Wilkerson: 'Crazy people' make Cheney fearmongering 'dangerous'
David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Thursday March 19, 2009

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Bush admin. knew many at Guantanamo Bay are innocent, says Colin Powell's former chief of staff

It's the "crazy people" in the United States -- those "fringe" individuals who jeered for violence at McCain/Palin rallies -- that make Dick Cheney's fearmongering "dangerous," said Colin Powell's former chief of staff on Wednesday night.

In other words, "the former vice president seems to be suffering from a case of post-causing-other-people traumatic stress disorder," summarized MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in a Wednesday broadcast.

In a Tuesday editorial published by The Washington Note, retired Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson called Cheney "evil" and said the former vice president knowingly kept innocent men imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

The editorial clearly caught Maddow's eye.

"The first of these is the utter incompetence of the battlefield vetting in Afghanistan during the early stages of the U.S. operations there," he wrote. "Simply stated, no meaningful attempt at discrimination was made in-country by competent officials, civilian or military, as to who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation."

"These are evil people," Cheney said Tuesday. "And we're not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek."

"I have to agree but the other way around," retorted Wilkerson in his editorial. "Cheney and his like are the evil people and we certainly are not going to prevail in the struggle with radical religion if we listen to people such as he."

"[Wilkerson] indicts what he calls an ad hoc intelligence philosophy called 'Mosaic' that came into force after 9/11," said Maddow.

"Simply stated, this philosophy held that it did not matter if a detainee were innocent," he wrote. "Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance (this general philosophy, in an even cruder form, prevailed in Iraq as well, helping to produce the nightmare at Abu Ghraib)."

Furthermore, "having too few adequately trained troops and civilians, combined with pressure from then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others to 'just get the bastards to the interrogators' meant lots of hasty abductions of the wrong people, many of whom were sent to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay," noted The Washington Independent.

Finally, "how we deal with the future attacks of this organization and its cohorts could well seal our fate, for good or bad," Wilkerson wrote. "Osama bin Laden and his brain trust, Aman al-Zawahiri, are counting on us to produce the bad. With people such as Cheney assisting them, they are far more likely to succeed."

Speaking to Maddow on her Wednesday show, Wilkerson said he is increasingly concerned about the "fringe" individuals who attended the McCain/Palin rallies during the 2008 campaign.

"I didn't like what I saw," he said. "It frightened me. I think people like Rush Limbaugh and now Dick Cheney, former vice president ... are doing some of that fearmongering too.

"This is not good. There are some crazy people in this country. There are uni-bombers. There are Lee Harvey Oswalds. There are Sirhan Sirhans. These are the kind of people that listen to this fearmongering and it's dangerous. Someone's gotta start talking out about it."

"Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to comment on Wilkerson's specific allegations but noted that the military has consistently said that dealing with foreign fighters from a wide variety of countries in a wartime setting was a complex process," reported the Associated Press. "The military has insisted that those held at Guantanamo were enemy combatants and posed a threat to the United States.'

This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Mar. 17, 2009.

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