Saturday, November 05, 2005

The buck stops where?

Or, to be more specific: will Dick Cheney fall on the sword for George W. Bush? Consider:
  • In his October 19 speech to the New America Foundation, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to then Secretary of State Colin Powell, fingered Cheney and Rumsfeld: "What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made."
In the Q&A after the speech, Harlan Ullman commented, "I also think that the cabal really has a leader and the leader is George W. Bush, and I think that it’s the president who’s driving the ship of state." In his response, Wilkerson made no mention of the president. Search the transcript for mentions of Bush 43, and you'll find precious few.
  • This last Thursday, on National Public Radio, Col. Wilkerson went even further by blaming Abu Ghraib and all other prisoner abuse on Dick Cheney. Read Steven Clemons's (The Washington Note) story here. From the Editor and Publisher story: Wilkerson said he had some hard evidence: a trail of memos and directives authorizing questionable detention practices up through Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office directly to Cheney's staff. The directives, he said, contradicted a 2002 order by President Bush for the military to abide by the Geneva Convention rules against torture.
To my eyes, Wilkerson seems eager not only to pin the blame on Cheney but also to exonerate George W. Bush.
  • Elsewhere on the web, John Dean gives us his thoughts on the likely outcome of Special Prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald's investigation. From Dean's analysis of the Scooter Libby indictment, he concludes, "it appears Libby's saga may be only Act Two in a three-act play. And in my view, the person who should be tossing and turning at night, in anticipation of the last act, is the Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney."
Again, no mention of President Bush. Dean thinks the whole point of the Libby indictment is to get Libby to flip on his boss, Dick Cheney. Another snip: "Will Libby flip? Unlikely. Neither Cheney nor Libby (I believe) will be so foolish as to crack a deal. And Libby probably (and no doubt correctly) assumes that Cheney - a former boss with whom he has a close relationship -- will (at the right time and place) help Libby out, either with a pardon or financially, if necessary. Libby's goal, meanwhile, will be to stall going to trial as long as possible, so as not to hurt Republicans' showing in the 2006 elections." I think Dean's analysis falls down at this point. A protracted legal battle does nothing to help the Republicans. On the other hand, if Libby and Cheney fall on their swords hard and soon, Bush could say, "Show's over, folks, time for the country to heal," put a popular and clean Republican in the #2 slot, and try to patch up his tattered presidency in time for the '06 congressional elections. As it stands, dubya is more a liability than an asset to the Republican candidates. D. Technorati tags: , , , , , .


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