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Some Thoughts on Rob Kall's Interview with Lawrence Wilkerson

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In 2011, Col. Wilkerson, Chief of Staff for General Powell (1989--2003), Bush II's Secretary of State, said that his preparing of the February 5, 2003 UN presentation building the case for the Invasion of Iraq was "probably the biggest mistake of my life." Powell has been notably silent since his comment that the evidence was all "bullshit." Well, Wilkerson has been anything but silent, or even respectfully quiet. How many top echelon federal officials can you think of who have been as honest & courageous in dealing with the consequences of their decisions? Pretty impressive!

So, now that the government & the military have managed to create a condition of perpetual war, is our constitution & the rule of law irrelevant for the foreseeable future? Apparently. In 2004, the US military was completing its system of 505 military bases located outside the U.S. There are now more than a 1000. Predictably, the military is reluctant to let us know the exact number.

Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi was killed by the CIA during a covert targeted killing mission in Yemen on November 3, 2002. The CIA used a drone armed with a Hellfire missile to kill al-Harithi and five other al-Qaida operatives. Bush got it exactly right when he warned as he left the White House that Obama would fall in line with his policies on assassination & extrajudicial killings. Wilkerson is one of the few national voices with the guts to introduce this into the mainstream press. As Propublica put it: "The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which draws on a wider array of sources including researchers and lawyers in Pakistan, puts the number of civilians killed at between 482 and 832. The authors of the various estimates all emphasize that their counts are imperfect." Between 482 & 832! Not 10,000! Not 12? What does this say about what we have become? A significant percentage of that number, whatever it is & we can assume we will never know the true number, were & will continue to be children.

It seemed so dark, so bitter to watch the Supreme Court move former president & exDirector of the CIA George Herbert Walker Bush's son into the White House; so dark as to feel like at some fundamental level the country had utterly lost its way. So many of us thought that surely Americans would not tolerate this. But we did. We tolerated it because we had necrotic charlatans like Pat Robertson & Jerry Falwell telling us that they had just talked to God that morning & that He had asked them to let us know how pleased He was with the Supreme Court's choice of former president & former exDirector of the CIA George Herbert Walker Bush's son as our president. We tolerated it knowing it meant shattering the rule of law. We tolerated it knowing that something had gone profoundly wrong & that the consequences would be grim & unacceptable. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush & their craven cohorts in the Pentagon & the Department of Justice knew the moral & ethical underpinnings of America 's Christian majority were so degraded & decrepit that they would tolerate nearly anything as long as it was phrased in pseudo-Christian, conservative rhetoric. John Yoo & Addington, "Scooter" Libby & Condoleezza Rice all knew that the Christian principles of American conservatives were flaccid & superficial & that they would be enthusiastic & compliant when told that assassination & torture were, to use that bastion of moral rigor, Loyd Blankfein's words, "Just doing God's work." They were right. Barack Obama has taken special pains to make it clear to us that nothing has changed. When will he make it equally clear he intends to honor his pledge to bring us change "we can believe in"?  

It is becoming increasingly clear that the functional word for all of us is "degraded."

I think it is nothing short of astonishing that Col. Wilkerson emerged from that septic environment with his conscience in tact. Maybe his fearless honesty will have some influence on where Obama takes us during his second term.

Hot on the heels of this day dedicated to remembering all our dead vets, we should all bear in mind there are many reasons that on average 18 American vets commit suicide each day, but clearly one of the main reasons is that they have been betrayed & they know it. The question, "How do you serve a president who is an assassin?" haunts all of us veterans whether we are dead, about to be dead, or still hanging around.




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Richard W. Overfield is an artist/writer currently based in New Mexico after living in Vancouver, Canada for 20 years.His paintings are represented in over 300 public & private collections in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, France, England, Japan & (more...)

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