Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, formerly of the Department of Defense, claims that 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, she said, 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 rhetoric to the credulous, Hate America Left, and she 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 Department of Defense (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.”
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: “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.”
She gave her interviewer, Marc Cooper, much latitude 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 George W. Bush’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 friends, 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.”
It is difficult 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 is 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. In other words, the terrorists are right: we have met the enemy, and he is us.
This profile is adapted from the article “A ‘Good Soldier’ for the Left,” written by Anthony Gancarski and published by FrontPageMagazine.com on June 9, 2004.