Ex-Powell Aide Criticizes Bush on Iraq
WASHINGTON -- Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff says President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of post-war planning, allowing underlings to exploit Bush's detachment and make bad decisions.
In an Associated Press interview Monday, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees after Sept. 11 arose from a coterie of White House and Pentagon aides who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful," and that the Geneva Conventions were irrelevant.
Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Dubya. I said come back tomorrow.
Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. Wilkerson said that Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."
Wow, those are pretty harsh words. However, I don't think Dick is either a moron or an idiot.
Cheney's office, Rumsfeld aides and others argued "that the president of the United States is all-powerful, that as commander in chief the president of the United States can do anything he damn well pleases," Wilkerson said.
On the other side were Powell, others at the State Department and top military brass, and occasionally then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Wilkerson said.
Powell raised frequent and loud objections, his former aide said, once yelling into a telephone at Rumsfeld: "Donald, don't you understand what you are doing to our image?"