NEW PENTAGON PAPERS?….I guess I might as well get this out of the way. I’ve gotten a deluge of email pointing me to this piece in Salon and asking why I haven’t commented on it.
In a nutshell, the article is about the neocons who ran the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans and how they hijacked the intelligence process before the Iraq war. It’s mostly stuff we’ve all heard before, but what makes it noteworthy is that it was written by someone who is presumably a disinterested military professional: an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was on the inside and actually saw all this stuff as it was unfolding.
Unfortunately, that’s also one of the reasons I didn’t link to it: the lieutenant colonel in question is Karen Kwiatkowski, a hardcore libertarian opponent of the Bush administration who has since retired and taken to writing endless screeds about the neocons for LewRockwell.com and Pat Buchanan’s magazine, among others. (In fact, the Salon piece is a light rewrite of her American Conservative article from earlier this year.) Needless to say, none of this makes her wrong. But it does at least give you pause for thought.
The other reason I didn’t link to it is that despite Kwiatkowski’s insider status, the article contains almost no firsthand reporting at all. If you read it carefully it turns out that about 99% of it is stuff that I could have written myself. There are one or two direct quotes (“don’t say anything positive about Palestinians,” “Anthony Zinni is a traitor”) and a few suspicions and rumors, but that’s about it. The rest mostly revolves around her disdain for the neocons on both a personal and policy level and her conviction that they were wrong about going to war.
As it happens, I agree with many of her views on this. Still, the question is whether her story deserves special attention because of her insider status, and after reading the article and failing to see much evidence of actual insider reporting I had my doubts. You can, of course, judge for yourself. Just click on the link.