Thursday, March 11, 2004
MarkBernstein.org
 
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View from the Inside

In Salon, a first-hand account by Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel, describes how the Bushites corrupted the Pentagon.

From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.
...While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account.

The key sentence comes on page two, where Lt. Colonel Kwiatkowski describes her first day at her new Pentagon job -- in which her new boss gave her instructions that contradicted US policy. "That the Pentagon could have implemented and, worse, was implementing its own foreign policy had not yet occurred to me."

If you're not frightened at the thought of the U.S. military implementing an independent foreign policy, you're not paying attention.

Also, in Military Week, the Colonel reviews a book by her former boss.

For Perle and Frum, it is all just a chess game, static and two dimensional. They leave the bloody and dynamic three-dimensional reality to the soldiers in the field, and the generals who walk a fine line between doing the right thing for the Republic and trying to please their Neronian masters.