By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2013, 7:17pm PT  

We'll have a related-ish story on all of this Monday. But, for the moment --- in the comment thread of our recent story about Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson's vehement denial that his old boss "knowingly lied" during his infamous 2/5/03 U.N. Security Council presentation of what turned out to be false evidence of an Saddam Hussein's WMD program, there was a fair bit of vitriol directed at both Powell and Wilkerson.

A number of commenters feel that neither of the two men have yet to come fully clean, and argued as much in pretty harsh terms in their remarks.

Longtime BRAD BLOG commenter David Lasagna offered this observation in the same thread in response to some of those commenters...

I'm uncomfortable with a lot of the Wilkerson bashing in this comment thread.

I would agree that there are gaps in Wilkerson and Powell's narratives. I share the anger and frustration of the continuing themes in this country of no accountability for those in power, whether the issues are war and death, financial collapse and suffering, or the constant lying and gross misrepresentation of history and reality that we're subjected to every day by most politicians and the bulk of the corporate media.

ON THE OTHER HAND, regarding the Iraq War--

Wilkerson, more than any of the other key players, stopped drinking the cool-aid and began copping to the bullshit. Okay, it's not a perfect copping, but it's distressing to see how many commenters here are so focused on what's missing and acknowledge so little the magnitude of what Wilkerson has done by coming forward as he has AND by being available for further discussion as he continues to be.

It sounds to me like his critics here are doing very little imagining of what it was like FOR HIM to be in that treacherous inner circle. The way I see it, it is just this inability to understand, or even bothering TRYING to understand, someone else's experience/worldview that is at the core of so much of what is wrong in this country.

I would offer that the process of vilifying Wilkerson, as demonstrated in comments above, is a process related to the type of vilification of the "enemy" that so tragically confines and distorts the thinking of all our pro-war players whose nightmarish, illegal, immoral decisions resulted in all the death and devastation that we all decry and that fuel the Wilkerson bashing.

I'm saying that we, the critics, need to offer a different way of BEING if we're serious about trying to derail the madness.

I share the pain, distress, and desire for truth of all those critical of Wilkerson and Powell's narratives. It's beyond maddening what continues to be done in our name and the continuing obfuscation and lack of accountability surrounding our continuing unjustified, cruel, murderous policies.

But continuing vilification of Wilkerson, besides being, in my opinion, an unattractive, perhaps less obvious relative of the mindset/process that leads to war in the first place is, I suspect, particularly counterproductive here.

The point is to learn how to get out of the fucking lemming leap of mindless destruction that nations insanely indulge in again and again.

Regarding our current disasters, Wilkerson, more than anyone else, opened the door to the process of how the fuck these things happen. It appears to me that he feels really bad about his part in it all. Wouldn't it be more likely to bear fruit to engage him in creative discussion of how it all happened than demanding more of the truth as WE see it? Why not help him unravel it all as a sympathetic partner in dialogue? Might not a more empathetic method be more likely to further our understanding and reveal more of the unconscious aspects of this dysfunctional process we repeatedly fall into than hammering away at the guy and triggering a natural defensiveness cuz he's being attacked?

I guess it sorta matters what your objectives are. If it's just blowing off steam, go at it. If it's really doing the painful examination of how as individuals and groups we fool ourselves into war again and again; if our purpose is to learn and become more conscious of what these unconscious processes are so that we can stop doing them and start exploring other ways of interacting with the world, I think a more conciliatory attitude might be helpful. To say the least.

Please, do not misinterpret my exhortations here as a cousin to the "coddling terrorists" meme. I'm not excusing or endorsing terrible mistakes. I am very much for a more productive, humane method of examining them.

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