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Disagreement At The Highest Level of the U.S. Government

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By John E. Carey
September 14, 2006 (evening)

We beg to differ with the President of the United States and his White House Press Spokesman Tony Snow today.

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We'll cut to the chase. In the White House Press briefing today, the following exchange caused us concern:

Question: "So do you think that Colin Powell, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is just confused about what you're trying to do?"

Answer: MR. SNOW: "Yes."

I can say unequivocally, from knowing many of the players in this particular drama, that General Colin Powell is not confused. Maybe some other words would apply tonight: Concerned. Angry. Dismayed. Troubled.

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But I can assure you, General Powell is not confused.

The White House is trying to make life tougher for the terrorists. We applaud that. But one way the White House is attempting has run into opposition by General "Jack" Vessey, General Colin Powell, Senator John McCain.

We're standing with the two four stars and the Senator, himself a former prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton. They are not confused.

The White House wants a new interpretation of rules governing the treatment of prisoners. The end goal is tougher, more rigorous "grilling" of prisoners.

The former military officers urge restraint. If we, in the United States, toughen up the way we handle prisoners, what protections do our captured men and women have?

That's the issue. Simple as that. Cut to the chase.

I worked for General Vessey while he was Chairman, JCS. I know Tony Snow and met him in his Fox office in Washington DC while making an appearance on the Fox News Channel way back when.

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Know what? Tony owes someone an apology. He went a little over the line today.

Tony Snow made a mistake today. A grievous mistake. But a mistake nonetheless and it can be forgiven. Maybe.

Earlier in today's Press Briefing, referring to General John Vessey and General Colin Powell, both former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Tony Snow said, "in a way we agree with the two gentlemen. They don't understand what we're trying to do here."

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John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

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