This would be two seemingly disparate, but not that disparate at all, pieces in major magazines, the first a Newsweek article about Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, the second a Forbes column by NYU Professor Nouriel Roubini, currently the "it economist" because of his long-time moniker based on his forecasts of economic pessimism"Dr. Doom'... which, alas, has seemingly finally come to fruition.
In the Newsweek piece, Col. Wilkerson tells us that there are at most two dozen or so actual terrorists at GTMO, including the 14 so-called "high-value" terrorists; rather than mince words, Col. Wilkerson suggests that they cannot be tried because they have been tortured, but they should probably be transferred to Colorado's super-max and forgotten, and everyone else at GTMO should be released immediately. Wilkerson said that he was speaking out now because he felt he had to respond to the [outrageous] public statements of former Vice-President
Annie Oakley Dick Cheney that President Obama would be "endangering the republic" if he completed his plans to close GTMO, and Wilkerson said he felt he had to rebut Cheney's horseshit complete pack of lies, which Wilkerson adds, were created by Cheney and Rumsfeld in the first place in the hope that the poor bastards originally turned over for $5,000 bounties in the first place were close enough to the action to know something. Wilkerson observed that the game continued for so long because Cheney and Rumsfeld dug in their heals about it: releasing the wrongly held men and acknowledging that mistakes were made would have made Cheney and Rumsfeld look bad, and like the weak and ineffectual leaders that they were [and are]. Not to mention war criminals (so I will!)
In the Forbes piece, Professor Roubini calls this nation "The United States of Ponzi" and notes that incarcerated scammer Bernie Madoff was a paradigm of the entire economy and everyone in it, just playing a bigger and bigger shell game of borrowing more and more against unreal assets, as the housing bubble got bigger and bigger, and neither households, businesses or the government took in more income than they spent, instead denying reality by relying on their (fake) assets to pretend otherwise...resulting in a house of cards that we are now observing fall around us, although as Prof. Roubini notes, may still not be fully solving with current plans, if in the end, households, businesses and the government don't start taking in more than we spend.
The unifying point is that these are the two signature issues of our new President's Administration, or, as I like to think of them, our national soul and our national body, both of which have been damaged (possibly irreparably) by the former Bush II Administration, with the cooperation of a reality-challenged public. More people will, of course, think that the economy is more important than a bunch of Muslims foundering in an offshore gulag, of course...but they are wrong: the point of the GTMO exercise was, and is, to demonstrate, simply, that the government can get away with creating a lawless zone, and put anyone it wants there and do anything it wants to them... as long as GTMO, and the other tinker-toys of tyranny stand, unabated, they remain a danger to us all... probably a bigger danger than anyone cares to admit, as more generalized repression is often an eventual tool in the arsenal of many a government's dealing with economic collapse.
The prior handling of these issues to this point has been based on outright lies, in turn, supported by an amazingly... reality-challenged public. A President who seems more interested in demagogue-ing stupid issues and making Special Olympics jokes on a late night talk-show is, alas, not necessarily increasing anyone's confidence about the future handling of them, either.
Though, we can at least hope that we eventually get change we can believe in.
The problem, of course, is that GTMO did prove that they could do it and get away with it. Congress didn't stop them. The Courts didn't stop them. Lots of people voted for Bush's second term. Tearing the place down isn't enough. The Bushies proved it can be done. If it can happen once, it can happen again.
Posted by Bob at March 21, 2009 1:21 AM