The decade that followed the 9/11 attack was marked by wars waged under the flag of ridding the world from terrorists. An ex-chief of staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell says America deceives it is exceptional and powerful.
“We seem to think that we are exceptional, so exceptional that we don’t have to think about other people,” says Lawrence Wilkerson.
This position can be maintained only by a strong state, strong as Rome in its day, notes Wilkerson. “But we are no longer that powerful,” he admits.
The reckoning is coming for the US, believes Wilkerson. “The reckoning when we are just another country in the world. And that day is coming.”
“This is going to be a hard time for Washington, because we no longer going to have the money, we no longer going to have the economic might, we no longer going to have the military might,” he explains.
According to Wilkerson, former Vice President Dick Cheney is convinced he prevented greater evil with his actions, especially torture.
However, the former official argues: “Ends never justify the means… You never know if your lesser evil action actually prevented the greater evil.”
He believes some of the Bush administration members deserve to be put on trial, and he would be ready to testify against them.
“George Tenet [the head of the CIA] told Dick Cheney what Dick Cheney wanted to hear: ‘Oh, yes! It’s working, Mr. Vice President! We’re getting great information and we are stopping terrorism.’ That is utter BS!” Wilkerson said.
They did not stop anything through enhanced interrogation techniques, Wilkerson claims, referring to the information from some of the most respected people in the FBI and the intelligence community.
Wilkerson underlines that Cheney believes that the Americans can torture other people, but no one can torture Americans. And 40 per cent of people in the US agree with it, he claims.
“Most of them think that way because we have the bigger gun.”
Initially America’s reaction to 9/11 was proportional, rational and fairly well-supported in the international community, Wilkerson believes.
However the US should have left about six month after the invasion and transferred power to Karzai, warning “if you entertain terrorists in this country again we will come back and do it again.”
That overreaction to the tragic events of 9/11 has led to profound change – now the US has an executive power beyond any check by the people, by the Congress, by the courts for war.
“We could go to war by a drop of a coin… We’ve reached the point now where the president of the United States can kill people for state purposes any time he or she feels the need.”
“When you combine the power to initiate war with the power to execute it you have a chief tyranny,” Wilkerson concluded, quoting American statesman James Madison.