Karen KwiatkowskiCareer officer does eye-opening stint inside PentagonSat Aug 9 14:51:43 2003184.108.40.206Career officer does eye-opening stint inside Pentagon Akron Ohio Beacon JournalThu, Jul. 31, 2003Career officer does eye-opening stint inside PentagonBy Karen Kwiatkowski, a recently retired Air Force Lieutenant colonel.After eight years of Bill Clinton, many military officers breathed a sigh ofrelief when George W. Bush was named president. I was in that plurality. Atone time, I would have believed the administration's accusations ofanti-Americanism against anyone who questioned the integrity and good faithof President Bush, Vice President Cheney or Defense Secretary DonaldRumsfeld.However, while working from May 2002 through February 2003 in the office ofthe Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Near East South Asia and SpecialPlans (USDP/NESA and SP) in the Pentagon, I observed the environment inwhich decisions about post-war Iraq were made.Those observations changed everything.What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order anddiscipline. If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of``intelligence'' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why thepost-Hussein occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps,one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretaryof Defense. I can identify three prevailing themes.€ Functional isolation of the professional corps. Civil service andactive-duty military professionals assigned to the USDP/NESA and SP werenoticeably uninvolved in key areas of interest to Undersecretary for PolicyDouglas Feith, Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld. These includedIsrael, Iraq and to a lesser extent, Saudi Arabia.When the New York Times broke the story last summer of Richard Perle'sinvitation of Laurent Muraviec to brief the Defense Policy Board on SaudiArabia as the next enemy of the United States, this briefing was news to theSaudi desk officer. He even had some difficulty getting a copy of it, whilereceiving assignments related to it.In terms of Israel and Iraq, all primary staff work was conducted bypolitical appointees, in the case of Israel a desk officer appointee fromthe Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and in the case of Iraq, AbeShulsky and several other appointees. These personnel may be exceptionallyqualified; Shulsky authored a 1993 textbook Silent Warfare: Understandingthe World of Intelligence.But the human resource depth made possible through broad-based teamwork withthe professional policy and intelligence corps was never established, andapparently, never wanted by the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld organization.€ Cross-agency cliques: Much has been written about the role of the foundingmembers of the Project for a New American Century, the Center for SecurityPolicy and the American Enterprise Institute and their new positions in theBush administration. Certainly, appointees sharing particular viewpoints areexpected to congregate, and an overwhelming number of these appointeeshaving such organizational ties is neither conspiratorial nor unusual. Whatis unusual is the way this network operates solely with its membershipacross the various agencies -- in particular the State Department, theNational Security Council and the Office of the Vice President.Within the Central Intelligence Agency, it was less clear to me who theappointees were, if any. This might explain the level of interest in the CIAtaken by the Office of the Vice President. In any case, I personallywitnessed several cases of staff officers being told not to contact theircounterparts at State or the National Security Council because thatparticular decision would be processed through a different channel. Thiscliquishness is cause for amusement in such movies as Never Been Kissed orThe Hot Chick. In the development and implementation of war planning it isneither amusing nor beneficial for American security because opposing pointsof view and information that doesn't ``fit'' aren't considered.€ Groupthink. Defined as ``reasoning or decision-making by a group, oftencharacterized by uncritical acceptance or conformity to prevailing points ofview,'' groupthink was, and probably remains, the predominant characteristicof Pentagon Middle East policy development. The result of groupthink is theelevation of opinion into a kind of accepted ``fact,'' and uncriticalacceptance of extremely narrow and isolated points of view.The result of groupthink has been extensively studied in the history ofAmerican foreign policy, and it will have a prominent role when the historyof the Bush administration is written. Groupthink, in this most recent caseleading to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, will be found, I believe, tohave caused a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and aco-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress.I am now retired. Shortly before my retirement I was allowed to return to myprimary office of assignment, having served in NESA as a desk officerbackfill for 10 months. The transfer was something I had sought, but my wishwas granted only after I made a particular comment to my superior, inresponse to my reading of a February Secretary of State cable answering along list of questions from a Middle Eastern country regarding U.S. planningfor the aftermath in Iraq. The answers had been heavily crafted by thePentagon, and to me, they were remarkably inadequate, given the late stageof the game. I suggested to my boss that if this was as good as it got, somefolks on the Pentagon's E-ring may be sitting beside Hussein in the warcrimes tribunals.Hussein is not yet sitting before a war crimes tribunal. Nor have the keydecision-makers in the Pentagon been forced to account for the odd set ofcircumstances that placed us as a long-term occupying force in the world'snastiest rat's nest, without a nation-building plan, without significantinternational support and without an exit plan. Neither may ever be requiredto answer their accusers, thanks to this administration's military as wellas publicity machine, and the disgraceful political compromises already madeby most of the Congress. Ironically, only Saddam Hussein, buried under tonsof rubble or in hiding, has a good excuse.
Pentagon Whistleblower Reveals CIA/DoD Fiascos envirosagainstwar.org, Sat Aug 9 22:57
Secret meetings held about Iran Knut Royce, Sat Aug 9 14:59
Manucher Ghorbanifar rainesco, Sat Aug 9 18:24
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