The Left has finally found a soldier it can support: Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, formerly of the Department of Defense. Of course, she's a crackpot who claims George W. Bush toppled Saddam Hussein, because Hussein's trade under the abused Oil-for-Food program was conducted in Euros, rather than dollars. This move by Saddam could cause “almost glacial shifts in confidence in trading on the dollar...(so) one of the first executive orders that Bush signed in May (2003) switched trading on Iraq’s oil back to the dollar.” She also circulates Lyndon LaRouche's tripe to the credulous, Hate America Left...and carved a handy (and, no doubt, profitable) niche for herself on the domestic left-wing, as a result.
Who is this Karen Kwiatkowski, this pundit who came seemingly out of nowhere to elicit praise and collaboration from the elite media organs of the Left? She first became prominent for saying what Donald Rumsfeld’s critics believed all along: that forces of appeasement in the DOD (the “non-violent lobby,” as the Left would have it) were thwarted by the nefarious forces clustered around the Office of Special Plans, whose policies are designed only to defend Israel.
A recently retired USAF lieutenant colonel, Kwiatkowski is making a name for herself in the media, writing for the American Conservative, Salon, LewRockwell.com, MilitaryWeek.Com and a growing list of leftist publications. Left-wing organs pass her off as the quintessential “good soldier,” a Pentagon staffer who was so appalled by the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom that she resigned in protest. Kwiatkowski spent her last four-and-a-half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. Her active service closed with a stint from May 2002 through February 2003 in the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Near East/South Asia and Special Plans. Kwiatkowski’s popularity shows the growing confluence between the Old Right and the Hate America Left.
Kwiatkowski began as a columnist for LewRockwell.com, a website devoted to the legacy of libertarian economist Murray Rothbard and other vanity political concerns. The pairing seemed odd from the start. Kwiatkowski deriving the bulk of her reported income by working for the army. Her other credentials were earned working for the federal government, yet she feels at home on a site whose intellectual forebears have written about the dangers of large standing armies and long to dissolve entire sectors of the government. It’s strange that someone who worked to defend foreign nations ended up on a website with articles like “Socialism and Foreign Aid.” And her parroting of the site’s claim that the current war is the work of Zionist hustlers would seem opposed to the detachment necessary for military planning.
How far is Kwiatkowski willing to go to undo and undermine her former colleagues at the Pentagon? A recent interview with the leftist tabloid LA Weekly has been prominently featured at terrorist-sympathizer site aljazeerah.info, nestled amidst headlines like “Israeli Daily Aggression on the Palestinian people,” “Occupational Depravity American Style” and “Palestine’s Dance of Life Defeats Israel’s Dance of Death.” (Does Kwiatkowski considers those Muslim “paramilitaries” fellow comrades-in-arms?)
Her interview with Marc Cooper is notable. To sum up, the self-proclaimed “lifelong conservative” was appalled by the “neoconservative coup” and its “relentless push for war with Iraq.” Though U.S. military operations in Iraq, like the enforcement of Clintonian sanctions (which, the Left never tires of telling us, were responsible for thousands of innocent Iraqi deaths) and No-Fly Zones, continued from the end of Desert Storm, Kwiatkowski isn’t concerned about that. Rather, she complained that she had no influence over Iraqi policy from her position as an expert on North Africa.
A good soldier would’ve done what she was told and handled her area of expertise. But the ambitious Kwiatkowski had other plans. Purportedly to preserve her sanity, she began writing “funny, short essays” and sending them to David Hackworth’s Soldiers for the Truth website. And so a writer was born.
A look at some of Kwiatkowski’s quips illuminates both the tone of the interview and the impact of her work. Here’s a zinger for her former colleagues in the Pentagon in 2003: “Karl Rove…I suggest building a fire line post haste. The neo-conservative and Straussian imperialists in this administration, for the first time perhaps, will serve magnificently.” She carped that “big-spending, war-mongering, Empire-seeking and ultra-Nixonian secret keeper Dick Cheney is the ugly spawn of a Party that once articulated small government.” In her estimation, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were “fools” while the embattled Douglas Feith was simply “foul.” Nothing is quite so humorless as a soldier who can’t wait to leave the service before performing a high-tech cyberfragging against her former bosses.
It’s telling how much latitude she gave her interviewer, Marc Cooper, to condemn the Pentagon that currently pays her pension. Cooper was unchallenged when referring to Abe Shulsky of the OSP as the “overseeing monitor of the propaganda flow”; in fact, she played into one of the Left’s favorite conspiracy theories, asserting that Shulsky “is a neoconservative…he has that Straussian academic perspective.”
When not dangling Leo Strauss before leftists, in the manner of Lyndon LaRouche, she also pursues the War-for-Oil conspiracy. In the LA Weekly interview, she contends GWB’s “elective” war may have been waged because of the international petroleum marketing:
The switch Saddam Hussein made in the Food for Oil [sic.] program, from the dollar to the euro. He did this, by the way, long before 9/11, in November 2000.... If oil, a very solid commodity, is traded on the euro, that could cause massive, almost glacial, shifts in confidence in trading on the dollar. So one of the first executive orders that Bush signed in May  switched trading on Iraq’s oil back to the dollar.
Like the foreign policy pronouncements of so many of this writer's former paleoconservative pals, Kwiatkowski’s assertions contradict themselves many times over. Yet Kwiatkowski’s work has been cited by dissident journalist after dissident journalist. Pat Buchanan, Jason Vest, and Eric Alterman have been just a few of the names to take her accounts of the prewar gamesmanship in the Pentagon as Gospel. Still, succor from the far ends of the political spectrum doesn’t buy a journalist much credibility – only access to the mainstream press would do that.
Happily for Kwiatkowski, such credibility was conferred upon her. The left-liberal Salon.com introduced her to its readers and embraced a new promotional gimmick simultaneously on March 10. This was pulled off an enthusiastic verve that would make Kwiatkowski the envy of most virgin contributors: “Welcome, MoveOn members, to Salon! Our new Washington bureau brings you this report from within the belly of the Bush administration beast – an eyewitness account of how radical ideologues hijacked the American government along the road to war in Iraq. Salon usually requires readers to watch a short ad or subscribe in order to view a complete article, but we thought this story was just too important – so we're giving you full access without further ado.”
In her work for Salon, as with her work for American Conservative, Kwiatkowski lived up to such advance billing with her unsparing look into the “belly of the beast” and the “radical ideologues” who “hijacked the American government.” Salon readers and MoveOn members read how pernicious was her “duty in a strange new country, observing up close and personal a process of decision making for war not sanctioned by the Constitution.”
However, “up close and personal” that process was, it’s hard to say it informed her reading of those she worked with on a regular basis. The aforementioned Abe Shulsky, for example: “It seemed like Shulsky's real boss was somebody like Douglas Feith or higher.” How illuminating. Likewise, OSP‘s “internal talking points seemed to be a mélange crafted from obvious past observation and intelligence bits and pieces of dubious origin.”
Kwiatkowski peppers her work with cloak-and-dagger details that Michael Rubin of NRO claims don’t match up with reality. And according to Rubin, Kwiatkowski was willing to go to great lengths in her quest to discredit George W. Bush, including linking arms with Lyndon LaRouche’s cult:
Upon her retirement, Kwiatkowski took her story to Jeff Steinberg, editor of the Executive Intelligence Review, the journal of Lyndon LaRouche's movement. Pat Lang, former chief Middle East analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, circulated Kwiatkowski's deposition to Steinberg in a September 16, 2003, e-mail in which he carbon-copied, rather than blind carbon-copied his distribution list. Among the recipients were prominent journalists and producers, scions of the alternative press, and a smattering of current and former intelligence analysts who often serve as sources in news analyses and articles.
Interesting, this convergence: LaRouche reportedly is no admirer of Soros. As the European edition of the Wall Street Journal reported in September, 1997: “LaRouche has alleged that Mr. Soros is a key figure in a global financial conspiracy against sovereign nation-states involving, among others, the Queen of England, international drug cartels and the Israeli secret service. LaRouche has long been at odds with the U.S. political mainstream. But his theories receive a warmer reception in Malaysia, where the 60-page EIR report on Mr. Soros has been passed among Malaysian editors, intellectuals and politicians.''
Kwiatkowski is now recycling LaRouchie myths on such “mainstream” websites as Salon and MoveOn.com.
This theory is supported by Shelton Hull, longtime Florida political journalist and former Fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University. Hull has specialized in reviewing the politics and procedures of the political fringe and offers some insight into this spectrum-spanning collaboration between the far right, the far left.
Hull asserts that Lew Rockwell’s site shied away from open disparagement of Soros, a fact made clear when the editor refused to run Hull’s take on “remarks Soros made late last year to a gathering of Jewish philanthropists – that as a jumping-off point for discussion of the role he was likely to play in the 2004 campaign, a role he was openly declaring by that point in time.” Soros’ role in this year’s ugly campaign, Hull claims, “was something that only the LaRouchies were willing to mention, up until sometime after Kerry’s lock on the nomination had been secured.”
Hull believes that many of the anti-Bush forces in the global media, to make their cases, have resorted to repeating LaRouche’s views. “In recent months, between the exposure of shady accounting tricks by major corporations and the rapid decline in industrial production, LaRouche feels vindicated. I’m sure it helps that the media blackout on his group has been shattered.” Hull goes on to maintain that LaRouche has gotten more coverage this year than in the previous decade.
Lyndon LaRouche’s theories are leased by the respectable Left, argues Hull, because they are convenient and fit situational needs: “Wide swaths of both Left and Right portray Bush as a caricature: not smart, a puppet of shadowy forces – a PNAC, Likud, London, Riyadh, etc. – a holy-roller with messianic tendencies (and) a loose cannon with an itchy finger of the nuclear trigger. These descriptions are poisonous to the nation, because it sends a message to America’s enemies that significant sectors of the population welcome the fall of the House of Bush, by whatever means available.”
It’s hard to overstate the importance of a figure like Kwiatkowski. For one, her former position in the DOD lends her (unwarranted) credibility as an “insider.” As a conservative, she gives leftists who cite her added legitimacy. The motifs scored by Kwiatkowski, Justin “Mossad Conspiracy” Raimondo and Pat “Whose War?” Buchanan are toxic to our troops in harm's way; internal dissension emboldens the terrorists and endangers the public's political support of our troops.
But just as important in evaluating Kwiatkowski’s legacy when it’s finally written is looking at her work and answering the following question: what is she really trying to say? She advances the shared anti-American views of Lyndon LaRouche and George Soros, claiming opposition to U.S. “militarism” is the last bastion of true patriotism (something my old friends at Antiwar.com specialized in also). In other words, the terrorists are right: we have met the enemy and he is us. Her former brothers-in-arms deserve a lot better.