Ten Questions and Answers
An interview with Karen Kwiatkowski
Interviewed by Don Nash, Unknown News
Q. You retired from the military at a time that appears to be the height of your professional military career — why?
I retired generally around the time I had hoped, at around twenty years. But I accelerated my actual retirement date twice in 2002 and 2003 because of the ethical difficulties brought on by witnessing the misuse of intelligence in order to support an agenda for an unnecessary, unwarranted war of choice against Iraq.
In August 2002 I began to publish anonymous essays about what I was seeing for the late Colonel David Hackworth and his website Soldiers for the Truth. My retirement letter, so to speak, was in the form of an op-ed, published by the Knight-Ridder newspapers in July 2003.
Q. How would you describe current military and civilian leadership at Defense for all branches of U.S. service?
Politicized, emasculated, obedient to the bureaucracy and ignorant of the Constitution. There may be exceptions, but I can't think of any among those still serving.
Q. There exists controversy surrounding the events of 9/11/01 both as to cause, responsibility, and American responses. Have you any theories as to who is responsible for 9/11/01 and how American government responded to the attack?
I am not sure who is truly responsible for 9-11, or for our ostensible response to it domestically (PATRIOT Act) and internationally (toppling the Afghan and Iraqi governments). Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were publicly blamed for the attack, but I don't recall that they actually claimed credit — and one would think something that “successful” against the “Great Satan” would be claimed by someone.
I am personally curious about the dynamics of the nearly identical collapses on 9-11 of all three towers (1, 2, and 7), the lack of the expected amount of aircraft debris in front of the Pentagon at or near the point of impact, and the nature of the Israeli groups around the country prior to 9-11 known to be spying on Drug Enforcement Agency operations and coincidentally being counter-spied upon by our own law enforcement in many of the same locations around the country as the hijackers in training. None of these aspects have been thoroughly explained by the government yet.
I am curious about the lack of a functional FAA/NORAD response to the simultaneous hijack of four commercial airliners, regardless of the fact that there was a FAA/NORAD exercise scheduled for the morning of 9-11. In the military when we did exercises, we always had ways of recognizing and adapting immediately to real-world crises that might have arisen during the simulation or scenario play.
If the hijackers were Saudis and Egyptians, I find it interesting that we instead went immediately after Afghans and Iraqis, and then placed permanent military bases in both countries. I am curious as to why the war plans for Afghanistan were apparently actually put together in the summer of 2001, and why our bases in Afghanistan and our handpicked Afghan President Hamid Karzai are both linked to UNOCAL pipeline plans in that country. I don't have a theory yet. I am waiting for my curiosity to be satisfied on these technical issues.
I have commented on the government's 9-11 official report, and believe it is fatally flawed.
Q. How would you describe current American foreign policy?
Imperial socialism. Imperial because we want it for everyone, or at least those that have some perceived economic or strategic value to us, and we are willing to use our standing army to enforce our wishes and create dependencies. Socialism applies, I think, because we are practicing it at home, and preaching it as our vassal's salvation as well.
George W. Bush says we are spreading freedom and democracy, but in reality we are spreading secular statism, economic centralism, and martial law and, for convenience I guess, we call it freedom and democracy.
Q. What should the American people make of our government's continual use of names like Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and al-Qaeda as an organization?
I'm not sure. There is an element here of enemy-naming and enemy-promotion to provide the American people with some iconic foreign focus for their problems and their fear. The President, in his recent speech on terrorism, called al Qaeda an Islamo-fascist organization and in the next breath he described it as so decentralized it was almost impossible for it to be directed by a single leader. Perhaps Bush and his speechwriters do not understand the nature of fascism and decentralized systems of organization. Perhaps they do understand, but do not care that they sound like babbling fools when they get up and make such illogical, impossible pronouncements. It seems to be fear mongering, plain and simple.
Of course, we remain vulnerable (and always will) to certain kinds of terroristic attacks in America. But like Oklahoma City, these are as likely to be homegrown as foreign, and in any case, an attack or attacks could not destroy or even make a dent in our way of life, if we remember to uphold our Constitution.
Bush and his speechwriters seem increasingly out of touch with reality. Of course, they could be way ahead of the rest of us, and may intend to permanently alter our way of life here in America, beyond the worst nightmares of certain of the founders who doubted we would be able to retain our Republic for long.
Q. Does America hold any of the blame for the radicalization of Muslim extremists?
We do, in this way. It is the U.S. government which has made a conscious policy for well over sixty years to support anti-democratic and often corrupt dictators around the world. After World War II, it was because of Cold War competition with the Soviet Union. When the Cold War ended, our sponsorship of bad leaders, especially in the Middle East, again reflected our pre-World War II program — pure imperial economics. Hence the sustaining 80-plus-year relationship with the House of Saud.
Our approach to the Middle East calls for us to support leaders like Mubarek and Sharon, as well as the leadership of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and others. We support leaders who play hardball with their citizens and others, leaders who don't take risks with real democracy. We support leaders who prefer statist and corrupt economic systems, and we don't seem to mind that those systems are incapable of providing opportunities, freedom or wealth for the citizens.
Because of this, we appear to many in the region as liars and greedy hypocrites. Our unconditional support for friendly despots, as well as the state of Israel — as radical a religious state as Saudi Arabia, in many ways — shows our true political face to the people who live and suffer under the harsh hand of these governments. In cases like these, radical behavior becomes more attractive as it is often the only thing that gets anyone to listen.
Q. How should America view radical Islam?
The same way we view anything that is radical. First, recognize that “radical” necessarily refers to a minority view or position. We should view radical Islam as something to be watched, and deterred gently, perhaps isolated if it comes to America.
Given that radical Islam is not evident in our own country, and is unlikely to be nurtured here, radical Islam is simply not our problem. Furthermore, a radical Islamic country with oil would still sell it to the United States, so frankly it shouldn't be a big deal for us.
Perhaps, if something “radical” is afflicting a friendly state, just as we would aid a sick relative or a suffering friend, we might seek to help that country get back to a more healthy and normalized position. The idea of Aristotle's Golden Mean — balance, moderation and restraint — is key to all of the great religions, including Islam. In any case, radicalism should never automatically or blindly inspire fear.
Q. American media maintains that America is deeply divided. Would you consider the American people to be divided, and how could the American people overcome these divisions?
I don't believe America is divided, certainly not into blue and red, or war and anti-war. Americans don't like stupid policies. We stand together in rejecting out-and-out stupidity, and while we like to debate alternatives, we agree that stupid and idiotic is no good.
An example of this was seen in the American reaction to the personal behavior of Bill Clinton in his last term, which led to his impeachment. He had no defenders for his behavior in this country — all were united in condemning his lack of control, and lack of respect for his spouse, daughter, other women, the office of the presidency, and the Congress.
Unfortunately for the current administration, we are all again united in condemning the lies that Bush and Cheney felt they had to tell to get a war they wanted on the cheap. No-one in the country today defends the President for his outright lying, or his unforgivable stupidity if indeed he thought he was telling the truth about his invasion of Iraq. No-one in the country defends the disastrous way the occupation of Iraq has been handled. No-one in the country likes the way George W. Bush has failed to improve national security and border control and no one in the country believes that the Department of Homeland Security has added the slightest bit of value to the nation. Not a single American believes that George W. Bush has been a fiscally competent president. There is no division — we all agree, from all political viewpoints, that this administration is the righteous focal point of a growing national anger.
Q. The U.S. Congress gives every appearance of being bought and paid for by special interest lobbying concerns. Would you consider our Congress to be corrupt, and how might the American people regain control over our Congress?
It is corrupt, with the exception of a handful of good men and women who because of their very lack of corruptibility, become politically insignificant as Senators and Congressmen. The only way to get control of Congress is to shrink its budget, and as they control their own budget, we the people may only be able to do that through a massive economic crisis of such a degree that we all starve together.
When we, weak and thin, come through this possible economic crisis, we'd do well to return to the Constitution, and perhaps clarify that the tenth amendment really means what the founders intended.
Too much money abounds in Washington, and it feeds corruption. An alternative solution would be kind of secession from Washington, D.C. I think at least half the states would agree today that they get little back from D.C., and secession would greatly improve their state economies, educational programs, and quality of life.
We might lobby for a practice of impeaching every President as a matter of routine, or otherwise seek ways to throw sand in the gears of national government, to stop it temporarily or slow it down.
Personally, I think the Congress should be in session only rarely, as it was in the beginning. Shrinking the time in session might allow us to have citizen representatives who remember their hearth and home, put it first, and would have no time for lengthy seductions at the federal level.
Simultaneously, we should eliminate any unique retirement programs for elected representatives, and reduce their paychecks.
We would also do well to disband much of our standing military — for all its size and budget, it cannot defend our borders, our buildings, or our citizens, as we've seen in the case of 9-11 or in the recent hurricanes. Bring them home, encourage them to find real jobs, or to report to the governors.
Q. How do you think the global community views America and the American people at present?
They see us accurately, in many ways, when they see us as an imperialistic nation wielding power and creating chaos that we ourselves do not completely understand. When they see us as arrogant, we must recognize that we are indeed an arrogant people these days.
But many in the global community, I think, see average Americans as more consciously in control of foreign policy than we really are. They see the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush as proof that a majority of Americans agree with current American foreign policy and his economic strategies of threaten, borrow and spend.
But Bush's re-election occurred largely because of the domestic politics of abortion and gay marriage. Evangelicals and social conservatives who generally dislike Bush's fiscal idiocy and disapprove of his rife aggression overseas, voted against the former and in doing so, ensured four more years of the latter.
Sadly, even if this domestic social agenda had not done its part to re-elect George W. Bush, his opponent was his clone. John Kerry was nothing if not a fellow profligate in terms of spending and war making.
Thus, I don't accept that our foreign policy is the fault of the individual American — we have in some ways a dictatorship of the proletariat here in America, and the “dictator” is an elite class of state parasites who live for the benefits of massive national centralization, a super-sized standing military, and its grossly obese military-industrial establishment.
October 26, 2005
Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and among other things, writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.
Copyright © 2005 Karen Kwiatkowski