Paul T. Butler, in today’s Globe, has indicated his concurrence with Dick Cheney’s recent assessment that Obama is a dangerous man for, among other things, planning to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.
Now, Mr. Butler, who has previously indicated his pride in having sprung from “redneck” relatives, some of whom, according to him, were partly responsible for handing us our Republic, ought to have a little more pride in what sets that Republic apart from, say, the former Soviet Union. And he ought to dig a little deeper into the facts before he signs on with our former vice president.
In a story reported about a week ago, Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican and the chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, told the AP that many of the prisoners held at Guantanamo were innocent, and the Bush administration knew they were innocent:
In his posting for The Washington Note blog, Wilkerson wrote that “U.S. leadership became aware of this lack of proper vetting very early on and, thus, of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released.”
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney fought efforts to address the situation, Wilkerson said, because “to have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership.”
Mr. Wilkerson says that most of the remaining 240 prisoners still held at Guantanamo should be released, except for “two dozen” real “terrorists,” who should be put in “a high security prison like the one in Colorado, forget them and throw away the key.”
As to why Mr. Wilkerson is just now ratting out the Bush administration:
“I’m very concerned about the kinds of things Cheney is saying to make it seem Obama is a danger to this republic,” Wilkerson said. “To have a former vice president fearmongering like this is really, really dangerous.”
Fear is the currency of demagogues. Dick Cheney, who is a cultural hero to most people on the right-wing fringe, lacks the class to keep his mouth shut long enough to allow the new administration to assess the mess it has inherited.
Fortunately, not all former Bush administration officials are so classless. Condoleeza Rice, former Secretary of State, said the following on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno:
LENO: What do you make of Dick Cheney saying…? I know President Bush says he wants to remain silent and give Barack his opportunity. Uh, Vice President Cheney out there saying that Obama has made the U.S. less safe. Uh, we shouldn’t be closing Guantanamo Bay, uh, the interrogation methods… What is your opinion?
RICE: Look, these are difficult questions and difficult issues. My view is we got to do it our way. We did our best. We did some things well, some things not so well. Now, they get their chance. And I agree with the president. We owe them our loyalty and our silence while they do it, because I know what it’s like to have people chirping at you when they perhaps don’t know what’s going on inside. These are quality people. I know them. They love the country. And they won’t make the same decision perhaps that we did. But I believe they’ll do what they think is best for the country. And I’ll give my advice privately, and keep it to myself.
Finally, if Paul T. Butler’s distant relatives really did help defeat the British and establish our independence, then Mr. Butler should at least have some familial pride in the fact that we are a nation of laws, a nation that should not tolerate imprisoning innocents for years without recourse to justice, a nation that should set the example for the rest of the world (remember the Shining City on a Hill, Mr. Butler?).
And just endlessly repeating the term “enemy combatant” and applying it to someone does not make it true. Even if Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and Dennis Miller say so.
Anson Burlingame writes:
Thursday, March 26, 2009, 02:39 PM
Mr. Graham, you have spurred me to action. If I can get Dave Woods and the IT department off their duff I will begin blogging in this section of the Globe online. I look forward to engaging you in public debate without word count restrictions such as guest columns. For starters, I have a question. Did you write as extensively and with such passion when you were an “Erstwhile Conservative”?
Thursday, March 26, 2009, 04:20 PM
I look forward to your blog. Good luck.
And, yes, I was as just as passionate as a conservative. Just ask anyone who knows me. But I didn’t write as extensively as I do now. Someteime I plan on writing an entry with quotes from some of my old letters to the Globe, etc. I receive some criticism from people who doubt I ever was a REAL conservative. Some people don’t like to believe that it is possible to deconvert from conservatism in the same way they don’t like to believe that you can deconvert from religious dogma.
Friday, March 27, 2009, 06:28 PM
How in the world do you expect to “debate” with Graham? Debate, infers fact, logic, and reason, something his writings lack on all levels.