January 2, 2006

Consolidation of Pentagon Power

2005 ended a year in which the Bush Administration continued to consolidate power. The cabinet was re-shuffled to move Bush loyalist Condoleezza Rice into the State Department. Alberto Gonzoles, brought by Bush from Texas, advances from the role of White House Counsel and architect of Bush's torture policies, to head of the Nation's Justice Department. The list goes on.

One name on the list of loyalists who are being brought into the tightening circle around Bush is not a household word. That is Defense Undersecretary for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone. US Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, former Commander of the Abu Ghraib prison, believes he "orchestrated" the policies on US use of torture [1].

Cambone has been brought closer to Bush's political control by a Presidential Executive Order that changes the Pentagon chain of command in the event of an "emergency." This executive order moves the Pentagon intelligence chief into the No. 3 spot in the succession hierarchy; moved down the list are the heads of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The "plan moves to near the top three undersecretaries who are Rumsfeld loyalists and who previously worked for Vice President Dick Cheney when he was defense secretary" according to the Dec. 29, 2005 AP article.
Full Article Link

Even conservatives are unnerved by the consolidation of power represented by this move. According to the AP article, 'Thomas Donnelly, a defense expert with the American Enterprise Institute, said the changes make it easier for the administration to assert political control and could lead to more narrow-minded decisions.'

"It continues to devalue the services as institutions," said Donnelly, saying it will centralize power.'

[1] "The Signal" interview with Janis Karpinski, July 4, 2004.
Full Interview Link Interview Excerpt Below:

Signal: Who is — who are the responsible parties for the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib?

Karpinski: I don't know. I could tell you that — you want my opinion?

Signal: Yes.

Karpinski: General Miller. [architect of Guantanamo Bay interrogation program, which he transferred to Iraq]; General Fast. [responsible for intelligence in Iraq]; General Sanchez. (Defense Undersecretary Stephen A.) Cambone. I don't know if it stops at Cambone, but I believe that he was orchestrating it, he was directing.

She also took blame herself for not speaking out loudly enough.

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