Cheney's hawks 'hijacking policy'
By Ritt Goldstein
October 30, 2003
World News Section
Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/29/1067233251576.html
A former Pentagon officer turned whistleblower says a group of hawks in the Bush Administration, including the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, is running a shadow foreign policy, contravening Washington's official line.
"What these people are doing now makes Iran-Contra [a Reagan administration national security scandal] look like amateur hour. . . it's worse than Iran-Contra, worse than what happened in Vietnam," said Karen Kwiatkowski, a former air force lieutenant-colonel.
"[President] George Bush isn't in control . . . the country's been hijacked," she said, describing how "key [governmental] areas of neoconservative concern were politically staffed".
Ms Kwiatkowski, who retired this year after 20 years service, was a Middle East specialist in the office of the Undersecretary of Defence for Policy, headed by Douglas Feith.
She described "a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress", adding that "in order to take that first step - Iraq - lies had to be told to Congress to bring them on board".
Ms Kwiatkowski said the pursuit of national security decisions often bypassed "civil service and active-duty military professionals", and was handled instead by political appointees who shared common ideological ties.
There was speculation earlier this year that such an ideologue group had emerged, and that it was behind the US attack on an Iraqi convoy in Syria in June.
The New York Times quoted Patrick Lang, a former senior Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) official, as saying that many in the Government believed the incursion was an effort by ideologues to disrupt co-operation between the US and Syria.
Ms Kwiatkowski said there was an extra-governmental network operating outside normal structures and practices, "a network of political appointees in key positions who felt they needed to take some action, to make things happen in a foreign affairs, national security way". She said Pentagon personnel and the DIA were pressured to favourably alter assessments and reports.
In a separate interview, Chalmers Johnson, an authority on US policy, said that the Administration's neo-conservatives had in effect seized power from Mr Bush.
Dr Johnson said the neo-conservatives had pursued an agenda outlined in the controversial 1992 Defence Planning Guidance. That document, drawn up at the direction of Mr Cheney when he was defence secretary, said the world's only superpower should not be cautious about asserting its power.