Weeks after President Obama was inaugurated, Dick Cheney gave an interview to Politico slamming Obama’s detainee policies and warning that he was making America less safe (charges he repeated again last Sunday). Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff who left the Bush administration in protest, wrote an essay on the Washington Note last evening slamming Cheney’s fearmongering. Wilkerson calls Cheney “evil” and says his detainee policies were only “assisting” terrorists:
Cheney went on to say in his McLean interview that “Protecting the country’s security is a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business. These are evil people and we are not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.” I have to agree but the other way around. Cheney and his like are the evil people and we certainly are not going to prevail in the struggle with radical religion if we listen to people as he. […]
But al-Qa’ida will be back. Iraq, GITMO, Abu Ghraib, heavily-biased U.S. support for Israel, and a host of other strategic errors have insured al-Qa’ida’s resilience, staying power and motivation. How we deal with the future attacks of this organization and its cohorts could well seal our fate, for good or bad. Osama bin Laden and his brain trust, Aman al-Zawahiri, are counting on us to produce the bad. With people such as Cheney assisting them, they are far more likely to succeed.
Wilkerson also writes that Powell and Richard Armitage “labored to ameliorate the GITMO situation from almost day one” but that Rumsfeld and Cheney were “[s]tanding resolutely” in the way and would “have none of it.”