Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fewer than 24 real Intelligence assets at Guantanamo? Wilkerson says so.

Lawrence Wilkerson, retired US Army Colonel, Vietnam veteran and Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, has written a powerful article pointing to aspects of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp that have not been discussed in the media.

First was the utter failure of the segregation in Afghanistan of high value prisoners from accidental detainees. He attributes that largely to mismanagement by then-secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld. second was the failure of Guantanamo and military managers to act when they realized that a very large number of relatively innocent and mostly useless detainees were being housed at Guantanamo. Wilkerson's third issue is to explain how extremely hard both Colin Powell and Richard Armitage worked to correct the problems created by the first two failures of Bush administration and military management.

Wilkerson's fourth issue is to point to the truly bizarre ad hoc "Intelligence-gathering doctrine dreamed up to conceal the extreme degree to which Guantanamo and its detainees were being mismanaged. The purpose of the new doctrine was to permit the managers to ignore the fact that almost all of the detainees in Guantanamo were both innocent of any real crime and were in fact of no real value as intelligence assets.

There were no more than at most two dozen real leaders with any Intelligence information at all located at Guantanamo. The rest of the detainees were individuals swept up on the battlefield and (properly) handed off by the combat troops to the people who should have been evaluating them and segregating the potential high-value Intelligence assets for Interrogation. The support individuals were not trained to do this and were also under great pressure by the Bush administration civilian leadership to get as many possible people sent back to Interrogation as possible. The result was the beginnings of the disastrous mismanagement of detainees.

In my opinion Wilkerson addresses only a few aspects of the way in which the support of the combat troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan was totally mismanaged by the incompetent Bush administration. Wilkerson is, in my opinion, way too kind to how badly the Bush administration handled the entire set of middle eastern issues. The Bush people had already failed in so many things they had tried that the very threat of exposing one more drove them to commit utter absurdities just to avoid press coverage of another major set of failures.

Because of the continued highly defensive posture taken by ex-Vice-President Dick Cheney and so many other ex-officials of the Bush administration these issues are still being highly covered up. That's the basis for Cheney's attack on Obama the other day, for example. The cover up is not least perpetuated by the Washington political media which seems to have a vested interest is supporting the Bush administration and tearing down the Obama administration. Oddly enough, the Bush administration's attitude towards the massive economic downturn afflicting our economy was "I'll fix itself. We'd just screw it up if we tried to fix anything." So they took a very Hoover-like approach to the economy.

That may have been an accurate assessment of the competence of the conservative Republicans then in power. In fact, most of the current downturn can be tracked back directly to economic policies the conservatives have put into place in the last 30 years.

Obama obviously thinks otherwise and so do most sentient Americans. So he is trying to fix the economy as much as possible as his first priority. But for some reason, the media is still hung up on defending the Bush administration, so they are participating in the conservative cover up. Only the alternate media, such as Steve Clemon's blog where this current article by Wilkerson was published provide the real truth about the degree of sickening mismanagement and incompetence that was the hallmark of the most recent eight years of government.

It is this kind of media defensiveness that has Jon Stewart on the warpath against MSNBC. But as Wilkerson documents in his excellent article, the whole set of problems goes back to the gross mismanagement that has characterized literally every action of the Bush administration, followed by a continued cover up of most of the worst of the Bush administration's failures to govern with even a modicum of competence. The Bush administration was wall-to-wall "Michael Brown at FEMA" from 2001 right through 2009. Guantanamo was only a small part of the overall picture.

Go read Wilkerson's excellent article. This summary can't do it justice.

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