Pentagon Whistle-Blower on the Coming War With Iran
Fri Mar 2, 2007 11:28

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Pentagon Whistle-Blower on the Coming War With Iran
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2007 12:19:13 -0500
To: Learning Electronically About Freedom mailing service

Posted on Feb 27, 2007
Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (ret.), a veteran of the Pentagon with firsthand experience of the administration’s cherry-picking of intelligence, reveals why Bush thinks he can win a war with Iran, why few politicians are serious about withdrawal and why “when they call Iraq a success, they mean it.”

Download MP3 audio file (running time: 32:41 / 29.9 MB)


JAMES HARRIS: This is TruthDig. James Harris sitting down with Josh Scheer, and on the phone we have a special guest. She is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, formerly working for the Pentagon, The National Security Agency. Needless to say, she knows a lot about intel and a lot about what took place and what went on before we went into Iraq and what went on with that intel. Many questions have been asked in recent weeks, obviously in recent years about what we knew, what was fabricated, what was made up. On the phone we have somebody who has been vociferous in her effort to out the wrongdoings of people like Douglas Feith and people like Donald Rumsfeld. So, Karen Kwiatkowski, welcome to TruthDig.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Thanks for having me.

JAMES HARRIS: It’s our pleasure. I want to start, not talking about Douglas Feith, but I want to get your opinion about Iraq. We know that British troops and Tony Blair have decided that they’re out. We’ve seen the commitment of other nations drop by 17 countries and our biggest partner, England, is now out. Why do you think they’re out and Bush is still in? Well we know why Bush is still in. Why now?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: It is towards the end of Tony Blair’s long, long term of duty there as the Prime Minister. And the other thing is, the British very much oppose, in spite of the fact that there are some Murdoch newspapers in Great Britain, some conservative papers, pseudo conservative I should say, not truly conservative. Truly conservatives, true conservatives have opposed this venture form the beginning. But in spite of the small, loud pro-war faction in London, most people in Britain recognize this for what it is. They have some experience in this kind of thing with, both in Middle East, particularly in Iraq years ago when they left in dishonor. LAUGHS Another time when they tried to occupy Baghdad, years and years ago, and also their experience with terrorism and movements of independents or what have you with Ireland, much more recent memory for many of the people in Great Britain. I don’t think Britain’s economy can afford it. Certainly they see the writing on the all, why get, why not get out now while George Bush is still there than be stuck with, stuck holding the bag when a Democratic president takes over and pulls the troops out abruptly in 2008, 2009. So I think there’s many reasons why they’re doing it. Some people say it is, it is because of Tony Blair’s concern over his legacy. If he doesn’t bring the troops home, his legacy will be that he left Britain in a quagmire. They are in a quagmire now and maybe he doesn’t want to leave office with that being on his record. Mainly it’s the right thing to do, the people of Britain want those troops home. And I guess their government is listening. Unlike ours.

JAMES HARRIS: The highly speculative people have said they’re out because we’re going into Iran. You might’ve read the news…

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well yeah, I don’t… I had not seen that connection made, but I certainly am alarmed at the daily signs that indeed this country is getting ready to instigate an attack on Iran. All the signs are there, the suggestions that Iranian bombs are killing American soldiers, that’s not true, but it’s certainly been made in, I think every American newspaper, the suggestion that Iran is somehow killing Americans. The suggestion that Iran has nuclear weapons, is imminently close to nuclear weapons. That is not true but that’s been, those claims are made, even by this Administration. The idea that we have two carrier battle groups currently in the region and in fact I just saw today, Admiral Walsh, one of the big guys in the Navy said that we’re very concerned about what Iran is doing even more so than Al Qaeda. So there, all the signs are there that we are being, we’re going to wake up one morning soon, very soon, and we will be at war with Iran. We will have bombed them in some sort of shock and awe campaign destroying many lives and setting back US relations even further than we’ve already done it with Iraq.

JOSH: I want to continue on Iran. You spent obviously many years in the military and you talk in those kind of terms that many people maybe not know about. Can we not just politically, and not just in the region, but can we support another war in another country? Right now we’re in Afghanistan, we’re in Iraq. Can we feasibly actually go into Iran, or is this going to be a shock and awe campaign?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: You know, I think the, one of the big reasons that Bush and Cheney think they can do Iran is that they believe, what they’re hearing from the Air Force and the Navy, two of the three main branches of our military, the two that have been left out of the glory of Iraq, you see. And those guys want a piece of the action, and so they’re advertising to the Administration and publicly, I mean you can read it for yourself, the Air Force and the Navy have targets they believe they can overwhelmingly hit their targets, deep penetration, weapons, possibly nuclear weapons, I mean, nothing is off the table as Dick Cheney is off the table, Dick Cheney says “nothing is off the table.” And the delivery of these weapons, whether they’re conventional or nuclear will be naval and Air Force. They’ll be Navy from the sea and Air Force form long range bombers and some of the bases that we have around the… so I don’t think, certainly, I don’t know, I’m not in the Army, wasn’t in the Army, I was in the Air Force, I don’t think the Army could support any type of invasion of Iran and they wouldn’t’ want to. I’m sure that they’ve, they’ve had enough with Iraq and our reserves are in terrible condition. We’ve got huge problems in the Army and in the Reserve system. So I don’t think there’s any intention to go into Iran, but simply to destroy it and to create havoc and disruption and humanitarian crisis and topple perhaps the government of [Ahmadinejad]. We want to topple that government. Yeah, we’ll do it with bombs from a distance. I don’t know if you call that shock and awe, we’ve been advertising it for a long, long time. It will not be a surprise to the Iranians if we do it.

JAMES HARRIS: That was your former boss, the shock and awe campaign. I’m still shocked and I’m awed.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: [laughs] He shocked and awed all of us.

JAMES HARRIS: As a means of understanding the level of deceit that you claim took place and I agree took place before the war. Because it, the things that are going on in and around Iran sound a lot like the things that went on in 2002…


JAMES HARRIS: And I always note Scott Ritter, because I spoke to him, and I couldn’t believe that we didn’t take the advice of people like him that were saying that there’s nothing there, there’s nothing. Can you describe for us a typical day, if we went in around March, we’re approaching that anniversary, we went in around March of ‘03. What was it like in The Pentagon?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well, I worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and up until mid February I was in Near East South Asia, which is the office that owns the Office of Special Plans, they were our sister office. And so Iraq is one of the areas. And there’s a great degree of excitement, there’s a, we didn’t know when we would invade Iraq, and many people thought it would be in February, late February, early March and it actually was like I think march 23 is when we actually conducted that attack on Baghdad and that kind of thing. Most people in the Pentagon, there’s 23,000 people worked in the Pentagon. Most of those people were as in the dark as any of the Americans. They believed what they read in the papers, and what they read in the papers, particularly The New York Times and The Washington Post had been, for the most part, planted by The Administration. We know this now, the whole Congress knows this now, they’ve had a number of hearings publicly faltered, I think even the DODIG just recently faltered, Doug Feith and his whole organization for planting and mis-, providing misleading stories, many of which were later leaked on purpose to the press. A friendly press, of course, Judith Miller was not, was not hostile to the intentions of this administration. They wanted to go into Iraq, and they intended to go into Iraq. We did go into Iraq, and all that was really needed was to bring onboard the American people, and to bring onboard the Congress. But not necessarily to declare war. Congress has never been asked to declare war on Iraq. And they won’t be asked to declare war on Iran even though we will conduct that war. These guys had an agenda. In fact, one of the things that I did learn as a result of having my eyes opened in that final tour in the Pentagon is that neo-conservatives, their foreign policy is very activist, you could say that’s a nice way to say it, very activist, it’s very oriented towards the Untied States as a benevolent dictator, a benevolent guiding hand for the world, particularly the Middle East. And it’s very much a pro-Israel policy, and it’s a policy that says, we should be able to do whatever we want to do, if we see it in our interest. Now, Americans don’t see any value, most Americans, 75 percent of Americans want the troops home now. They don’t see any value to having our troops in Iraq. They didn’t see any value in that in 2002. But, they had a story sold to them, which was of course that Saddam Hussein somehow was involved with 9/11, had WMDs, and was a serious threat, an imminent threat, a grave threat to the United States.

JAMES HARRIS: For those people that think somehow that government officials, even though you work for the government, were complicit in this effort to move into Iraq. I want you to be clear, as a worker there, you were doing what you thought was right at the time. Is that a safe thing to say?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: We were doing, I’ll tell ya, there’s two parts of how the story is sold, how the propaganda was put forth on the American people, and how it’s been put forth on them today in terms of Iran. You have political appointees in every government agency, and they switch out every time you get a new president, and that’s totally normal. Usually those, the numbers increase after every president, they always get a few more. So Bush was no different. He brought in a number of political appointees: Doug Feith, certainly Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. But also a number of political appointees at what you would call a lower level, like my level - Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel level. And they’re not military officers, they’re civilians. And they’re brought in, and this is where the propaganda was kind of put together, this is where the so-called alternative intelligence assessments were put together by the civilian appointees of the Bush Administration. Most of which, in fact, probably all of the Pentagon shared a neo-conservative world vision, which has a particular role for us, and that included the topping of Saddam Hussein, and it includes the toppling of the leadership in Tehran. These guys are the ones doing it, they’re doing it. They’re putting all the propaganda, they’re spreading stories, planting stuff in the media. They’re doing that to people in The Pentagon, the civil, the Civil Service core in The Pentagon, which is about half of them, and the other half which are uniformed military officers serving anywhere from three to four, five years, sometimes tours in The Pentagon. We’re looking at regular intel, we’re looking at the stuff the CIA and the DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency produces. And that stuff never said, that stuff never said Saddam Hussein had WMDs, had a delivery system, was a threat to the United States. It never said that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 or that Saddam Hussein worked with Al Qaeda. That intelligence never said that.

JAMES HARRIS: Did they tell you to shut up?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Absolutely! [Laughs] That’s a funny thing, and of course, here’s how it worked. Once the Office of Special Plans was set u formally, now they were informally set up prior to the fall of 2002, but formally they became an office with office space and that whole bit. And the first act to follow that setup of the Office of Special Plans, we had a staff meeting, and our boss, Bill Ludy, who was the boss of Special Plans technically, not in reality but on paper. And he announced to us that from now on, action officers, staff officers such as myself and all my peers, at least in that office, and I presume this went all the way through the rest of policy, but we were told that when we needed to fill in data, putting it in papers that we would send up, doing our job, as we did our daily job, we were no longer to look at CIA and DIA intelligence, we were simply to call the Office of Special Plans and they would send down to us talking points, which we would incorporate verbatim no deletions, no additions, no modifications into every paper that we did. And of course, that was very unusual and all the action officers are looking at each other like, well that’s interesting. We’re not to look at the intelligence any more, we’re simply to go to this group of political appointees and they will provide to us word for word what we should say about Iraq, about WMD and about terrorism. And this is exactly what our orders were. And there were people [Laughs] a couple of people, and I have to say, I was not one of these people who said, “you know, I’m not gonna do that, I’m not gonna do that because there’s something I don’t like about it, it’s incorrect in some way.” And they experimented with sending up papers that did not follow those instructions, and those papers were 100 percent of the time returned back for correction. So we weren’t allowed to put out anything except what Office of Special Plans was producing for us. And that was only partially based on intelligence, and partially based on a political agenda. So this is how they did it. And I’ll tell you what, civil servants and military people, we follow orders, okay. And we buy into it. And we don’t suspect that our leaders are nefarious, we don’t suspect that. They, they quite frankly have to go a long way to prove to us that they are nefarious. That’s how it worked, and I imagine it’s working much the same way there in terms of Iran.

JAMES HARRIS: Obviously you’ve been in the military for quite a while. Has this every happened to your knowledge in any other Pentagon, where a political appointees have the power to just control the…

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Sure, well sure, Vietnam is filled with examples. And Daniel Ellsberg’s information and his Pentagon paper that he released factual information that contradicted what political appointees at the top of the Pentagon were saying to Congress and saying to the American people. Yeah, this is typical of how it works. Now, having said that, most people who serve and wear the uniform or give a career of service to the military, whether civilian, civil service or military, we don’t think that our bosses will do that. We don’t think that our military will do that. But in fact history is full of examples of bald-faced lies being told to sell particular agendas. Often times those agendas include war making, certainly in Vietnam they did, under LBJ and a few other presidents. Look at the thing that Reagan did.

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