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                                       politics + culture

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wilkerson

Throughout the entire Presidency of George W. Bush, my father, born in 1938, a child of the war that shaped the second half of the 20th Century and an astute reader of the news for...rrr...at least fifty years now...has been telling me that something is deeply awry in our government...in our ship of state. Institutions and practices, however flawed, that were meant to serve the long term interests and security of the citizens of the United States, and in turn, the world, have been twisted...and indeed...perverted.

This critical, significant, must-read speech by Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of State, 2002-2005 expresses the gist of what my dad has been getting at in no uncertain terms. This is the speech my dad's been waiting for. Agree or disagree with his premises or prescriptions, Wilkerson is, to push an image I've been using...another figure walking down the fetid alley of Bush's Washington with a lantern held high and exposing the ugly truth.

I just spent the last 90 minutes reading this speech. (Thanks to firedoglake.) And will reread and comment more when I'm fresh.

If you ask me, this is the other part of the "story" we've all been obsessively consuming in the Fitzgerald case. It's also one hell of a document, including the Q & A.

I'll remember the moment I first read this; if you haven't seen it already...please do, it's an instant document of our times.

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4 Comments:

  • There's a good article by Billmon on this topic. Check it out.

    By Blogger Matt, at 12:09 AM  

  • Thanks Matt.

    But....

    The hunt for the "killer quote" slays that piece for me....Powell as a Nazi?....Wrapped in a paler skin?...Billmon's way off base there, if you ask me.

    (ie. one bloody steak too far)

    Imo, the fact that here we have someone from inside BushCo....Wilkerson... telling tales in a way that has repercussions...is significant...because this moment in history is about two things:

    a legal process
    and a political process driven by journalistic revelations and public testimony

    Last Wednesday I wrote that folks from inside BushCo. would have to begin to tell the truth...to "give interviews". I had no idea that Wilkerson was going to speak that day...but it just makes sense.

    Pressure begets pressure. Things begin to get put in play. It's the nature of turning points, and this is one.

    I agree with Billmon at how disturbing, self-serving, and fractured that speech was...how in service of what it critiques its standpoint was...but that does not defeat its major purpose...shining a light upon very real malfeasance.

    In my view, the left is too cynical by half, even when that cynicism is justified. And that critique Includes many of my good friends and readers here. Cynicism and pessimism are bedfellows.

    One of the most powerful forces history teaches us is the power of the "who knew?"

    There is a tide. And this is one right now. One need not compare Powell to a Nazi to criticize him...

    and there's much to critique there....

    but to cut him down, when his testimony might have been the key to prying open this tin of sardines, strikes me as blind to something bigger that's happening...

    or that has a potential to happen.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 12:35 AM  

  • Been thinking, ko, about your suspicion that there's a big, hidden aspect of this whole story that we haven't heard about yet--that the ripple effects of the Fitz investigation will start uncovering other heretofore untold stories, bigger narratives.

    This diary by mbw (also here) on Judy Miller's 1980s career at the Times and her earlier entanglements with the intelligence establishment seemed suggestive, to me, of one of those possible narratives. I had forgotten (if I ever knew) about the scandal back in the late 70s/early 80s about the CIA employing journalists as agents. When was the last time we read a story about that (Armstrong Williams doesn't count)? Does anybody seriously believe (especially in the post 9/11 world where ethical boundaries--privacy, torture, transparency, etc.--have been enthusiastically allowed to be blurred in the service of "national security") that this isn't still going on? And not, obviously, just by the CIA, but by the other less-publicized agencies (DIA, NSA, Naval Intelligence, State Department INR, etc)? Given the patterns in Miller's career, it's really hard not to see her implication in something like this, either officially or as an in-the-tank propagandist/disinformationist (though I think we can safely assume she's not a CIA asset...).

    That's a story I'd like to see come out of all this--a serious Sy Hersh-type look at the alliances between the press and intelligence establishments.

    BTW, I'm really liking Wampum's efforts at historicizing all this stuff, pointing out the continuities between this political moment and, in particular, Iran-Contra. Not only is Plamegate not a unique event in the historical long-term, in the case of Iran-Contra specifically, many of the same players are still on the board.

    By Blogger wg, at 10:30 AM  

  • re: wg

    Great post. and points.

    Another alley to pursue, another tentacle of the scandal..and one that seems likely to me too. They've put all of this into question...and Iran/Contra is very much unfinished business for all of us.

    (The link is excellent, too, I hadn't read that piece, eithe place...and Wampum today is really, quite good.)

    Thanks, wg!

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 1:32 PM  

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