September 11, 2014
Karen Kwiatkowski: The US Government Has Lost Credibility at Home and Abroad After 9/11
Originally published at FARS News Agency.
According to Karen Kwiatkowski, the United States government is being seen by millions of people across the world as an emperor with no clothes, and its military adventures, especially following the September 11, 2001 events under the umbrella of War on Terror, have reduced its credibility to a great extent.
“As time passes, more and more people around the world are willing to look at the facts of 9/11, and increasingly they see major flaws and omissions in the US government’s narrative. This situation simply adds to a generalized lack of credibility of the US government, at home and abroad,” she said.
As we approach the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks after which the government of former US President George W. Bush announced a Global War on Terror, it seems more crucial to study the different aspects of the events that took place on that tragic day and heralded a massive military campaign in the Middle East by the US government under the guise of combating terrorism, that in turn claimed the lives of thousands of innocent civilians.
Karen Kwiatkowski took part in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency to present her viewpoints regarding the US government’s official account of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent launching of the US-led wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and its proxy involvement in Syria.
“Regarding the military operations in the Middle East, I expect that the physical destruction and the hypocrisy of the US government’s message, the massive waste of money and the overkill of weaponry brought into the region by the US government, and the corruption that the US government promotes and tolerates in its occupied regions or within its satrapies have all led to a level of hatred and distrust that will last for several generations, and that will delegitimize any activities the US government wishes to pursue for the next 50 years at least,” she stated.
Kwiatkowski is an American activist and political commentator. She has worked with Pentagon as a desk officer and also cooperated with National Security Agency as part of her 20-year service in the US military. A noted critic of the War on Terror, she ran for the United States House of Representatives from Virginia’s 6th congressional district in 2012, but lost the Republican nomination to the incumbent Bob Goodlatte.
FNA spoke to Ms. Karen Kwiatkowski on the advent of the 9/11 attacks anniversary. What follows is the text of the interview.
Q: Some intellectuals and commentators have argued that the 9/11 attacks played into the hands of the US government to launch a global military operation in order to dominate the Middle East, take control over its vast energy reserves and change the geopolitical equations of the region under the pretext of combating terrorism. Do you agree with this argument?
A: The 9/11 attacks indeed played into the hands of US government officials who had long desired, and some would say, plotted, to turn a cold Iraq war – the dozen years of sanctions, no fly zone enforcement and occasional bombing of Iraq following the end of the 1991 [Persian] Gulf War – into a hot one. It was definitely used to justify both invasion of Afghanistan and of Iraq, and the propaganda justifying the Iraq invasion featured the US President and his staff claiming that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, when in fact the intelligence community and the military knew that this was fabricated. I worked in the Office of The Secretary of Defense Near East South Asia Policy office between 2002 and 2003, and witnessed the political misuse of intelligence myself in this regard.
As to the reasons why the US government felt the need to occupy Iraq and install a puppet regime there, I think it was meant to improve energy access and control, for continued petrodollar maintenance, and in response to encouragement by Israel to “get some skin in the game” so to speak, in the region, in order to facilitate geopolitical change in and beyond Iraq.
Q: What’s your viewpoint regarding the official accounts of the September 11, 2001 events? What the Bush administration purported, and the mainstream media repeated, was that 19 Muslim hijackers seized 4 passenger planes and deliberately smashed three of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and Pentagon, while the other one crashed in Pennsylvania. Why did the US government identify the hijackers with their religion? Would the hijackers be identified and introduced to the media as “Christians” if they came, say, from Italy or Norway? Do you agree that the religious profiling of the hijackers was mostly an attempt to lay the groundwork for launching a global war on Islam?
A: Well, we know that the third tower to fall on 9/11 was not struck by an airplane, and the US government has no real scientific explanation for how WTC 7 fell at near free fall speed, on its own footprint, in the late afternoon of 9/11. Certainly, that building was completely evacuated before the collapse, and my sense of the physics in this case is that the building had been prepared for demolition in advance, and was “pulled,” in the vernacular of building demolition. Why WTC 7’s reason for collapse needed to be hidden is the real question we need to be asking. I believe that a criminal or fraudulent act or acts occurred, and whether the collapse of WTC 7 included or even required the purported 19 hijackers as accessories to the crime remains to be determined. In my opinion, the US government official story will fall apart if we can determine why and how exactly WTC 7 came down. In fact, several US Congressmen are today demanding that certain classified parts of the 9/11 Commission report be declassified, and this is a good move. The more light we can shine on all of the facts of 9/11, the better it will be in the long run.
I think that identifying bombers and terrorists as Muslim, or by their religion, had been occurring for a long time in the US – at least since the early 1990s, and because Muslims are a very small and not widely known minority in the US, the group makes a good foil for blame. Before the era of civil rights in the US, African Americans were blamed for many ills; before that, after WWII, suspected Communists were blamed for harming the country; during WWII, Japanese Americans were a domestic enemy; during WWI, German-Americans were distrusted and blamed – all as a result of US government-led propaganda. The key to scapegoating is to be able to divide a fearful majority from a strange, yet somewhat identifiable minority.
From the 1990s on, Muslims – presented in traditional clothing for easy identification – fit the bill for US government’s fear-mongering nicely. On the last part of the question, I don’t believe that a global war on Muslims was or is the goal – mainly because the US government works closely with Muslims and Muslim dominated countries, with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Indonesia considered long-term allies. If anything, the US government intends and does demonize the Persian Shiite, and I believe that this is largely as a result of our close relationship with the Israeli government, which had demonized Iran and is responsive to a significant domestic minority of Persian Jews who emigrated after the Shah was overthrown and are interested in Iranian issues. Certainly, the top line claim of modern Israeli governments that Iran is a persistent and grave threat to the existence of Israel is well known, despite Israel’s first-rate military and extensive nuclear arsenal. I think the religious profiling of the 9/11 hijackers as Muslim was just expedient for a Middle Eastern assault ultimately aimed at Iran, not a global effort against Islam. Having said that, it does set the stage for endless war, and lots of business for the US military and arms industry into the foreseeable future.
Q: There are speculations regarding the US government’s possible foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks and that the state intelligence and security organizations failed to do their responsibility in preventing that disaster from happening. Is it true that certain elements in the CIA were already informed that the attacks would take place, but intentionally kept the information back and paved the way for the tragedy to take place? What could have been their motives for withholding the information from the government? Is it that the government itself was accomplice in facilitating the attacks and so didn’t take any action to stop it?
A: Well, certainly we know that the US government intelligence and security system failed miserably on 9/11. Confusion on the day of, and inability to process information the US government did have in advance is admitted and accepted, even by the US government. I can’t say which element of the US government intentionally held back information, or if the ongoing nature of the massive US government intelligence conglomeration is simply doomed to fail in most cases. One generality I will offer is that intelligence agencies and government organizations exist to serve the state, not the people. They work for the executive, and are responsive to him or her. It is not unusual for warning to be given to government officials that would not be provided to the average American or to the public, and I am referring to confirmed warnings to certain political appointees not to fly commercial airliners at a certain time. When Americans complain that the country was not secured on 9/11, and that intelligence was mishandled, and that NORAD did not follow standard procedures, they are in a sense misunderstanding the role of these security and defensive agencies.
These agencies serve the state, in the US as they do all over the world. No US government official involved was fired or relieved of duty after 9/11. This tells me that whatever they did or didn’t do was OK with the US government – or that in firing certain officials, the US government would face highly public lawsuits that would open a number of avenues of investigation of events leading up to 9/11 that they would prefer to keep closed. I cannot say if the US government in general was an accomplice. But our USG is a massive entity, filled with literally hundreds of thousands of people, including high level appointees and elected officials who had publicly yearned for “another Pearl Harbor” to “unify” the public will for an overseas war, and for increased domestic controls and surveillance practices that were in fact later introduced by legislation, such as the Patriot Act.
Q: As you said, following the 9/11 attacks, a number of decisions were made at the high levels of the US government that sparked the American people’s resentment and anger. As you term, the wholly un-American Department of Homeland Security was established, the Patriot Act was put in place to legalize mass surveillance and espionage operations against the US citizens, and the civil liberties of the American people were taken away one by one. Why did the US government chose to punish its own citizens this way and restrict their personal, social and political freedoms and create such an unusual environment?
A: Yes, referring to our country as a Homeland, a Motherland or a Fatherland is not part of the American tradition. All governments that are losing control of their economy, of public faith, and of trust, feel a need to do something to ensure their survival. Be it King George III and his imminent loss of the American colony in the late 1700s, Saddam Hussein in maintaining his dictatorship during his reign, or the modern US government in an era where less than 50% of the citizens vote, and fewer and fewer are interested in supporting the federal government financially or via participation in the military – governments that are facing loss of control tend to clamp down. The Patriot Act was not even read by legislators before it was approved, in part because it was unreadable – it consisted of modifications of existing laws that had been proposed to Congress and rejected largely on Constitutional grounds in the previous decade. The crisis of 9/11 and particularly the DC anthrax attacks on the Congress itself shortly thereafter, created a climate of fear and urgency to suppress American liberty in order to gain some DC security. Again – the Patriot Act protects, and was designed to protect and grow, government power and government activities, not to protect the people or the country from insecurity. Central US government power over the rest of the country and the population has grown rapidly after 9/11 and as a result of constant “war against terror.” This control and state growth is by design, and is an indicator of a state that is unbounded by law – the Constitution – and American traditional values – and that the state itself recognizes its own increasing unpopularity and lack of domestic legitimacy.
In any case, the United States is no longer a Republic, and no country of over 300 million people could ever be. The US government operates, according to a recent university study, along the model of Economic Elite Domination and, or Biased Pluralism. The study will be out in the fall issue of Perspectives on Politics, and a draft can be found here, and while academic, it is very pertinent to understanding the United States today.
Q: The War on Terror, launched by President Bush following the 9/11 attacks, was supposedly aimed at eradicating terrorism in the Middle East; however, it led to the perishing of thousands of lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya and eventually failed to realize its objective of combating terrorism. What’s your assessment of the successes and failures of this project?
A: As you point out, millions have died, been injured, lost family members and livelihoods, and whole swathes of the economy for these countries have been eradicated and replaced by refugee, subsistence, dependence and criminal economies. In terms of the countries you mention here, I think that these conditions were largely the US government’s goal. These countries, if independent and economically strong, would not or did not, support the order preferred by the US and other countries in and out of the region.
The governments of US-allied Saudi Arabia and other sheikdoms cannot tolerate independent secular neighbors; neither can the government of US-allied Israel. Increased dependency and decreased productivity in these countries serves the interests of many regional US allies, as well as the US and EU based IMF, and global fiat banking institutions. Not only that, the shrinkage of US and NATO militaries – and the commercial military manufacturers that serve those militaries – that was both expected and logical after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of a peaceful and trade oriented China did not occur. Instead, military budgets grew and are on track to continue to grow, despite a lack of public support for this growth among the citizenry of EU countries and the US. In these regards, the project has been a success for the growth in size and power of the governments involved in prosecuting it. Because citizens in the US and in the EU really don’t have a sense of the level of destruction of lives and livelihoods, the human cost of war is largely hidden. ISIS, an entity that was largely the product of US activities in the region, and direct US aid to groups trying to overthrow secular leaders in the region has recently publicly murdered independent reporters in the region.
Ironically, eliminating on the ground independent media in our war zones also serves the needs of the US government in being able to control the narrative here at home, and propagandize the ongoing war effort.
Q: How much have the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent US military operations in the Middle East, including the use of unmanned drones, influenced the US public image and the popularity of the US government in the eyes of the people in the region?
A: I cannot say how the people of the Middle East actually view the US government. Regarding the military operations in the Middle East, I expect that the physical destruction and the hypocrisy of the US government’s message, the massive waste of money and the overkill of weaponry brought into the region by the US government, and the corruption that the US government promotes and tolerates in its occupied regions or within its satrapies have all led to a level of hatred and distrust that will last for several generations, and that will delegitimize any activities the US government wishes to pursue for the next 50 years at least.
Blind military and policy support for the government of Israel is also a problem that reduces US government’s credibility in the region. But beyond that, the fact that for all of our military prowess and the trillions of dollars spent in the region, we have gained no new allies, no new trading partners, and no new regional stability, nor have we reduced the level or capability of global terrorism against US government’s interests – all of this creates a kind of confidence for the people of the region, vis-a-vis the US government. The US government is being shown to be an emperor with no clothes, and this awareness of weakness of the US government way of war is informing all of the people of the region, allies and enemies alike.
The US government’s official story regarding 9/11 is most likely just an irritant to Muslims everywhere, especially given the fact that we know the lifestyles of the various “Muslim” hijackers were more secular and sinful than religious. This was reported in the US government’s own report of the events, in the 9/11 Commission report. As time passes, more and more people around the world are willing to look at the facts of 9/11, and increasingly they see major flaws and omissions in the US government’s narrative. This situation simply adds to a generalized lack of credibility of the US government, at home and abroad. As the founding fathers, and statesmen through the ages have always understood, a sustainable government needs credibility more than it needs money, or weapons, or a big economy. Can you believe and trust what a government says?
Certainly, the US government has lost trust at home and abroad in the past 20 years, and even more rapidly since 9/11. I hope that people around the world will recognize that Americans are as likely to distrust the US government as anyone else, and that there is a difference between Americans as a people who live here relatively peaceably, and the US government, which seems to consider itself in a constant, almost existential, struggle with both its own citizens and the rest of the world.
Interview by Kourosh Ziabari
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page. She ran for Congress in Virginia’s 6th district in 2012..
Copyright © 2014 Karen Kwiatkowski