).
Warshaw writes, “As so often happened during the Bush administration when environmental regulations threatened the economic interest of the business community, Cheney stepped in.” (Such intervention on behalf of economic interests is high irony since today we know how some of those economic interests were ripping off the taxpayers in a wholesale way during the Bush-Cheney administration, from investment banks to mortgage issuers.)
As Warshaw describes, a huge salmon kill resulted from one such intervention. The Washington Post investigated and recorded on its pages: “…because of Cheney’s intervention…the largest fish kill the West had ever seen [occurred], with tens of thousands of salmon rotting on the banks of the Klamath River.”
In brief, Cheney’s science reversed the experts’ science and thus the fish-kill.
Not content to have CEQ, EPA, the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Interior at his beck and call, Cheney went after the real seat of executive power – the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The OMB was the ultimate reviewer of all proposed regulatory changes. Its director, Mitch Daniels, as Warshaw points out, was referred to as “Dick Cheney’s Dick Cheney.” Daniels, coming from the huge pharmaceutical company Eli Lily, knew big business. Sean O’Keefe, another Cheney man, was OMB’s deputy. And with John Graham and, later, Susan Dudley in the key regulatory positions at OMB, Cheney had a winning hand. Graham at Harvard and Dudley at George Mason University had both made names in risk management analysis concerning industrial pollution and corporate malfeasance that were shamefully full of holes but extremely pro-business.
In the case of Dudley, the analyses were underwritten by such sponsors as ExxonMobil and BP Amoco. From their positions in OMB’s office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Graham and Dudley gave Cheney the ultimate power to oversee and check if necessary almost everyone in the bureaucracy concerned with regulation-writing.
Cheney, as documented by Warshaw, also captured White House policy on global climate change. That is to say, he made sure that for at least six long years no one in the U.S. government paid any attention to the central challenge confronting our planet. And of course for eight long years no one – not even a White House mouse – caused even a single action to occur with regard to energy conservation. In the end, the “end” that history writes on the Bush-Cheney administration, that may be the singular incompetence that is recorded as the most damaging to the nation.
There is more, much, much more; frankly, I don’t believe Professor Warshaw has come close to exhausting the possibilities. For instance, as far as Dick Cheney is concerned, the U.S. Armed Forces are not in Iraq for non-existent WMD, to fight terrorists, or to spread freedom and democracy. And Cheney did not fight to keep his Energy Task Force papers out of the public’s hands to protect executive privilege. I believe those papers, under careful scrutiny, would reveal his true motivation for the invasion of Iraq – a motivation carelessly intimated by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz at an Asian security summit in Singapore in 2003: “Let’s look at it simply”, Wolfowitz told his audience. “The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.” Dick Cheney wanted to get U.S military forces into that “sea of oil” – at the risk of mixing metaphors, into the lands where the second largest oil reserves in the world were known to exist. What is not so well-documented, however, is Cheney’s motivation for hanging around in Afghanistan even if his administration did seem to relegate that theater to secondary status once its focus shifted to Iraq in late November 2002.
That motivation has more to do with TAPI than with Osama bin Laden. TAPI is the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline. Without a stable “A” and “P” in that acronym, there will be no pipeline to our newest strategic ally, India. Moreover, the Russians, already threatening to corner the gas market in Europe, will step into the wake of TAPI’s failure and provide their own substitute. That is why we lingered in Afghanistan under Dick Cheney’s vice presidency. The significant question in my mind at this moment is, does our new president realize this was Cheney’s strategic purpose and agree or disagree with it?
In her “Epilogue”, Professor Warshaw reminds her readers that Vice President Joe Biden, before he became vice president, called Dick Cheney “the most dangerous vice president in history.” That judgment fails to consider, in my view, Aaron Burr. But that’s about all that’s deficient about it.
— Lawrence Wilkerson

Comments

22 comments on “Guest Post by Lawrence Wilkerson: Another Side of Richard Bruce Cheney

  1. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Thanks, Mr. Wilkerson.
    And happy fishing to you, in what’s left of our waterways.
    FYI: http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/8543

    Reply

  2. pauline says:

    From Feb ’09 —
    “Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a “high probability” that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed.
    In an interview Tuesday with Politico, Cheney unyieldingly defended the Bush administration’s support for the Guantanamo Bay prison and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects.
    And he asserted that President Obama will either backtrack on his stated intentions to end those policies or put the country at risk in ways more severe than most Americans — and, he charged, many members of Obama’s own team — understand.”
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18390.html
    I certainly don’t want to make the ugly, ugly prediction the Dick is right, but maybe his G8 deep dark ops “friends” will succeed before the 2012 election in attacking more than one US city.
    Or, maybe 19 more arabs with boxcutters and dirty bombs could do it. With the Dick, one never knows.

    Reply

  3. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Thanls for confirming all my worst fears about Count Darthula…I’ve known most of this fir a long time from careful and extensive readunbg, but it is good to have reliable corroboration…I have my own direct experience with Gale Norton through my work with 3 CT. Indian Tribes, as an informed party to their petitions for Federal Acknowledgement and know first hand about throwing the regs out the window….it happened so fast we all got whiplash….ask Donald Trump who invested in one of the tribes that got punked by Norton…
    Count Darthula gives new depth of meaning to the term “omnivore”…he was being utterly truthfull when asked to serve his country in the draft, he replied, that he had “other priorities”….his attitude toward the national treasury is that of a monarch. Taxeds are for fillign the coffers of the nobility….

    Reply

  4. easy e says:

    As the war drums on attacking Iran get louder, Scott Ritter provides THE FACTS about the existance of Iran’s “secret, undeclared” nuclear facility:
    guardian.co.uk
    “It was very much a moment of high drama. Barack Obama, fresh from his history-making stint hosting the UN security council, took a break from his duties at the G20 economic summit in Pittsburgh to announce the existence of a secret, undeclared nuclear facility in Iran which was inconsistent with a peaceful nuclear programme, underscoring the president’s conclusion that “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow”.
    Obama, backed by Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, threatened tough sanctions against Iran if it did not fully comply with its obligations concerning the international monitoring of its nuclear programme, which at the present time is being defined by the US, Britain and France as requiring an immediate suspension of all nuclear-enrichment activity.
    The facility in question, said to be located on a secret Iranian military installation outside of the holy city of Qom and capable of housing up to 3,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium, had been monitored by the intelligence services of the US and other nations for some time. But it wasn’t until Monday that the IAEA found out about its existence, based not on any intelligence “scoop” provided by the US, but rather Iran’s own voluntary declaration. Iran’s actions forced the hand of the US, leading to Obama’s hurried press conference Friday morning.
    Beware politically motivated hype. While on the surface, Obama’s dramatic intervention seemed sound, the devil is always in the details. The “rules” Iran is accused of breaking are not vague, but rather spelled out in clear terms. In accordance with Article 42 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, and Code 3.1 of the General Part of the Subsidiary Arrangements (also known as the “additional protocol”) to that agreement, Iran is obliged to inform the IAEA of any decision to construct a facility which would house operational centrifuges, and to provide preliminary design information about that facility, even if nuclear material had not been introduced. This would initiate a process of complementary access and design verification inspections by the IAEA.
    This agreement was signed by Iran in December 2004. However, since the “additional protocol” has not been ratified by the Iranian parliament, and as such is not legally binding, Iran had viewed its implementation as being voluntary, and as such agreed to comply with these new measures as a confidence building measure more so than a mandated obligation.
    In March 2007, Iran suspended the implementation of the modified text of Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part concerning the early provisions of design information. As such, Iran was reverting back to its legally-binding requirements of the original safeguards agreement, which did not require early declaration of nuclear-capable facilities prior to the introduction of nuclear material.
    While this action is understandably vexing for the IAEA and those member states who are desirous of full transparency on the part of Iran, one cannot speak in absolute terms about Iran violating its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. So when Obama announced that “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow”, he is technically and legally wrong.
    There are many ways to interpret Iran’s decision of March 2007, especially in light of today’s revelations. It should be underscored that what the Qom facility Obama is referring to is not a nuclear weapons plant, but simply a nuclear enrichment plant similar to that found at the declared (and inspected) facility in Natanz.
    The Qom plant, if current descriptions are accurate, cannot manufacture the basic feed-stock (uranium hexaflouride, or UF6) used in the centrifuge-based enrichment process. It is simply another plant in which the UF6 can be enriched.
    Why is this distinction important? Because the IAEA has underscored, again and again, that it has a full accounting of Iran’s nuclear material stockpile. There has been no diversion of nuclear material to the Qom plant (since it is under construction). The existence of the alleged enrichment plant at Qom in no way changes the nuclear material balance inside Iran today.
    Simply put, Iran is no closer to producing a hypothetical nuclear weapon today than it was prior to Obama’s announcement concerning the Qom facility.
    One could make the argument that the existence of this new plant provides Iran with a “breakout” capability to produce highly-enriched uranium that could be used in the manufacture of a nuclear bomb at some later date. The size of the Qom facility, alleged to be capable of housing 3,000 centrifuges, is not ideal for large-scale enrichment activity needed to produce the significant quantities of low-enriched uranium Iran would need to power its planned nuclear power reactors. As such, one could claim that its only real purpose is to rapidly cycle low-enriched uranium stocks into highly-enriched uranium usable in a nuclear weapon. The fact that the Qom facility is said to be located on an Iranian military installation only reinforces this type of thinking.
    But this interpretation would still require the diversion of significant nuclear material away from the oversight of IAEA inspectors, something that would be almost immediately evident. Any meaningful diversion of nuclear material would be an immediate cause for alarm, and would trigger robust international reaction, most probably inclusive of military action against the totality of Iran’s known nuclear infrastructure.
    Likewise, the 3,000 centrifuges at the Qom facility, even when starting with 5% enriched uranium stocks, would have to operate for months before being able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single nuclear device. Frankly speaking, this does not constitute a viable “breakout” capability.
    Iran has, in its declaration of the Qom enrichment facility to the IAEA on 21 September, described it as a “pilot plant”. Given that Iran already has a “pilot enrichment plant” in operation at its declared facility in Natanz, this obvious duplication of effort points to either a parallel military-run nuclear enrichment programme intended for more nefarious purposes, or more likely, an attempt on the part of Iran to provide for strategic depth and survivability of its nuclear programme in the face of repeated threats on the part of the US and Israel to bomb its nuclear infrastructure.
    Never forget that sports odds makers were laying 2:1 odds that either Israel or the US would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities by March 2007. Since leaving office, former vice-president Dick Cheney has acknowledged that he was pushing heavily for a military attack against Iran during the time of the Bush administration. And the level of rhetoric coming from Israel concerning its plans to launch a pre-emptive military strike against Iran have been alarming.
    While Obama may have sent conciliatory signals to Iran concerning the possibility of rapprochement in the aftermath of his election in November 2008, this was not the environment faced by Iran when it made the decision to withdraw from its commitment to declare any new nuclear facility under construction. The need to create a mechanism of economic survival in the face of the real threat of either US or Israeli military action is probably the most likely explanation behind the Qom facility. Iran’s declaration of this facility to the IAEA, which predates Obama’s announcement by several days, is probably a recognition on the part of Iran that this duplication of effort is no longer representative of sound policy on its part.
    In any event, the facility is now out of the shadows, and will soon be subjected to a vast range of IAEA inspections, making any speculation about Iran’s nuclear intentions moot. Moreover, Iran, in declaring this facility, has to know that because it has allegedly placed operational centrifuges in the Qom plant (even if no nuclear material has been introduced), there will be a need to provide the IAEA with full access to Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing capability, so that a material balance can be acquired for these items as well.
    Rather than representing the tip of the iceberg in terms of uncovering a covert nuclear weapons capability, the emergence of the existence of the Qom enrichment facility could very well mark the initiation of a period of even greater transparency on the part of Iran, leading to its full adoption and implementation of the IAEA additional protocol. This, more than anything, should be the desired outcome of the “Qom declaration”.
    Calls for “crippling” sanctions on Iran by Obama and Brown are certainly not the most productive policy options available to these two world leaders. Both have indicated a desire to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Iran’s action, in declaring the existence of the Qom facility, has created a window of opportunity for doing just that, and should be fully exploited within the framework of IAEA negotiations and inspections, and not more bluster and threats form the leaders of the western world.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/sep/25/iran-secret-nuclear-plant-inspections

    Reply

  5. JohnH says:

    If I were the Saudis, I would think twice about giving Israel overfly rights. They have to know what Iran did to Saddam’s oil infrastructure. Are the Saudis daring Iran to bomb Ras Tanura? Unbelievable!

    Reply

  6. Outraged American says:

    Just got an email from an Iraq/ Afghan vet who is in major pain.
    Cynical? You bet I am.
    I tried my hardest to stop all this madness and knew that the
    outcome would be young people like this one in profound pain
    over what they’d seen and done in TWO WARS BASED ON LIES.
    With a third and forth on the way.
    Steve, I really do think that you’re a decent person, and probably
    Wilkerson is too, in some sort of alternate universe. His mea
    culpa is touching.
    But this kid’s life has been destroyed, and he’s trying his hardest
    to come to terms with everything he was forced to do, like so
    many of the Iraq/ Afghan vets I’ve interviewed.
    These are good kids, a lot from small towns, Bible fearing, who
    wouldn’t have known what a mosque was until they blew one up.
    Toast him the next time you see Wilkerson at a cocktail party.
    You two could have helped stop this by just telling the truth.
    Have a martini on him, although I doubt this kid has ever drunk
    anything more sophisticated than Milwaukee’s Best.
    What makes me cynical is the way the party circuitors play with
    other peoples’ lives.
    Those assholes in DC talk about numbers in terms of troop
    deployment as if they’re kids playing Risk.
    Yet every single one of those troops is a person, and some, like
    this guy, is a very good person suckered into joining into this
    insane imperial adventure for not even the US, but in terms of
    Iraq, Israel.
    And now this really fine human being is paying for it with his
    sanity.
    It is Yom Kippur — you know what — I’m going to fast until
    sundown, well maybe until sundown in Israel, and pray that we
    gain more sanity as a world before the fucking meltdown that
    will be an attack on Iran.
    BTW: Now you all have forced me to look up the 2006 study on
    Iraqi casualties. We had one of the researchers on the show.
    OK, I got the figure wrong, but seriously I had to cover
    everything on the show so have a hard time remembering where
    the kids are (probably at the pedophile’s house down the street-
    – calm down, he’s only a level two sex offender) much less silly
    things like the number of people we’ve killed.
    The number of Iraqis estimated to have died as a result of our
    second invasion was approx. 655,000 in 2006:
    Study Claims Iraq’s ‘Excess’ Death Toll Has Reached 655,000
    Wednesday, October 11, 2006
    http://tinyurl.com/qgtny
    Wait, here’s where I got the other figure of over 1.2 million.
    Knew I had seen it somewhere:
    The estimate that over a million Iraqis have died received
    independent confirmation from a prestigious British polling
    agency in September 2007. Opinion Research Business
    estimated that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed violently since
    the US-led invasion.
    http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq
    h/t informationclearinghouse.info
    One of the best sites on the web. Donate to Tom at
    informationclearinghouse.info – he needs the money to keep
    doing that great work.

    Reply

  7. Outraged American says:

    Just got an email from an Iraq/ Afghan vet who is in major pain.
    Cynical? You bet I am.
    I tried my hardest to stop all this madness and knew that the
    outcome would be young people like this one in profound pain
    over what they’d seen and done in TWO WARS BASED ON LIES.
    With a third and forth on the way.
    Steve, I really do think that you’re a decent person, and probably
    Wilkerson is too, in some sort of alternate universe. His mea
    culpa is touching.
    But this kid’s life has been destroyed, and he’s trying his hardest
    to come to terms with everything he was forced to do, like so
    many of the Iraq/ Afghan vets I’ve interviewed.
    These are good kids, a lot from small towns, Bible fearing, who
    wouldn’t have known what a mosque was until they blew one up.
    Toast him the next time you see Wilkerson at a cocktail party.
    You two could have helped stop this by just telling the truth.
    Have a martini on him, although I doubt this kid has ever drunk
    anything more sophisticated than Milwaukee’s Best.
    What makes me cynical is the way the party circuitors play with
    other peoples’ lives.
    Those assholes in DC talk about numbers in terms of troop
    deployment as if they’re kids playing Risk.
    Yet every single one of those troops is a person, and some, like
    this guy, is a very good person suckered into joining into this
    insane imperial adventure for not even the US, but in terms of
    Iraq, Israel.
    And now this really fine human being is paying for it with his
    sanity.
    It is Yom Kippur — you know what — I’m going to fast until
    sundown, well maybe until sundown in Israel, and pray that we
    gain more sanity as a world before the fucking meltdown that
    will be an attack on Iran.
    BTW: Now you all have forced me to look up the 2006 study on
    Iraqi casualties. We had one of the researchers on the show.
    OK, I got the figure wrong, but seriously I had to cover
    everything on the show so have a hard time remembering where
    the kids are (probably at the pedophile’s house down the street-
    – calm down, he’s only a level two sex offender) much less silly
    things like the number of people we’ve killed.
    The number of Iraqis estimated to have died as a result of our
    second invasion was approx. 655,000 in 2006:
    Study Claims Iraq’s ‘Excess’ Death Toll Has Reached 655,000
    Wednesday, October 11, 2006
    http://tinyurl.com/qgtny
    Wait, here’s where I got the other figure of over 1.2 million.
    Knew I had seen it somewhere:
    The estimate that over a million Iraqis have died received
    independent confirmation from a prestigious British polling
    agency in September 2007. Opinion Research Business
    estimated that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed violently since
    the US-led invasion.
    http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq
    h/t http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/
    One of the best sites on the web. Donate to Tom at
    informationclearinghouse.info – he needs the money to keep
    doing that great work.

    Reply

  8. JohnH says:

    The Honduran military junta suspends the constitution, banning freedom of assembly, transit, and the press.
    http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/3465/honduras-coup-leader-micheletti-decrees-45-day-suspension-constitution
    You would think those who “love democracy” would be screaming their outrage. Instead, it is the silence that is deafening.

    Reply

  9. Outraged American says:

    Wilkerson can do something now about Iran:he can ask Powell
    to speak out, because perhaps my source was right and the
    Saudis have agreed to let Israel use their airspace:
    MI6: Saudis Will Let Israel Bomb Iran Nuclear Site
    British Paper Cites MI6 Chief’s Mossad Meeting
    http://tinyurl.com/y88lkmg
    And this on Pakistan. I’m going to go listen to Peter, Paul and
    Mary, ” Oh when will they ever learn?”
    US Threatening to Attack Major Pakistani City of Quetta
    Will US Drone Strikes Move From Rural Pakistan to Baloch
    Capital?
    http://tinyurl.com/ycl3k52
    H/T to antiwar.com for both. I love Jason Ditz of antiwar.com–
    great reporter.
    A friend and I called every single member of Congress to tell
    them that Powell’s presentation was based on an outdated
    student thesis.
    She and her at that point very young brothers had been my
    students (I was their math tutor) from back when I first got out
    of college, decades ago.
    Her brothers were both in the military and have ended up
    serving repeated tours of “duty” in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    One, who is just adorable — he was the cutest little kid back
    then and now is just a hunk — GI Gorgeous — has come back
    mentally perturbed and with unexplained physical problems.
    Cynicism?
    There is nothing any of the posters on this board can do, even if
    they do work in independent media, to change anything.
    Wilkerson could have. He spoke out in 2005 and I applaud him
    for that, but how many had already died?

    Reply

  10. bob h says:

    I hope somebody asks Cheney whether the recent foilings of terrorist plots suggests that Obama really is serious about protecting the country, and points out that it was done without torture.
    Cheney seems uncharacteristically silent these days.

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    So, Cheney’s Energy Task Force was corporate welfare on an unprecedented scale? And what do you call the deal that the Obama administration has struck with Big Pharma? Seems to me that in size and scope it lays anything Cheney did in the shade.
    “Cheney managed this [cutting regulation] principally by putting into the regulatory or oversight positions within the executive branch of our government, people who either hailed from long service in the industry or field they were overseeing or regulating, or who had lobbied for that industry or field for long years, or a combination of the two.”
    OMG! Cheney committed business as usual in Washington DC! He put people into government who had worked in the industry! Prima facie evidence of a crime, surely. He should have picked people who had no knowledge of the industry they were regulating. Who did you expect him to pick, a communist like Van Jones?
    Come on, guys. Dick Cheney is a conservative. Conservatives are going to try to cut back the regulatory burden on industry, which they see as counter-productive, not only to profits but to whatever public good it was supposed to do in the first place. Writing this up breathlessly as proof of diabolical intent is juvenile as political commentary.

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Col. Wilkerson is to be commended as one of the very few Republicans willing to stand up, speak truth to power….”
    Speaking “truth to power” would be what he COULD have done, and didn’t. Now, he’s simply launched a campaign of trying to erase his own complicity.
    If he’s truly a man that will “speak truth to power”, he will tell this posturing fraud Obama to stop reading the Iraq script to us about Iran.
    But my bet? Wilkerson will join the chorus in singing us into a far bigger and far more dangerous war, sold on lies and fear mongering.

    Reply

  13. Tom Hickey says:

    Col. Wilkerson is to be commended as one of the very few
    Republicans willing to stand up, speak truth to power, and call out
    their fellow party members who preferred party, cronies, and their
    own interests to country. Where are the rest of them?

    Reply

  14. JohnH says:

    Give Wilkerson credit. At least he’s finally come clean about Cheney’s motivations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Obama administration won’t come clean about US ambitions in either place. Nor will the rest of the foreign policy mob, their talking heads and hired pens.
    Now why is it that we can’t get a few Washington insiders (including TWN) to come clean about Washington’s ambitions before the next war? The airwaves are sizzling with bellicosity toward Iran, while those who supposedly prefer a diplomatic solution quietly sit on their hands. And, after the next quagmire, they’ll have the nerve to complain about America’s loss of “position.”

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  15. daCascadian says:

    Nice piece but, as others have suggested, years too late not to mention the (at minimum) hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed and the amount of international respect destroyed never to be regained.
    I will thank Mr. Wilkerson for admitting to the role oil has played in all this. Those that deny that role are deluding themselves at minimum. Time to wake up folks.
    Thanks Steve, but hero isn’t the correct term. I will leave it for those 100 years from now to decide on the proper word to use but I do have a hunch from which group it will come.
    “For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill” – Sun Tzu
    [your Captcha is still crap; this is the 5th attempt at posting this]

    Reply

  16. Zathras says:

    Most of the information here was presented at length in Bart Gelman’s book. It’s not new, and while Dr. Warshaw may have added something to the public record on this subject, Lawrence Wilkerson does not.
    The bottom line is that in nearly every instance where Dick Cheney and Colin Powell — and Powell’s subordinate, Wilkerson — clashed during Bush’s first term, Cheney won and Powell lost. On most occasions, the resistance Cheney encountered from State was of a modest scale, and on at least one of them Powell wound up as the public spokesman for the policy course Cheney wanted to adopt.
    As I am far from an admirer of Dick Cheney, I’m a little uncomfortable writing this. However, it is hard to read this and not think that Wilkerson is simply out to settle a personal score. Were it otherwise, one might think it unusual that Wilkerson’s language here is far stronger than anything he employed when it might actually have mattered.

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  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Many people today are focused on former Vice President Dick Cheney’s complicity in torture. That’s all well and good since, in effect, he has admitted to it on Fox TV and now we’ll see how the system works or doesn’t work to hold him accountable”
    Well, I’d say that question is pretty well resolved, isn’t it? Is there any doubt that Holder is discriminatory and selective in his administration of the law? An answer “yes” to that would make the responder a liar, so, uh, maybe we oughta just let that question hang, eh? But, in truth, the way you phrased the paragraph “system works or doesn’t work” pretty well telegraphs that you know damned good and well that Cheney won’t be indicted or investigated for one single crime. Isn’t it a bit disingenuous to opine that he might be when you know thats not the case?
    “Whether oil, gas, forestry, mining, fisheries, national parks, clean air, pharmaceuticals, food, endangered species – you name it – Cheney was the kingpin in the dismantling of relevant oversight and regulation”
    Well, Wilkie, many of us were saying this in the first months of the Bush Presidency. Where the hell were you?
    Note the scale of Wilkerson’s accusations. Yet did he resign in dissent? Did we see him come forward when some of these crimes and policies may have been stopped before their implementation????
    Too late, Wilkie. Just like Powell, you might add another chapter to your “legacy”, and it might even be a good one. But you can’t erase the chapter thats already been written.
    “Drop the cynicism”????
    Come on, Steve. Some us us don’t see Wilkerson and Powell in the same light you do. Perhaps if we could resurrect a few hundred thousand dead people, (a very conservative estimate), we might feel differently. But we can’t undo Wilkerson and Powell’s active complicity in international crimes of the most egregious nature. We chastise Kadaffi for giving a murderer a hero’s welcome, yet here the murderers walk amongst, never held accountable, with far more blood on their hands.
    To you he is a hero. Fine. To me he is a co-conspirator and a criminal. Maybe both of us are right. But history is already being rewritten to ignore the facts, so who knows where he will land in the history books? I suspect even this satanic monster Cheney might land on some red white and blue pages.

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  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Steve, you have a spam problem”
    Yeah, but I doubt Nadine will go away.

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  19. Steve Clemons says:

    Dan — I know. I clean it out every day. A few spam items is
    easier than the thousands I used to get.
    Outraged — you are late on this. Larry Wilkerson is an
    outstanding American, and he came clean at an event I hosted in
    2005 — and has done much to move the policy dial. Drop the
    cynicism on Wilkerson. He’s one of the great heroes in my view.

    Reply

  20. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve, you have a spam problem.

    Reply

  21. Outraged American says:

    Powell’s presentation before the UN on WMDs was based on an
    old plagiarized student thesis. You must have known that Mr.
    Wilkerson, so why didn’t you speak out and stop the slaughter
    of more than 1.2 million Iraqis (a casualty figure from 2006)?
    We did not invade Iraq for oil — that’s a pure lie — that our
    second invasion of iraq was about oil and not about Israel.
    Iraq only had about 11% of the world’s developed oil reserves.
    Iraq was never our primary oil supplier, ever, not even close. As
    you know full well, the US major oil suppliers are Canada,
    Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Nigeria.
    Having covered what’s happened to the EPA, and the wilderness
    areas (and I’m an avid backpacker), I’ll pull a Norheim and quote
    myself from a post I wrote earlier today about my “Feelings”
    (channeling Barry Manilow) on the Dick Head
    Quoting myself:
    “Although I seriously don’t think Cheney is a human being. I
    think if we peeled off the skin on his forehead we’d find a metal
    plate with the words “KILL / PROFIT/ PROFIT /KILL” engraved in
    a circle around his head like a wedding band engraving.
    Wonder what he’s like to have around at Thanksgiving — they
    probably stash the grandkids in an undisclosed location in case
    he tries to test out a new weapon on them or shoots them in the
    face with a proven one.”
    I’m glad that you’re coming clean Mr. Wilkerson, but why didn’t
    you do it much sooner? Or maybe the Day of Atonement starts
    earlier in DC because it’s tomorrow for the rest of us, even the
    goyim, but if you’re a Catholic it’s every day.

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  22. questions says:

    My sense of Cheney is that there is an underlying issue that explains, maybe, some of this insanity.
    The guy has serious issues with social order and the fact is that resource provision is tightly bound to social order issues. We are not going to remain stable without oil. We will be impoverished, hungry, and violent without it. All movement is oil-based. Farming is oil-based. Pretty much everything we do is oil-based. So oil supply issues are central to the continuity of government, which is a Cheney specialty.
    If you take oil’s centrality to our well-being seriously enough, and you toss in fear of the violence implicit in non-well-being, I think you might actually generate “Dick Cheney”.
    And if you toss in some selfish profiteering that keeps him from thinking imaginatively about energy stability, you might really have “Dick Cheney”.
    I guess I wonder, after reading two previous books about this guy, does he have a soul or not? Depends on how we tell the story.

    Reply

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