The New Pentagon Papers?

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Reader Ken Cleary points to an interesting, long, and not-completely-convincing-but-well-worth-readin-anyway essay on Salon. Dramatically (and outlandishly) dubbed "The New Pentagon Papers," former military officer Karen Kwiatkowski gives an insider's account of how Iraq policy was set.

It's always a safe bet to discount a failed Ph.D. student–Kwiatkowski strangely opens the piece by announcing "I had completed Air Command and Staff College and Navy War College seminar programs, two master's degrees, and everything but my Ph.D. dissertation in world politics at Catholic University"–but she gives a good (if eminently disgruntled) peek at the inner workings of the Defense Department.

Whole thing here.

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  1. D. Anghelone,

    I’m glad Ms. Kwiatkowski got this exposure at Reason. Her columns are one of the features I enjoy at LRC.

    BTW, it’s ironic that, although all references to neoconservatives are supposed to be antisemitic code, the only reference to Jews in this thread has been Stephen Fetchet, playing the Jew card. I don’t think he’s dumb enough to actually believe it, either. Squealing “Jew” every time someone mentions neocons has become as ingrained a defense reflex as Jesse Jackson playing the race card every time he gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar. You think Lew Rockwell’s gonna give you an Anheuser-Busch distributorship, Stephen?

  2. The sad thing is, if people like Stephen repeat “neoconservative is code for Jew” enough, it can poison the discourse, even tough it’s demonstrably false.

    I guess this is what you do when you’ve got nothing.

  3. According to recent posts on Hit&Run:

    Criticism of neocons means you’re anti-semitic.

    Criticism of Bush means you’re paranoid.

    Voting against a government that supported the invasion of Iraq is capitulation to terrorists.

    I guess life is much simpler when Bush and his allies are good and above reproach, and everybody else is bad and in league with Bin Laden. But that will make it difficult in my lab, where one of the scientists is French and his girlfriend is Spanish. How am I supposed to interact with such wicked people?

  4. Stephen Fetchet:

    “It?s that she knows who is running the military and the war. It?s the [stage whisper] J.E.W.S.

    Sure Stephen Fetchet, when you don’t have anything constructive to say just make unfounded charges of racism. Your silly comment is what is racist here since there are plenty of non-Jewish neo-cons. (not to mention the abundance neo-con critics who are Jewish)

  5. Thoreau-
    I was going to make a similar post but you beat me to it. But here is a serious question: why should this be the case? I expect character assassination from rabid pro-Bush people, but I don’t really think that describes most of the people here. Could it just be intellectual laziness? You know, easier to believe that all is well, because if you admit things are going wrong then you have to turn off your television, get off the cuch and actually try and do something about it?

    Or could it be that changing the flaws in the administration would require a group effort, and self-professed Libertarians refuse to admit to any problems that can’t be solved by Rugged Individualism? As the saying goes: “When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

    Meanwhile, I’m waiting to see how long it takes for patriotic porno shops to start selling “Freedom fly” to its customers.

  6. “cuch=couch.” But you probably knew that.

  7. Two quick comments to previous posts: The reference to Karen Kwiatkowski’s ABD status was meant humorously–a joke that “Kwiatkowski” (if it was her) and any other grad student and completed Ph.D. would probably get.

    And my “outlandishly” refers to the title of the story. I noted the interest and value of the Salon piece, but to call it the “New Pentagon Papers” is, well, outlandish, when one considers the historical reference, especially the publication battles that ensued.

  8. I was just about to make the very point Mr. Gillespie made… “outlandish” is clearly a poke at Salon rather than the author. Nothing the author has written comes even close to the actual “Pentagon Papers.” Her writing is more the “Pentagon Post It Notes.” It is mildly interesting to hear the water cooler chat repeated, but again, is there someone who thought the Bush administration was not influenced by neoconservative thinking?

  9. Oh, please forgive us–including the grad students among us– for not understanding your ABD joke. But there was no ABD joke to be made. If you had understood Kwiatkowski to be ABD, you would have found nothing “strange” about her opening with her credentials. You misinterpreted what she wrote. It’s not the end of the world. Get over it.

  10. Well, the “old Pentagon Papers” were an official government-created history of U.S. involvement in SE Asia. Was this also government-created?

  11. Karen? Karen?

  12. “Sure, there are some ABD (all-but-dissertation) people out there who are completely full of BS.”

    It goes like this:

    AS = All Shit

    BS = Bull Shit

    MS = More Shit

    PhD = Piled Higher and Deeper

  13. A Lt. Colonel over 20, in the Air Force and female is a person who did not make the grade for retention or further promotion unless she began her career as an enlisted person and remained enlisted for 5 years before attending Officer Candidate School (OCS). One bad Officers Efficency Report (OER) will ruin you.
    Once you fall behind your peer group or recieve additional negative OERs you are lucky if DoD lets you complete 20 years and retire.

    As a Lt. Colonel (05) she does not or did not have access to the decision and/or policy makers in the Pentagon. 05s are basic planners and perform logistics functions in support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Command Centers or serve as aides to Brigadier (O-7) or Major (O-8) Generals.

    I sense an injured ego in her writings.

  14. Rick Laredo-

    Your take on it makes sense. But one question. You start off by describing her as:

    A Lt. Colonel over 20, in the Air Force and female is a person who…

    While the rest of your post makes no issue of her gender, you made a point of including her gender in the introduction. I’m not making any accusations against you, for all I know your statement could simply be a recognition of factors in the environment of the Pentagon. But I’m curious why you made a point of including her gender. Is it relevant?

  15. thoreau, some people will say I am mistaken in what follows, but for the past two decades women in the military offices ranks have been given special consideration when it comes to choice assignments, service schools and most importantly promotions. I have witnessed highly qualified male offices passed over for promotion because of this policy.
    Further there is documented evidence in recent successful lawsuits of promotion boards instructing the board members to consider gender and race in promotions.

    So to directly answer your question her gender is relevant because she held an advantage over her fellow male officers in the career cycle. The exception being the possibility of enlisted service as written in my earlier post

    Therefore in my opinion this female Air Force Officer had an advantage in the promotion process, yet her career did not progress as she expected, hence my statement that I suspect an injured ego.

  16. Fair enough.

  17. rick laredo,

    The existance of an injured ego sheds no light on the validity (or lack thereof) of her statements.

  18. Rick,

    In the past, Fetchet has suggested that anyone who calls for an Israeli evacuation of the West Bank and Gaza is borderline antisemitic, because the Arabs who want to exterminate all Jews also call for such an evacuation. He actually said that calling for a removal of Israeli settlers from the West Bank was reminiscent of Nazi calls for the removal of Jews from Berlin.

    He’s suggested that any discussion of the ties between the Likudniks and the Bush administration is tantamount to believing “the J.E.W.S. control everything.”

    The real problem, I think, is that Fetchet is an [stage whisper] I.N.T.E.L.L.E.C.T.U.A.L. W.H.O.R.E.

    For your enjoyment:

    “Of course, the real problem is he’s a “neocon”, or as Cynthia McKinney’s father said in a stage whisper, a J. E. W.”
    Posted by Stephen Fetchet at July 25, 2003 09:09 AM

    “Thanks Don, for reminding us that it’s mostly the J. E. W. S. behind all of this, as usual. It’s not an authentic internet political conversation until somebody’s argued that it’s all the fault of the international zionist financier conspiracy.”
    Posted by: Stephen Fetchet on November 26, 2003 02:30 PM

    “There ya go, Rick. Osama attacked us because we’re friendly with the J.E.W.S.”
    Posted by: Stephen Fetchet on December 29, 2003 10:43 AM

    “You argue that we merely need to drive the Jews, er, Israelis, out of the West Bank and Gaza and the settlements.”
    Posted by: Stephen Fetchet on February 16, 2004 07:54 AM

    “As for the American Conservative crowd – the Buchananites – I’d take anything coming from that wing of alleged conservativism said about the [stage whisper] J. E. W. S. with a grain of salt.”
    Posted by: Stephen Fetchet on February 26, 2004 07:51 AM

  19. rick laredo,

    And let me blunt; “making the grade” in the military has as much to do with your ability sucking bureaucratic, etc. cock as it does with merit. Indeed, she may be disgruntled; she may be disgruntled for a reason – that she was unwilling to ignore non-sensical or irrational commands or doctrines from those higher up on the food chain.

  20. Jean Bart,I am simply expressing my opinion that I question the validity of her claim on the basis of her having access to the decision makers as she claims.
    A passed over 05 does not have such access.
    This is where the ego comes into play.

  21. As Junior Army Officer who has a sibling and an old college roommate in the Air Force I feel compelled to point out that most military officers retire after 22 years at the rank of 0-5, LTC. The author of the article retired after close to 25 years at O-5. Making O-6 is by no means guaranteed in any branch of the military in fact most Air Force O-6?s are pilots as most Army O-6?s are branch combat arms, this woman was neither as far as I can tell. Additionally it looks like she took at least four years off of her career track in order to obtain several higher-level degrees?, which would cause her to fall behind her peers.

    An earlier poster stated that a negative OER would cause her to fall behind her peers this is not entirely true since past OER?s are sealed after a officer makes O-3. Hope this post clears up some of the military confusion. If you need any more information please ask. I frequently read the H&R at reason but don?t post that often because my writing skills without spell check are not as articulate as the rest of you regulars; Thoreau, Jennifer, Jean Bart, ext?

  22. Jean Bart, there is a political factor to be considered whether you choose a civilian or a military career.
    However please note that she obtained an education both military and civilian far superior to most individuals and I will wager that the DoD paid for this education. In return for this education the officer is expected to repay the military with additional years of service.
    To be declined retention on active duty with an outstanding education debt is not common.
    In my opinion the food chain gave her ample opportunity to make the grade but she failed.

  23. For those of you who criticize this woman’s ego, rank or lack of a PhD, try this experiment:

    1. Pretend her report was written by whoever you most admire in this world;
    2. Now, judge the report ON ITS OWN MERITS.

    We already know you dislike the messenger; now, let’s focus on the message.

  24. Let me clear up just a few things. I am not disgruntled, and actually had a wonderful and fun career for the first 19 years. My promotion schedule was Capt in ’87, Maj in ’95, Lt Col in ’00, and I retired at 3 years and one month time in grade at Lt Col. You have to stay 3 years to retire at that rank, so I stayed 3 months over my 20 year requirement to meet the 3 year TIG mandate. You can stay 24 years as a Lt Col, and I have many friends who did and are doing that.

    The “New Pentagon Papers” moniker was Salon’s idea, the only parallel is government lies and creativity to support a war of choice for reasons to be shared later if ever.

    The anti-semitic charge is something that has been a bit overused by neoconservative defenders against their critics. As pointed out already, it is neither true in the real world or even in the theoretical world, as neoconservative policy supporters come from all religious persuasions as do their opponents.

    Does this help? 😉

  25. dave,

    She might also have been a less than “cooperative” officer.

    rick laredo,

    Well, the bureaucratic framework surrouding a military career is far worse than what is found in the private sector.

  26. Just a question, Jean Bart, what is your experience in or with the American military?

  27. JB has previously stated that he was a marine in the French army and fought alongside american soldiers in Gulf War 1.
    So he probably knows a bit more about the American Miltary than those who form their impressions from watching Bruce Willis movies.
    You are welcome.

  28. “As pointed out already, it is neither true in the real world or even in the theoretical world, as neoconservative policy supporters come from all religious persuasions as do their opponents.”

    This is fully understood by the people who make the charge. They’re just being [stage whisper] D.I.S.I.N.G.E.N.U.O.U.S.

  29. SM,

    Well, in general, my experiences with the 82nd Airborne (2nd Brigade) were positive (indeed, I would argue that the Division Daguet and 82nd Airborne meshed very well); mostly I am drawing my comments on my own experience with the bureaucracy of the French military and to a lesser extent with experiences with Nato bereaucracy as well.

    As a bit of historical trivia I should note that we started (the Division Daguet and the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd) the ground war phase of GWI at approximately 0100 on 24 Feb.

  30. JB has previously stated that he was a marine in the French army…

    You’d think that someone would have noticed.

  31. Ms. Kwiatkowski: Thank you for your willingness to clear things up. I at least applaud your efforts and apparent good humor in the face of such unwarranted scorn.

    I had hoped that there was the possibility for an interesting discussion of this topic. Apparently most people in this forum would rather blow smoke about irrelevant and groundless accusations of your credibility than address the very important issues that your article raises.

  32. Apparently most people in this forum would rather blow smoke about irrelevant and groundless accusations of your credibility than address the very important issues that your article raises.

    What important issues? That there are neocon fascists (seemingly, her two favorite terms) behind every bush and Bush? Why not a good old-fashioned commie purge while we’re at it?

    You know that she’s not libertarian, correct?

    http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/af/a2012901.htm

    U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, a political/military officer assigned to the secretary of defense’s Office of African Affairs, also emphasized that “Africa is important to U.S. national security.” Noting that she was speaking as “a U.S. government policymaker in the area of sub-Saharan Africa and national security interests,” she said, “The U.S. relationship to African countries is non-colonial, based on a generally positive history, past and present trade, and shared interests in democratic and accountable governance.”

    Referring to the National Intelligence Council’s “Global Trends 2015” report, which came out last December, Kwiatkowski pointed out that 25 percent of U.S. oil imports in 2015 will come from sub-Saharan Africa. The prime “energy locations” identified in the study are West Africa, Sudan, and Central Africa.

    It follows, the Defense Department official explained, that “U.S. trade, freedom of movement, government transparency, protection of U.S. interests are even more important in these [regional] areas.” She cited a number of areas of interest for government policymakers, including:

    — “more fully understanding the challenges of U.S. energy companies and investors in sub-Saharan Africa;

    — “working where we can to improve today’s security for U.S. investments and operations; and

    — “working where we can to increase the level of accountable government and overall economic development that comes with adherence to rule of law, freedom of the marketplace, freedom of the media, and well-trained, small, professional and apolitical militaries.”

  33. D Anghelone: Um. So, your point is what exactly? She’s not a libertarian? So what? How is your quotation relevant to that or anything else being discussed here?

  34. Stephen Fetchet, you and your moronic pseudonym can consider yourselves punk’d. Thanks for the laughs, Kevin.

  35. I quite agree with Ken.

    Karen raises some excellent points and issues in her article, issues that I find entirely plausible, based on the experiences of my 8-year Navy career.

    If what Karen says is true, then at best, the Department of Defense distorted available intelligence. At worst they made up wholesale fabrications to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

    As an initial supporter of the war, and the Bush administration in general, I find myself now growing more skeptical and disillusioned by the day. Believe me, this is difficult to admit for a life-long Republican. Wouldn’t it be totally ironic if, in the face of a recovering economy, Bush actually loses the next election because enough evidence finally emerges that he did lie to us?

    MDH

  36. One point would be that she offers naught but gossip and invective; never anything substantive.

    Another would be that she has apparently presented herself, in 2002, as a policymaker with policies much like those she decries.

  37. Does this help? 😉

    Ma’am, yes Ma’m (snappy salute) 🙂

  38. “Outlandish” is an understatment. Apparently, the author has been leaking like a sieve for some time although the neoconservative influence on Bush’s foreign policy has not been what I would call a “State secret.” It sounds like the author has an axe to grind… and Salon is still looking for a way to make to a profit. Going “tabloid” may their only salvation.

  39. But, of course, the woman must have severe emotional problems! Anyone who dares distrust Bush must suffer from paranoia. At least, that’s what I gather from the tone on many of these postings.

  40. The editors note says it all. Geez.

    For those not familiar with the way the army works- if you’ve been in for 20 plus years and you don’t make full bird colonel they force you out. Just over twenty years and still a lt colonel she was probably told GET OUT you’ll never make it it upper management here. I’d be disgruntled too.

  41. Jimmy and Nick–
    Perhaps the woman does have some personal complaints about the Army, but do you then make the ad hominem assumption that anything she says must be wrong? Let’s pretend it’s a few years ago, and I am telling you that I used to be Ken Lay’s secretary, and I hate him because he treats me disrespectfully. Does that mean I am lying, when I say the Enron company is cooking its books?

    Why not focus on the woman’s allegations rather than the woman herself?

  42. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
    If it’s broke, fix it.
    If it’s broken beyond repair, move on.

    The Pentagon Karen is describing is broken beyond repair.
    Comes as no surprise to this peaceful anarchist (moi). More libertarians need to face Karen’s facts.

    Furthermore, methinks hawks swoop onto threads like this suspiciously swiftly.

  43. I may ultimately be “a failed Ph.D. student” but at this time I am actually working on my dissertation and am hoping to defend in late 2004. I do appreciate your description of me as such — it reminds me of what I will indeed be if I don’t get that dissertation finished!

  44. I read Kwiatkowsky at americanconservative.com after hearing her interviewed on KGO.
    Basically just confirms the view that the invasion of Iraq was done for ideological rather than security reasons. Otherwise, somewhat disappointing.

  45. Ms. Kwiatkowski–
    If you’d had the foresight to finish your Ph.D. and make colonel before coming forth with your allegations, perhaps you would be taken more seriously! Obviously, anything you say at this point is merely proof that you are bitter over your failures in life. Right now, if you tried to argue in favor of the existence of gravity, somebody would say you’re just blaming gravity for keeping you down.

  46. Jennifer, if SHE’d gotten the PhD and the bird, we both know that SHE’d still be discredited by Pentagon brass and conservative activists, and we both know exactly what tact they would take in their smearing of HER.

  47. Joe-
    I know, I know, I’m just trying to have a little fun here.

  48. Karen, if you’re still reading this (and I wouldn’t blame you if you’re not) maybe you could shed some light on something that’s been bugging me for a while now.

    Colin Powell has long been (well, until his UN Iraq speech) about the only administration member who even came close to being believable on matters of foreign policy. Even though he turned whore he’s still bashed regularly by the neo-cons, every time he leaves the country they back stab him and now he’s lost face with the professionals in the field.

    Can you think of why he is still around? I’m back and forth. Maybe he sees a higher calling and to leave would be a dis-service to the country by leaving it to the neo-cons? Or maybe he truly has bought in to their idealogy and wants to make it work?

    What’s your take on that?

  49. No offense meant, but how do we know this is really the same Karen who wrote the Salon articles? The anonymity of the net requires a certain skepticism.

  50. Oh, and this soon-to-be-successful Ph.D student never, ever bashes anybody who’s ABD. I know exactly what it takes to get a Ph.D, I nearly dropped out a few times, and I can’t imagine trying to complete a Ph.D while serving in the armed forces.

    It’s always easy for those who have never tried to criticize another person’s failures.

    Finally, I haven’t served in the military, so I freely admit to not knowing what the normal rate of advancement is. Still, Lieutenant Colonel is a much higher rank than I’ve ever attained (hell, private is a much higher rank than I’ve ever attained) so I would be reluctant to say “Look at you, just a Lieutenant Colonel. You oughta be ashamed!”

  51. Thoreau-
    Even if this isn’t the actual Karen, this is still useful as an open-letter forum.

    Frankly, it’s no surprise to hear bigoted comments from individuals, but I’m awfully disappointed to find the editor of a magazine calling itself ‘Reason” should say in effect, “No need to trust someone who started a PhD program but didn’t finish it.”

    Maybe I’m just romanticizing the past, but sometimes this doesn’t quite “feel” like the same magazine I started reading three years ago. Then again, it doesn’t feel like the same America, either.

  52. The important thing isn?t that she hasn?t finished her PhD yet or that she is ex-military. It?s that she knows who is running the military and the war. It?s the [stage whisper] J.E.W.S.

    Ooops, I mean the Neo-Con Zionist Conspiracy that has captured the Pentagon. Because we?re not anti-semitic around here. Oh no, not us?

  53. Good grief. When I suggested Hit and Run take a look at this article, I had no idea it would be received so negatively. I am a regular reader of this site because I find the commentary uniquely intelligent and perceptive. I assumed this community was generally critical of Bush and the war in Iraq and that the views of soneone with a unique, inside the Pentagon perspective, would be informative. I fail to see why her account is either “outlandish” or an “incoherent rant.” If someone can provide a credible rebuttal to her statements, then by all means, enlighten us. What I find unconvincing are the attempts at simple character assassination that I’d expect to hear from Donald Rumsfeld rather than from this group. So what if she has an “axe to grind?” We read articles here every day that are critical of what goes on inside Washington, yet somehow this woman’s claims are so incredulous? I’d be mad as hell too if I’d witnessed firsthand the con game the neocons were pulling. What we need are more people exposing the web of lies that the current adminstration has built its foreign policy on.

  54. Joe:

    “we both know that SHE’d still be discredited by Pentagon brass and conservative activists,”

    Make that; neo-conservative activists.

    Many conservatives and libertarians are quite fond of her writings. I first read her is American Conservative. She nicely chronicles the Pentagon’s machinations and pretexts employed to justify this elective war as well as exposing the actual ideological reasons behind it, including civilians influencing the Pentagon’s judgment and using it for their own ends:

    http://www.amconmag.com/12_1_03/feature.html

  55. Another thought:

    Sure, there are some ABD (all-but-dissertation) people out there who are completely full of BS. Believe me, I’ve met them. But here’s a newsflash: There are some people with Ph.D’s in hand who are completely full of BS. And there are some people who never even went to grad school who are completely full of BS.

    The most successful grad student whom I know personally published some amazingly good scientific articles, and after he completes his post-doctoral fellowship at an Ivy League school he has a tenure-track position waiting for him at another Ivy League school. (Yes, yes, I know, Ivy League schools are full of liberals and grade inflation, yadda-yadda-yadda. It’s still nearly freakin impossible to become a science professor there unless you’re the best of the best of the best.)

    But when asked by another person in our lab if he would still go to grad school if he could go back in time, he had some interesting comments. He pointed out that there are any number of ways that he could have spent his mid-to-late twenties, and he could have tried his hand at some other career and made a go of it, and he isn’t sure that this is how he would do it all again in retrospect.

    And two days after defending his thesis and passing with flying colors, all those years of stress caught up with him, and he had a very severe illness. Fortunately he’s fine now.

    A Ph.D isn’t like any other degree. It can suck your soul out from you if you aren’t careful.

    Now I have to get back to writing an article that will be part of my thesis.

  56. “It’s always a safe bet to discount a failed Ph.D. student”

    Fuck you, Gillespie. Your goddamn doctorate apparently came from a diploma mill if you couldn’t understand the quoted passage–
    “I had completed Air Command and Staff College and Navy War College seminar programs, two master’s degrees, and everything but my Ph.D. dissertation in world politics at Catholic University”–to mean not that Kwiatkowski had dropped out (why would she open her piece with that bit of info???), but that she simply has not finished her dissertation. You owe her an apology.

  57. Thoreau: Well said.

  58. Re: Ken

    I read the so-called new “Pentagon Papers” and found the author’s observations to fall into two general categories: 1) mildly interesting water cooler chat from inside the Pentagon; 2) general information about the neoconservative influence on Bush foreign policy that most of the world had concluded long ago. Your post seems to challenge one to produce evidence that the author’s observations are somehow false. With all due respect, you have it backwards. It is the author’s responsibility to prove the veracity of her claims. Absent some written evidence, what we have are the author’s word about what she heard and saw. I agree that speculation about her credibility is unseemly… but this it is also inevitable when an author relies on personal observations. I also agree that one’s willingness to support or refute the allegations seem to hinge on one’s preconceived notions about Bush foreign policy. I’m sure the author will find a warm reception among the many groups who long ago decided the neoconservatives were running the White House. And I’m also sure she will be scourged by groups who disagree. To call her writing a new “Pentagon Papers,” however, is outlandish. The author does not provide a smoking gun. She simply tells us she smelled the odor of gunsmoke.

  59. D Anghelone: I’m beginning to think that nothing anyone says will change the preconceived notions you and others seem to have about Karen Kwiatkowski.

    She “offers naught but gossip and invective”?? Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but someone should try backing up their criticism with some real evidence that discredits her story, or else give it a rest already.

    And no, I don’t think you have come anywhere close to showing how the 2015 Global Trends Report she worked on has even the slightest similarity to the Bushite policy in regards to Iraq and the so called “War on Terror.” Frankly I’m amazed anyone could make such a comparison.

  60. You know that she’s not libertarian, correct?

    Well, then, clearly there’s no way that she could have anything to say that might be in any way useful, interesting, educational, or thought-provoking!

    http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/af/a2012901.htm

    U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, a political/military officer assigned to the secretary of defense’s Office of African Affairs, also emphasized that “Africa is important to U.S. national security.” Noting that she was speaking as “a U.S. government policymaker in the area of sub-Saharan Africa and national security interests,” she said, “The U.S. relationship to African countries is non-colonial, based on a generally positive history, past and present trade, and shared interests in democratic and accountable governance.”

    The statements attributed to her were made in a US gov’t press release, based on assessments that she prepared at the direction of her superiors. When you’re speaking for somebody else (e.g. gov’t officials who outrank you), your discretion is limited. The fact that her statements do not reflect a 100% libertarian view of foreign affairs doesn’t say anything about her personal views.

    Moreover, given the debates on this forum, I think it’s safe to say that there is no such thing as a 100% libertarian view of foreign affairs. Various people on this forum will assert “My view of foreign affairs authentic libertarian” while others say the same of their own views. The fact that there is such strong disagreement amongst people who describe themselves as libertarian and generally seem to favor smaller government would suggest that reasonable libertarians can disagree. (gasp!)

    And finally, even if there were such a thing as a 100% pure libertarian foreign policy, it would still be possible to learn interesting and useful things from people with different opinions. (I’ll now pause as some heads explode while trying to comprehend that radical notion.)

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