Kwiatkowski plays a significant part in Eugene Jarecki's 2005 movie Why We Fight, which won the Grand Jury for Documentaries at that year's Sundance Festival (trailer). She provides an insider's tale of how Bushism was forced onto the Pentagon agenda. Rather than take part in a charade, she retired.
that's really when my eyes began to be opened about how our policy towards invading, destroying and occupying Iraq ... when suddenly you have a veil pulled away and you see something - and it was inconsistent with my values as a military officer.
More choice excepts below the fold.
What did she see when the scales fell from her eyes? She looked up from her desk, and she talked in the hallways of the Pentagon, and there she saw the studied, bureaucratic maneuverings that allowed a small cadre of anti-republic insiders to fix intelligence to lie the US into war. She saw a crime on a global scale take shape. And she got out. (Paragraph added 3/3/06 4:41 PM)
There are many choice nuggets. I suggest reading them slowly -- she speaks much more plainly than we are used to.
The Constitution was ignored:
You know, we sort of noticed it pulled the Constitution. We have a sense that the people in the Pentagon will be very apolitical. Certainly, the political bosses reflect any administration, the administration that places them there, and that's fine. But, I saw a type of politicization almost from the very first week in Near East-South Asia policy, which really violated the idea of an apolitical military. This [Pentagon Office of Near East-South Asia Affairs?] was an agenda-setting organization, and the agenda was war. The agenda was an invasion of Iraq. ... But, certainly the agenda amongst the political appointees there, almost a little nest of very ideologically motivated folks.
Was this in response to 9/11? Only as an opportunity. The roots go much further back:
this refocusing of American foreign policy as a unilateral power, as a shaper of not just ourselves but of others, this comes about early on, 35, 40 years ago. Neo-conservatism is a big part of it.
And by what plant did this un-Consitutional doctrine enter into American policy?
But, what it [PNAC's 1998 position paper, "Rebuilding America's Defenses"] calls for is very much what George Bush has more overtly called for, which is America at the top of the world, a unilateral approach and that kind of thing. Very, very similar. I think that Bill Kristol underestimates modestly the - he's a very modest man, and so he is not going to give the project for New American Century too much, but you can find it in the words, and you can also find it in the members. The Project for New American Century brought many, many key leaders and key political appointees, people that were working on the Project for New American Century moved seamlessly into government, and that starts with Dick Cheney.
So what did Cheney and the henchmen from PNAC do? They set up special offices and hired everyone of their operatives that they could. Remember, Cheney had been in the White House cabinet before -- he and Rumsfeld and their top aides had the knowledge and now the power to do this. Mostly, they concentrated on propaganda -- the ideology and the action had already been laid out.
The Office of Special Plans had one primary job, and that was to produce a set of talking points on the topic of Iraq, WMD and terrorism, and we were to use them in any document that we prepared exactly as they were written in their entirety. We were - all of us, myself included, very familiar with what the intelligence was saying about Iraq. But, the problem was, when you look at what was in these talking points, you could tell it was designed to convince the reader that Iraq and Saddam Hussein specifically constituted a major serious, terrible, evil threat to not just his neighbors but to the United States.
Did they tell the truth. No. Did they lie? Yes. Often, at length, and with malice aforethought.
[From the movie, cited in the interview.]
His regime has the design for a nuclear weapon, was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa. [RUMSFELD]
There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. [CHENEY]
The United States knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. The UK knows that they have weapons of mass destruction. Any country on the face of the earth with an active intelligence program knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. [RUMSFELD]
Were they really lying?
But, the intelligence actually said that Saddam Hussein in the '80s, in the late '80s, actively sought fissionable materials in Africa, but he hasn't done anything like that in the past 12 years. The statement, we act like he did it yesterday, taking bits of intelligence out of context without the qualifiers, without the rest of the story, and placing it as a bullet and presenting it as if it's a factoid. ... These guys were manipulating public opinion, OK, creating falsehoods and fantasies to inspire fear in the American people so that they could have their war.
That's just a sample -- there is a lot more there, all of it worth reading. Names are named and more of the means by which the NeoCon agenda was spliced live into the Pentagon are specified. She discusses the strategic importance of Iraq.
One of Kwiatkowski's closiing quotes puts things in perspective -- a damning perspective that at least gives us some reality on which to base our actions.
I think, for guys like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, a lot of the neo-conservatives, even George W. Bush and certainly Cheney, the vision is that we are not really a republic anymore. We're certainly not a limited state. We are the world's most important and all-powerful state, and that we have certain rights. Yes, we have certain responsibilities, but I think the rights are what drive them. And those rights include the right to do what we want, to get what we need, to have what we want to have. I think that's what it is and, you know, we've built very massive mega-bases, permanent. These are permanent military bases in Iraq. We've done that in other places, as well, in the Middle East, but certainly these - this construction project in Iraq, in fact most of the money has been for military construction of - for our use. I think that's a big part of it, shifting our footprint.
[Update 4/4/2006 1:01 PM] Thanks to "Compost on the Weeds" for this heads up:
... the Sundance film that features her, Why We Fight, is playing to larger and larger audiences around the country.It is actually playing this week in my quiet little river hamlet. Go see it! Take your family. Meet your friends. Talk about it.
Internet Movie Database has a link to cities where it plays. Select Showtimes, and click on the map.