Cheney-Rumsfeld Cabal's Amateur Hour

Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff at the State Department until early this year, publicly blasted the Bush Administration, including accusing George W. Bush of "cowboyism." The Washington Post's Dana Milbank writes, "He said the vice president and the secretary of defense created a 'Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal' that hijacked U.S. foreign policy." Speaking at the New America Foundation, Wilkerson said, "I'm not sure the State Department even exists anymore," referring to U.S. public diplomacy. "And how about Karen Hughes' efforts to boost the country's image abroad? 'It's hard to sell [manure],' Wilkerson said, quoting an Egyptian friend," Milbank writes. As part of an oral history project, another State Deparment veteran said Bush's rush to invade Iraq was driven by "clear political pressure." Robin Raphel, who was coordinator for Iraq assistance, said after the invasion it became clear that U.S. officials "could not run a country we did not understand... . It was very much amateur hour," the Los Angeles Times reports.