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Truthdigger of the Week: Lawrence Wilkerson

Posted on Sep 2, 2011
AP / Lawrence Jackson

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, testifies in June 2006 at a Senate committee hearing on prewar intelligence relating to Iraq.

Every week, Truthdig recognizes an individual or group of people who spoke truth to power, blew the whistle or stood up in the face of injustice. You can see past winners here, and make your own nomination for our next awardee here.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney launched his long-anticipated memoir this week, a 576-page “grocery store tabloid,” according to Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell and this week’s Truthdigger of the Week.

A member of the Bush administration from 2002 to 2005, Wilkerson has evolved into an outspoken critic of the Iraq War and has expressed regret for his part in making it happen. He has admitted that he helped put together Colin Powell’s presentation to the U.N. Security Council in 2003 pushing for the invasion, and has said it was the “biggest mistake” of his life. But since then, he has been doing his best to make up for that mistake. On Tuesday, Wilkerson said he would be willing to take the stand in criminal court against Cheney. “I’d be willing to testify,” he said, “and I’d be willing to take any punishment I’m due.”

In an interview with Amy Goodman for “Democracy Now!” Wilkerson dismissed Cheney’s book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” as “singularly insignificant,” and said he agrees that Cheney is “not just a political figure with controversial views,” as constitutional law attorney Glenn Greenwald has said, “but an actual criminal, that he was centrally involved in a whole variety, not just of war crimes in Iraq, but of domestic crimes as well.”

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Honorable Mentions


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This week the U.S. Justice Department sued to keep telecom giant AT&T from acquiring T-Mobile in a deal that would drastically reshape the mobile communications landscape. The complaint filed against AT&T shows that every once in a long while, Uncle Sam can be counted on to not just rubber-stamp another monopoly: “AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low-priced rival would remove significant competitive force from the market,” it reads. “Thus, unless this acquisition is enjoined, customers of mobile wireless telecommunications services likely will face higher prices, less product variety and innovation, and poorer quality services due to reduced incentives to invest that would exist absent the merger.” Thanks for watching our backs, DOJ. And thanks for the nomination, @marinaayvazian.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders fought for his underwater state this week in the wake of Hurricane Irene, calling BS on Rep. Eric Cantor’s efforts to turn a natural disaster into yet another excuse to hack away at social programs like Social Security and Medicare. And speaking of Social Security, just last week (Aug. 25) Sanders laid out a plan that he said would keep the program solvent for the next 75 years: Apply the same payroll tax already paid by more than nine out of 10 Americans to those with incomes over $250,000 a year. In nominating Sanders, Truthdig reader Mary said that not only is he “concerned about real people in reality-based reality,” but he “has a good perspective about corporate power and understands what needs to be done to restrain corporate bullies.”

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Watch Lawrence Wilkerson’s interview on “Democracy Now!” below.

Listen to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ take on Social Security.



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By UncleDavid, September 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

The son of a bitch might die, and I for one, would prefer that he did either in court on national TV or in jail.

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By ardee, September 5, 2011 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

Queenie, September 4 at 10:31 pm

That you disagree with Ms. Goodman’s politics is not a problem, though we disagree on that.

That you blatantly disclose a sexist attitude regarding her appearance labels you rather poorly and her not at all. Such an unnecessary criticism says so much about you and nothing at all about her.

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By Queenie, September 4, 2011 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment


I’m with you. Just ONCE I would like to see one of these “reporters” stand up, go to the window, open it and yell, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!”

And then rip up the script they have been given to read and commence to tell us that all politics is bullshit and just a way to divert our attention from the gang rape that is going on just behind our backs.

Just once I would like one of them to tell the listeners, watchers, that unless they have big bucks they are so much trash and they can forget about a future for themselves, their children, their grandchildren….as they sit there and calmly drone on and on, above the fray, secure in their ivy covered towers.

And, what I would dearly love to see is Amy Goodman take out the scissors and cut that goddamn Alice in Wonderland hairdo off, pluck her eyebrows and wear some snazzy clothes. But she won’t. She is a brand. A logo. A bore.

Anyone in her trade who doesn’t question the “official” 9/11 line deserves all the scorn we can heap upon them. Cowards, all.

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By David W. Kent, September 4, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

I applaud Lawrence Wilkerson for his disclosure and willingness to take whatever punishment may befall him for his role in the road to the War in Iraq.

One of the most revealing facts he discloses (to me) was the use of water boarding to gain information as a justification for the basis for war.  The misinformation gained by water boarding was the reason Colin Powell gave his historic speech to the U.N. as a justification for the Iraq War.

There is so much corruption in our government, I am at a loss as to what to do as an individual to help right the ship.  I really think Chris Hedges may be right, just do some act in a non-violent manner to strike at the heart of the evil done by those in power.

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By JniBGood, September 4, 2011 at 7:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I will address the issue of “pied pipers” briefly.

There are many,many pied pipers from both the extreme right and left. This is not just limited to politics.

But, addressing only political pied pipers, I think it valid to classify Amy Goodman as a pied piper. In the ten years since 9/11, I cannot identify any significant difference “Democracy Now” has made to political discourse in America or any change either.

It is comfortable to “report” on events without ever doing anything meaningufl to effectuate real change.

What has changed positively since 9/11 because of anything Democracy Now! has achieved. Are we more democratic. Has the move to fascism lessened because of the efforts of Amy Goodman. She gives speeches [fees?], whe sells books, and she reports on democracy now!

How has it changed anything? We “feel better”! Do we really? Safer? Saner? More Democratic? I think not.

I think we are merely mesmerized like the pied piper of lore by their “reporting” into inaction.

They want our money! Donate! Donate! Donate! Buy from them on line in their stores, purchase their mugs, their tee shirts, buy their books. Support the celebrities that support them.

Ralph Nader! He has donated to Democracy Now! and gets a voice he clearly does not deserve on a national program. One pied piper assisting another one. Same thing with Thom Hartmann, etc., the list is endless.

If, if only they actually motivated people, leading by example, to actually participate in the political process effectively and led the way with a viable third party that they fully support and engage in themselves.

They do not do any of these things. They report. They rant, or rave or complain but they never actually DO anything that will upset their marketing of themselves and their programs. They make a very, very good living off of our desire for a real political party that reflects our democratic aspirations but they do nothing meaningful about it.

Michael Moore, he recently spoke at an event. Urging everyone else “to get involved”. Run for office, take back your party, etc. etc.

Then, HE will make a “documentary” about it and gain more wealth for himself but he will not be an active participant.

If any of these pied pipers were REAL, we would already have a viable third party in America and the GOP [Greed Overwhelming Principle] would be relegated to the dust bin of history.

They take their money, enrich themselves, and the rest of us, like the children in the story, are led away to our fate, whatever it may be.

I think we need to call these pied pipers to account. Enough of the rhetoric. It is time for them to lead the way and put deed together with word and demonstrate a genunine commitment to the change they claim they want for America.

Democracy Now!,? Really?  Okay, let us see some democracy now in action.

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By SteveL, September 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

Ok Cheney and family is the feces sandwich that continues to stink up the entire
planet.  What’s new?

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By blogdog, September 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

conviction for treason is unencumbered by statute of limitation

most certainly, the Rogue B-52/Barksdale Nuke incident must be
transparently investigated, as well as 9/11; however, be prepared for
pace-maker failure, if the most visible link to the shadow government ever gets
close to the testimonial stand in any public court of law

note: when encountering Ms. Goodman on lecture tour, please do ask her when/if
ever she intends to focus seriously on those two events

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By ardee, September 3, 2011 at 6:35 am Link to this comment


Cheney trampled justice, truth and his sworn duty. So far you have only trampled justice.

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By Richard_Ralph_Roehl, September 3, 2011 at 12:00 am Link to this comment

Mr. Wilkerson would be willing to testify against EX-President Dick ‘Darth’ Cheney… and I would gladly serve on the firing squad. If a firing squad cannot be gathered, then give me three feet of piano wire! Demons like Cheney have turned this world into a $hithouse.

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By Observer, September 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

However late,Lawrence Wilkerson hopefully becomes the first of many true Americans who have regained the Courage to make it their undeniable Duty to point their fingers at those responsible for this reckless conspiracy to attack Iraq back in 2003.

Nevertheless,if there would ever be any > justice done < in this Country those despicable,low-life Bush/Cheney - NeoCon/Zionist Insiders,which were part of this “symbolic arrogance,together with their self serving proclaimed righteousness” - must be getting their day in court and deserve to be locked up for the rest of their Lives.
To see these obvious Criminals being given the platform for still writing and telling their appalling Lies,it sure must feel like a slap in their faces for most law abiding citizen,as it begs this consequential question >
How much more does it take until we hear the average American citizen say “enough of that - People,let`s reach for some Pitchforks and Axes”.

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By JniBGood, September 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have to agree.  For one war criminal to condemn another one from the same administration is not very inspiring.

Apparently, wilkerson is a war criminal with a conscience and it bothers him. Not enough to turn himself in the an International tribunal for prosecution, though.

Just enough for him to be willing to lay the whole thing off on Cheney because he knows Cheney literally has no heart, it was replaced with a pump, but he has no conscience either and will never go to trial for his misdeeds.

I guess, pathetic as it is, this is just another one of those times when the war criminal gets off scott free.

If this were a world war and America had just lost it. You can bet Bush and Cheney would both be scurrying off to South America to hide out with others of their ilk.

Since it was not a world war and America won the war, they have nothing to fear, except themselves.  I hope they have endless nightmares and the spirits of the tortured and murdered visit them often causing them restless sleep.

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By Patrick, September 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Using the criteria set at the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945, several members of the Bush administration could (and SHOULD) be prosecuted for war crimes. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, Powell, Yoo, heck—maybe even Wilkerson himself.

I agree with Redwood Guy. NOW you stand up?? Powell should have had the guts and integrity to tell his bosses he would not go to the U.N. with their bullshit, resign, and tell the nation why. The guy had some credibility, and some respect, it might have made a difference. But now he has the blood of thousands on his hands, too.

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By RedwoodGuy, September 2, 2011 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

Gee, ain’t it amazing these guys never find their righteousness until years after they have any influence on affairs?

I am reminded of the giant prick known as Robert McNamara, who years after killing 5 million SE Asians and destroying the lives of a whole generation of American men suddenly found his conscience.

Gee thanks Wilkerson.

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