This Shrillness Puts Even Jonathan Chait to Shame

Oh man. So right now I’m watching this speech by Colonel Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powel’s former chief of staff at the State Department (via Kevin Drum). And boy, is he shrill. And when I say “shrill,” I mean “shuuuuuuuuuh-rrrrrrill.” Seriously, it’s like Spinal Tap designed his sound system and turned his shrillness dial up to “11.” Here he is talking about detainee abuse:

And I’ll finish just by bringing it down screechingly to the ground, and tell you that the detainee abuse issue is just such a concrete example of (the decision making process within the Bush administration) I’ve just described to you, that ten years from now or so- when it’s really, really put to the acid test, ironed out, and people have looked at it from every angle- we are going to be ashamed of what we allowed to happen. I don’t know how many people saw the Frontline documentary last night. Very well-done, I thought, but it didn’t get anywhere near the specifics that need to be shown, that need to come out, that need to say to the American people, “This is not us. This is not the way we do business in the world…”

I don’t think in our history we’ve ever had a Presidential involvement, a Secretarial involvement, a Vice-Presidential involvement, an Attorney General involvement in telling our troops that, essentially, carte blanche is the way you should feel. You should not have any qualms because this is a different kind of conflict… I understand the radical change in the nature of our enemy, but that doesn’t mean we make a radical change in the nature of America. But that’s what we did. And we did it in private. And we did it in such privacy that the Secretary of State had to open the door to my office one day… and he said, “Larry. Larry, get everything. Get all the paperwork. Get the ICRC (International Community of the Red Cross) reports. Get everything. I think this is going to be a real mess…

As former soldiers, we knew that you don’t have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you’ve condoned it. And whether you did it explicitly or not is irrelevant. If you did it at all… you’re in trouble. Because that slippery slope is truly slippery, and it will take years to reverse the situation.

It’s hard work.


Comments: 9


I was reading the online transcript of Wilkerson’s comments to my wife last night and all the dogs in the neighborhood started howling.


I know. I’m surprised it didn’t break my laptop.


Torture never happened! Except when it did, and then it was just a few bad apples. Except when the torture was necessary and provided information that saved lives! And who cares anyway? They’re all terrorists, every goat-hearding, camel-jockeying, head-rag wearing one of ’em! What, don’t you want them to have freedom and democracy? Why are you an anti-Arab racist, you pro-terrorist anti-Semites? WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA, TRAITORS?!?!?


Hahahaha…exactly Chaz, and there are a LOT of those types out there. It’s like they shut off their brains and let the administration provide the talking points a la Charly McCarthy.


I really applaud the courage that some people have to do what they know is right. More and more military types are beginning to stand up and tell the truth every day. Bush can’t demote or bury these people forever. Take the case of the unfortunatley named Bunny Greenhouse.


I was literally physically sick to my stomach over our illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. And then our armed forces began torturing innocent civilians to death. And then 51% of Americans voted the son of a bitch responsible for all of it back into the Oval Office.

Is America going to wake up, or should I submit my immigration papers to a real democracy? That’s the question I’ve been pondering for the past two and a half years.


Heck, I’d even settle for a real constitutional republic with a powerful legislature.


It’s all well and fine for former Administration cronies to stand up and tell the truth-kudos to you all. But, why the fuck didn’t any of you say some of this stuff back when it might have done some good? You know, BEFORE THE GODDAMNED ELECTION!! What, did you think, somehow, that Shrub was gonna grow into the job?! That, surely he couldn’t fuck things up even more?! I mean, really, what’s your goddamned excuse?


/channeling Annti.


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