Mindfully.org  

Home | Air | Energy | Farm | Food | Genetic Engineering | Health | Industry | Nuclear | Pesticides | Plastic
Political | Sustainability | Technology | Water
pce cleanup


Career Officer Does Eye-Opening Stint Inside Pentagon

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI / Ohio Beacon Journal 31jul03

 

Career Officer Does Eye-Opening Stint Inside Pentagon KAREN KWIATKOWSKI / Ohio Beacon Journal 31jul03

Karen Kwiatkowski
Recently retired Air Force Lieutenant colonel
Contact her at ksusiek@shentel.net

(Knight Ridder)—After eight years of Bill Clinton, many military officers breathed a sigh of relief when George W. Bush was named president. I was in that plurality. At one time, I would have believed the administration's accusations of anti-Americanism against anyone who questioned the integrity and good faith of President Bush, Vice President Cheney or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

However, while working from May 2002 through February 2003 in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Near East South Asia and Special Plans (USDP/NESA and SP) in the Pentagon, I observed the environment in which decisions about post-war Iraq were made.

Those observations changed everything.

What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline. If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of ``intelligence'' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Hussein occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense. I can identify three prevailing themes.

I am now retired. Shortly before my retirement I was allowed to return to my primary office of assignment, having served in NESA as a desk officer backfill for 10 months. The transfer was something I had sought, but my wish was granted only after I made a particular comment to my superior, in response to my reading of a February Secretary of State cable answering a long list of questions from a Middle Eastern country regarding U.S. planning for the aftermath in Iraq. The answers had been heavily crafted by the Pentagon, and to me, they were remarkably inadequate, given the late stage of the game. I suggested to my boss that if this was as good as it got, some folks on the Pentagon's E-ring may be sitting beside Hussein in the war crimes tribunals.

Hussein is not yet sitting before a war crimes tribunal. Nor have the key decision-makers in the Pentagon been forced to account for the odd set of circumstances that placed us as a long-term occupying force in the world's nastiest rat's nest, without a nation-building plan, without significant international support and without an exit plan. Neither may ever be required to answer their accusers, thanks to this administration's military as well as publicity machine, and the disgraceful political compromises already made by most of the Congress. Ironically, only Saddam Hussein, buried under tons of rubble or in hiding, has a good excuse.

If you have come to this page from an outside location click here to get back to mindfully.org
Please see the Fair Use Notice on the Homepage