I have often claimed that it is Dick Cheney, as the administration’s chief of transition in the wake of Bush’s election, who is the real power of the Bush presidency and it is Cheney who hijacked the U. S. government foreign policy, defense, and intelligence apparatus by placed rigid ideologues (they call themselves neoconservatives) into powerful positions within the departments of State and Defense, the NSC, and other intelligence agencies.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who for 16 years served as the top aide to Colin Powell, from his time at the Joint Chiefs of Staff to his tenure as Secretary of State, in scathing commentary has confirmed my contention. Here is a short excerpt of Wilkerson’s remarks, a transcript of which may be found here.
“What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense and [inaudible] on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.
“And then when the bureaucracy was presented with those decisions and carried them out, it was presented in such a disjointed incredible way that the bureaucracy often didn’t know what it was doing as it moved to carry them out.
“Read George Packer’s book The Assassin’s [inaudible] if you haven’t already. George Packer, a New Yorker, reporter for The New Yorker, has got it right. I just finished it and I usually put marginalia in a book but, let me tell you, I had to get extra pages to write on.
“And I wish, I wish I had been able to help George Packer write that book. In some places I could have given him a hell of a lot more specifics than he’s got. But if you want to read how the Cheney Rumsfeld cabal flummoxed the process, read that book. And, of course, there are other names in there, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas [inaudible], whom most of you probably know Tommy Frank said was stupidest blankety blank man in the world. He was. Let me testify to that. He was. Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man.”
And yet, and yet, after the Secretary of State agrees to a $400 billion department, rather than a $30 billion department, having control, at least in the immediate post-war period in Iraq, this man is put in charge. Not only is he put in charge, he is given carte blanche to tell the State Department to go screw themselves in a closet somewhere. That’s not making excuses for the State Department.