Sunday, December 14, 2008

And yet...

As discussed and linked in previous blog entries (see below), despite Colin Powell being up to his neck in decisions re torture, etc., he has been given a 'free pass' by many... The (minimal) cost to this "good soldier" - a few denunciations of Republicans, Palin, Limbaugh, etc.

This week the Senate Armed Services committee released a report saying that waterboarding and other "harsh interrogation techniques" were discussed by top members of the National Security Council (in 2002 and 2003, when Powell was a member) and other senior administration officials. Further confirmation, were it really needed, that Powell was fully aware of and involved in decisions on this subject.

As previously noted in The Powell rehabilitation project, "... following Powell’s exit from the government, his former aide Colonel Larry Wilkerson came out strongly against the poor treatment of U.S. detainees; laid full responsibility at the door of Vice President Cheney and his staff; and said that Powell had no first-hand knowledge of how abuse/torture had come about. While this occurred, Powell remained silent on the issue and made no public proclamations. Due to the close relationship between the two Wilkerson’s views were taken as reflecting the views of Powell. Wilkerson's denunciations were part of an effort to preserve Powell's legacy and indicate that he hadn't been part of the administration's efforts to institutionalize torture... and Wilkerson saved Powell's reputation in the eyes of many people… Powell got “credit” for being a “good soldier”, “team player”, etc. while Wilkerson laid down cover for him… Recently, however, it has come out that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" were discussed in excruciating detail on multiple occasions at the Principals meeting with Colin Powell present. Powell has not really been called out on this. Once when Diane Sawyer asked re him this apparent contradiction Colin Powell said that he didn't have "sufficient memory recall" about the meetings; that he had participated in "… many meetings on how to deal with detainees…”; and, “… I'm not aware of anything that we discussed in any of those meetings that was not considered legal…” However, so far he has not had to explain why he let Wilkerson so publicly exonerate him as not being involved while he was actually very much in the loop ..."

Beyond the torture question, this week a leaked, draft report on Iraq reconstruction also came out... and Powell doesn't come out covered in glory here either e.g. he was fully aware that the officially released numbers of Iraqi security forces "standing up" were false and exaggerated; was unaware of the 'Future of Iraq Project' (the 'best' planning group extant at the time); concurred with the decision to put all post-invasion Iraq activities under the responsibility of the Department of Defense; limited his objections to a "war of memos." etc.

Despite all this, Powell gets a free pass, and it is even bruited about that he will be used in an Obama administration e.g. as a special envoy...

As expected - October 20th
The Powell rehabilitation project? - July 13th

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