by Karen Kwiatkowski
A Question for George Tenet
Mon May 7, 2007 01:11

A Question for George Tenet
by Karen Kwiatkowski

I watched Sunday night as George Tenet promoted his new book on 60 Minutes. Tenet protested his innocence, and maintained his steadfast lack of complicity in Bush’s road to war in Iraq.

I was amazed at the sophisticated and hard-hitting questions thrown Tenet’s way by CBS, now four long years after the invasion of Iraq. Well over three thousand American soldiers, Marines, and contractors are dead, tens of thousands more damaged beyond all recognition. Untold hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, maimed, and traumatized. Millions of Iraqis live as impoverished tenants in their own country or refugees elsewhere, and this number grows daily on both sides.

How nice it must be for everyone involved. A clean studio, the sober semblance of mainstream media curiosity, just the right note of moral outrage, and a former Bush insider spilling the beans – what more could CBS or any of the rest of us ask for?

Each new day seems to bring us one more whining Washingtonian. As an insider witness to the moral depravity that led to the lie-based invasion and the illegal and murderous occupation, I have a simple question for George Tenet.

I won’t ask him about his performance as Central Intelligence Puppy Dog. He’s presumably explained that in his book.

I won’t ask him about the Medal of Freedom he accepted not long ago, although what he ought to do about that is a good question.

I won’t ask him about who leaked his "slam dunk" comment "out of context." I mean, seriously, people! He was just talking about the only thing left to do in 2002 – sell the public on the upcoming regime change in Iraq. That sale was easy, it was a slam dunk and Tenet was right. On the question of the leak of the "slam dunk" phraseology to Bob Woodward, it was clear from the interview that Tenet thinks this particular knife came from Cheney’s office. Modus operandi, and all that.

Instead, I have a very simple question. Why are we in Iraq? Tenet made it clear that no debate ever occurred on whether the United States of American should invade and occupy Iraq – at least not with the Director of Central Intelligence in attendance. Instead, as so many others have reported, revealed, and witnessed – the decision to "do" Iraq had long been made. In 2001? In 2000? In 1998? In 1991?

The questions debated by the administration in late 2001 and 2002 were only about when and how to sell the story to a frightened flock of American sheep. The forcible rape of Iraq was, according to the second-longest serving CIA Director, already scheduled.

Am I to believe that Tenet – presumably in the know on all things intelligence, the go-to boy on national security, the man about town loved by both Republicans and Democrats under Clinton and Bush – this guy doesn’t know why we are in Iraq?

I want to know. I have my theories, as do most people. I don’t believe we destroyed a secular Arab country along with our army, our global reputation and our honor because Dubya wanted a) to vindicate his father, or conversely; b) to show Pop what he was made of.

I don’t know how much of our actions on Iraq were influenced by Foreign Country A, or B, or even C. Israelis and Saudis, or even the Pakistan military might have their reasons, I suppose – but unless they were gambling on chaos and fickleness, or just love a percolating disaster next door, it seems they were mainly cheerleading their friends in Washington, rather than leading them. In any case, it would be nice if Tenet would clear that up for the rest of us.

I don’t know how much of this is related Christian premillennial dispensationalism. I’d sure like to find out.

I’m pretty sure freedom and democracy had little to do with the invasion or occupation of Iraq. Our most reliable regional allies are despots, dictatorships, or militaristic socialist states, as Iraq had once been.

None of the above makes sense to me – but I’d like George Tenet’s help and gentle correction, now that he is speaking freely.

I think the invasion and occupation of Iraq – at its heart – was and remains institutionally supported because it allows all of the key governing bodies in the United States (including the Congress) to reallocate and confiscate more of the national treasury, and to build more military bases around the world. Certainly that has happened, and I don’t hear a loud unified demand from the Congress or anywhere else saying return the money to the taxpayer, and close the American bases in Iraq immediately and permanently.

I think it was timely in light of the circa 2000 euro-based Iraqi oil economy, and the imminent relaxation or cancellation of trade sanctions. While arguably heavy-handed and stupid, invasion provided a face-saving way to ensure US-beholden companies could play with a major advantage in a post-sanction Iraq, and to ensure Iraq’s reversal back to a dollar-based economy. This explanation also has real beneficiaries, all of whom (Congress, establishmentarians including the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal editorial pages and most of the Washington thinktanks) actively support the occupation even as they grow bored with the continued death and destruction.

I also think there are frightened men in Washington with conflicted identities who believe playing war while wearing fine cloth and nibbling the lightest of soufflés will somehow make them manly, admired, virile, and powerful.

So Mr. Tenet, you’re looking good these days. One question, sir! Why are we in Iraq?

May 2, 2007

LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for and Liberty and Power. Archives of her American Forum radio program can be accessed here and here. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.

Copyright © 2007 Karen Kwiatkowski

Karen Kwiatkowski Archives


Dear Patriots;
This is what a former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel thinks of Haliburton, Cheney. the military and
others benefiting from the Imperialistic war against Iraq. [None of the supposedly 911 hyjackers
were from Iraq, they were from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabians are supposed to be our friends.
Saudi Arabians are not from Afghanistan or Iraq. Yet all these Americans and American Com-
panies, with U.S. Government approved, and facilitated, no-bid Contracts, are doing a booming
business in Iraq, financed by YOU & ME. Is this too difficult for stupid American citizens to
understand ?]
Now all these countries either have OIL or ARE NEEDED FOR OIL TRANSPORTATION, {OIL
PIPELINES for the benefit of our dense and dumb American couch potatoes to under-
stand}. (By the way, you Dumb, High, American couch potatoes, grab another beer, smoke
another joint or whatever you do to stay all screwed up. We don't want you to have to
sober up and feel the pain that the rest of us feel. It might hurt you too much).

Please read the article by Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. and
Please Forward this Far & Wide !

"May Jesus Bless You & Yours"
~~~~~~~~~~ chassieman ~~~~~~~~~~~

Do You Dubai?

by Karen Kwiatkowski
by Karen Kwiatkowski


Halliburton apparently does now, as this report from the Houston Chronicle indicates. And to answer the important question, no, Dubai doesn’t. Extradite everyone we ask for, that is.

Perhaps Dubai will extradite Halliburton executives in the future, and Halliburton accountants and administrators and operators, too. We will surely need their testimony, and their bad selves, for all those future criminal charges here in the United States. Maybe Dubai will, maybe Dubai won’t.

If I were Halliburton’s CEO Dave Lesar, with less than two years left in a Cheney administration, I’d move all the junk in my trunk to Dubai, and quick. Time is money. And there could be a lot of time served given the way Halliburton has "earned" their government paycheck over the past six years.

This isn’t about the latest top felon in Washington, Irving "Scooter" Libby, although I can’t avoid seeing some link between his important but mild conviction to the Halliburton move. After all, the Libby trial has been ongoing for some time. As it turns out, regular people really can follow a confusing rabbit trail, and fairly and justly convict a nice-looking, well-mannered guy called Scooter. I predict après Scooter, le deluge for the less likable members of this corrupt administration, and their BFFs.

It is certainly gratifying to see Scooter convicted by a jury of his peers for lying to law enforcement officials. It is extremely disgusting, and unfortunately typical, if one believes former Nixon counsel John Dean (and I do), to see a guy lie to protect the people to which he owes his career.

It is also perturbing and frightening to understand Scooter Libby, a lying, felonious "public servant," is nearly guaranteed a pardon, and probably a George W. Bush Presidential Freedom Medal to boot. Libby was a good soldier in the public fraud leading to a war of choice waged by the biggest and best military in the world against one of the weakest and least capable for no legal or honest reason. Libby helped foment the destruction of Iraq, something he believed in and wanted desperately, a destruction that proceeded apace, and was successful beyond any neoconservatives' wildest dreams.

Some neoconservatives dreamed of a new, larger and awe-inspiring military presence in the heart of the region, able to act in immediate response to actions against Israel (or our own inconveniently placed forces) by any of the "unholy seven" – that list of seven countries the Bush-Cheney administration would "take out" in five years. Others, including many military leaders, dreamed of grand massive new bases, and untrammeled air, land and naval training areas in the western and southern deserts of the former country of Iraq. Still others, including many large government-connected corporations, like Halliburton, dreamed of U.S. government approved, arranged, and facilitated contracts (with U.S. military security 24/7, no charge) while doing a booming business repairing and operating the potentially productive oil fields of Iraq, and of other parts of the region.

The dreams all came true, unless you were an Iraqi, or an American soldier or Marine, or perhaps a parent or brother or sister, or spouse or child of someone who gave mobility, sanity or life for the Bush-Cheney project in Iraq. The deals, the bases and the contracts are nothing new. Just a little something – something patriotic Americans back home can think of as a "freedom discount." Others call it imperialism, still others corporate capitalism on a global scale. Some simply call it immoral, illegal, and criminal.

Imperialism is illegal by any count, because it is force, and theft, and murder, because it is unjust and hateful and contemptuous. Because it is greedy and ugly, its purveyors and its spawn fare poorly in courts of law.

In an age where most Americans today understand exactly what as been done in their name by the current occupant of the White House, charges will flow slowly at first, and then flood the dockets. Convictions will follow. The Libby jury, as hand-picked as any jury where the defense is highly paid and the defendant establishment-borne, concluded that Libby lied. Why he lied, they don’t know for sure. But I’d bet many on the jury have some good ideas of what the whole thing was about.

Halliburton is correct to jump ship to Dubai, a place proud of its independence and freedom of trade, as well as money laundering capacities. The UAE aspires to be the Switzerland of the region, and perhaps replace Switzerland entirely in an age where it is oil, weapons, and drugs, not gold, that constrain, or fail to constrain, the paper dollar.

It will cost Halliburton a small amount of money and a lot of bad press to move their headquarters to Dubai. This move may indicate less a fear of prosecution and tax liability at home than a sincere desire to participate in an unhampered marketplace, or even a belief (well-justified) that just as Jay Garner stated in early 2004, we are in Iraq militarily for 20 to 30 years, the long haul, with primo military bases no matter who is elected the next American president.

In the George W. Bush lexicon, "Freedom isn’t free." And freedom for Halliburton will cost dearly, but the price must be paid. So Dubai it is.

In his second inaugural address only a few years ago, curious George asked this question: "Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?"

The jury is still out on the first question, if only because George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are inadvertently creating new libertarians at an unprecedented rate. However, the mainstream media’s breathless reporting from Washington and Houston confirms the answer to the second.

March 13, 2007

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