The Wilkerson transcript

Financial Times: Transcript: Colonel Wilkerson on US foreign policy. Don’t let the title throw you—this is one of the most astonishing insider critiques of the administration, and of the execution of US foreign policy generally, that I have read yet—and it’s only a partial transcript. The summary: a “cabal” of insiders led by Cheney and Rumsfeld has been making foreign policy decisions in secret, with disastrous results when the decisions go to the bureaucracy for implementation, and that we are all screwed as a result. But the actual transcript is far more entertaining. As Salon notes, “Wilkerson has a long working relationship with Powell and was often thought to be someone who would say aloud what Powell thought himself but was too cautious to reveal. If that’s what was happening Wednesday, the former secretary of state has a lot to get off his chest.” Yep:

And I would say that we have courted disaster, in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran, generally with regard to domestic crises like Katrina, Rita and I could go on back, we haven’t done very well on anything like that in a long time. And if something comes along that is truly serious, truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence. Read it some time again…

Under Secretary of Defense Douglas [Feith], whom most of you probably know Tommy Frank said was stupidest blankety blank man in the world. He was. Let me testify to that. He was. Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man.

And yet, and yet, after the Secretary of State agrees to a $400 billion department, rather than a $30 billion department, having control, at least in the immediate post-war period in Iraq, this man is put in charge. Not only is he put in charge, he is given carte blanche to tell the State Department to go screw themselves in a closet somewhere.

Wrap-up of press coverage at The Washington Note by Steve Clemons, who was instrumental in organizing the talk at the New America Foundation (full video is also posted at that link).