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Pentagon Whistle-Blower on the Coming War With Iran

Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (ret.), a veteran of the Pentagon with firsthand experience of the administration’s cherry-picking of intelligence, reveals why Bush thinks he can win a war with Iran, why few politicians are serious about withdrawal and why “when they call Iraq a success, they mean it.”


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    JAMES HARRIS: This is Truthdig. James Harris sitting down with Josh Scheer, and on the phone we have a special guest. She is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, formerly working for the Pentagon, The National Security Agency. Needless to say, she knows a lot about intel and a lot about what took place and what went on before we went into Iraq and what went on with that intel. Many questions have been asked in recent weeks, obviously in recent years about what we knew, what was fabricated, what was made up. On the phone we have somebody who has been vociferous in her effort to out the wrongdoings of people like Douglas Feith and people like Donald Rumsfeld. So, Karen Kwiatkowski, welcome to Truthdig.

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Thanks for having me.

    JAMES HARRIS: It’s our pleasure. I want to start, not talking about Douglas Feith, but I want to get your opinion about Iraq. We know that British troops and Tony Blair have decided that they’re out. We’ve seen the commitment of other nations drop by 17 countries and our biggest partner, England, is now out. Why do you think they’re out and Bush is still in? Well we know why Bush is still in. Why now?

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: It is towards the end of Tony Blair’s long, long term of duty there as the Prime Minister. And the other thing is, the British very much oppose, in spite of the fact that there are some Rupert Murdoch newspapers in Great Britain, some conservative papers, pseudo conservative I should say, not truly conservative. Truly conservatives, true conservatives have opposed this adventure from the beginning. But in spite of the small, loud pro-war faction in London, most people in Britain recognize this for what it is. They have some experience in this kind of thing with, both in Middle East, particularly in Iraq years ago when they left in dishonor. Another time when they tried to occupy Baghdad, years and years ago, and also their experience with terrorism and movements of independents or what have you with Ireland, much more recent memory for many of the people in Great Britain. I don’t think Britain’s economy can afford it. Certainly they see the writing on the all, why get, why not get out now while George Bush is still there than be stuck with, stuck holding the bag when a Democratic president takes over and pulls the troops out abruptly in 2008, 2009. So I think there’s many reasons why they’re doing it. Some people say it is, it is because of Tony Blair’s concern over his legacy. If he doesn’t bring the troops home, his legacy will be that he left Britain in a quagmire. They are in a quagmire now and maybe he doesn’t want to leave office with that being on his record, a lot of reasons. Mainly it’s the right thing to do, the people of Britain want those troops home. And I guess their government is listening. Unlike ours.

    JAMES HARRIS: The highly speculative people have said they’re out because we’re going into Iran. You might’ve read the news…

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well yeah, I don’t… I had not seen that connection made, but I certainly am alarmed at the daily signs that indeed this country is getting ready to instigate an attack on Iran. All the signs are there, the suggestions that Iranian bombs are killing American soldiers, that’s not true, but it’s certainly been made in, I think every American newspaper, the suggestion that Iran is somehow killing Americans. The suggestion that Iran has nuclear weapons, is imminently close to nuclear weapons. That is not true but that’s been, those claims are made, even by this Administration. The idea that we have two carrier battle groups currently in the region and in fact I just saw today, Admiral Walsh, one of the big guys in the Navy said that we’re very concerned about what Iran is doing even more so than Al Qaeda. So there, all the signs are there that we are being, we’re going to wake up one morning soon, very soon, and we will be at war with Iran. We will have bombed them in some sort of shock and awe campaign destroying many lives and setting back US relations even further than we’ve already done it with Iraq.

    JOSH SCHEER: I want to continue on Iran. You spent obviously many years in the military and you talk in those kind of terms that many people maybe not know about. Can we not just politically, and not just in the region, but can we support another war in another country? Right now we’re in Afghanistan, we’re in Iraq. Can we feasibly actually go into Iran, or is this going to be a shock and awe campaign?

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: You know, I think the, one of the big reasons that Bush and Cheney think they can do Iran is that they believe, well, they’re hearing from the Air Force and the Navy, two of the three main branches of our military, the two that have been left out of the glory of Iraq, you see. And those guys want a piece of the action, and so they’re advertising to the Administration and publicly, I mean you can read it for yourself, the Air Force and the Navy have targets they believe they can overwhelmingly hit their targets, deep penetration, possibly nuclear weapons, I mean, nothing is off the table as Dick Cheney says “nothing is off the table.” And the delivery of these weapons, whether they’re conventional or nuclear will be naval and Air Force. They’ll be Navy from the sea and Air Force form long range bombers and some of the bases that we have around the… so I don’t think, certainly, I don’t know, I’m not in the Army, wasn’t in the Army, I was in the Air Force, I don’t think the Army could support any type of invasion of Iran and they wouldn’t’ want to. I’m sure that they’ve, they’ve had enough with Iraq and our reserves are in terrible condition. We’ve got huge problems in the Army and in the Reserve system. So I don’t think there’s any intention to go into Iran, but simply to destroy it and to create havoc and disruption and humanitarian crisis and topple perhaps the government of Ahmadinejad. We want to topple that government. Yeah, we’ll do it with bombs from a distance. I don’t know if you call that shock and awe, we’ve been advertising it for a long, long time. It will not be a surprise to the Iranians if we do it.
    JAMES HARRIS: That was your former boss, the shock and awe campaign. I’m still shocked and I’m awed.

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: [laughs] He shocked and awed all of us.

    JAMES HARRIS: As a means of understanding the level of deceit that you claim took place and I agree took place before the war. Because it, the things that are going on in and around Iran sound a lot like the things that went on in 2002…

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Sure do.

    JAMES HARRIS: And I always note Scott Ritter, because I spoke to him, and I couldn’t believe that we didn’t take the advice of people like him that were saying that there’s nothing there, there’s nothing. Can you describe for us a typical day, if we went in around March, we’re approaching that anniversary, we went in around March of ’03. What was it like in The Pentagon?

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well, I worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and up until mid February I was in Near East South Asia, which is the office that owns the Office of Special Plans, they were our sister office. And so Iraq is one of the areas. And there’s a great degree of excitement, there’s a, we didn’t know when we would invade Iraq, and many people thought it would be in February, late February, early March and it actually was like I think march 23 is when we actually conducted that attack on Baghdad and that kind of thing. Most people in the Pentagon, there’s 23,000 people work in the Pentagon. Most of those people were as in the dark as any of the Americans. They believed what they read in the papers, and what they read in the papers, particularly The New York Times and The Washington Post had been, for the most part, planted by The Administration. We know this now, the whole Congress knows this now, they’ve had a number of hearings publicly faltered, I think even the DODIG [Department of Defense Inspector General] just recently faltered, Doug Feith and his whole organization for planting and providing misleading stories, many of which were later leaked on purpose to the press. A friendly press, of course, Judith Miller was not hostile to the intentions of this administration. They wanted to go into Iraq, and they intended to go into Iraq. We did go into Iraq, and all that was really needed was to bring onboard the American people, and to bring onboard the Congress. But not necessarily to declare war. Congress has never been asked to declare war on Iraq. And they won’t be asked to declare war on Iran even though we will conduct that war. These guys had an agenda. In fact, one of the things that I did learn as a result of having my eyes opened in that final tour in the Pentagon is that neo-conservatives, their foreign policy is very activist, you could say that’s a nice way to say it, very activist, it’s very oriented towards the Untied States as a benevolent dictator, a benevolent guiding hand for the world, particularly the Middle East. And it’s very much a pro-Israel policy, and it’s a policy that says, we should be able to do whatever we want to do, if we see it in our interest. Now, Americans don’t see any value, most Americans, 75 percent of Americans want the troops home now. They don’t see any value to having our troops in Iraq. They didn’t see any value in that in 2002. But, they had a story sold to them, which was of course that Saddam Hussein somehow was involved with 9/11, had WMDs, and was a serious threat, an imminent threat, a grave threat to the United States.

    JAMES HARRIS: For those people that think somehow that government officials, even though you work for the government, were complicit in this effort to move into Iraq. I want you to be clear, as a worker there, you were doing what you thought was right at the time. Is that a safe thing to say?

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: We were doing, I’ll tell ya, there’s two parts of how the story is sold, how the propaganda was put forth on the American people, and how it’s been put forth on them today in terms of Iran. You have political appointees in every government agency, and they switch out every time you get a new president, and that’s totally normal. Usually those, the numbers increase after every president, they always get a few more. So Bush was no different. He brought in a number of political appointees: Doug Feith, certainly Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. But also a number of political appointees at what you would call a lower level, like my level – Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel level. And they’re not military officers, they’re civilians. And they’re brought in, and this is where the propaganda was kind of put together, this is where the so-called alternative intelligence assessments were put together by the civilian appointees of the Bush Administration. Most of which, in fact, probably all of the Pentagon shared a neo-conservative world vision, which has a particular role for us, and that included the topping of Saddam Hussein, and it includes the toppling of the leadership in Tehran. These guys are the ones doing it, they’re doing it. They’re putting all the propaganda, they’re spreading stories, planting stuff in the media. They’re doing that to people in The Pentagon, the Civil Service core in The Pentagon, which is about half of them, and the other half which are uniformed military officers serving anywhere from three to four, five years, sometimes tours in The Pentagon. We’re looking at regular intel, we’re looking at the stuff the CIA and the DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency produces. And that stuff never said, that stuff never said Saddam Hussein had WMDs, had a delivery system, was a threat to the United States. It never said that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 or that Saddam Hussein worked with Al Qaeda. That intelligence never said that.

    JAMES HARRIS: Did they tell you to shut up?

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Absolutely! [Laughs] That’s a funny thing, and of course, here’s how it worked. Once the Office of Special Plans was set up formally, now they were informally set up prior to the fall of 2002, but formally they became an office with office space and that whole bit. And the first act to follow that setup of the Office of Special Plans, we had a staff meeting, and our boss, Bill Ludy, who was the boss of Special Plans technically, not in reality but on paper. And he announced to us that from now on, action officers, staff officers such as myself and all my peers, at least in that office, and I presume this went all the way through the rest of policy, but we were told that when we needed to fill in data, putting it in papers that we would send up, doing our job, as we did our daily job, we were no longer to look at CIA and DIA intelligence, we were simply to call the Office of Special Plans and they would send down to us talking points, which we would incorporate verbatim no deletions, no additions, no modifications into every paper that we did. And of course, that was very unusual and all the action officers are looking at each other like, well that’s interesting. We’re not to look at the intelligence any more, we’re simply to go to this group of political appointees and they will provide to us word for word what we should say about Iraq, about WMD and about terrorism. And this is exactly what our orders were. And there were people [Laughs] a couple of people, and I have to say, I was not one of these people who said, “you know, I’m not gonna do that, I’m not gonna do that because there’s something I don’t like about it, it’s incorrect in some way.” And they experimented with sending up papers that did not follow those instructions, and those papers were 100 percent of the time returned back for correction. So we weren’t allowed to put out anything except what Office of Special Plans was producing for us. And that was only partially based on intelligence, and partially based on a political agenda. So this is how they did it. And I’ll tell you what, civil servants and military people, we follow orders, okay. And we buy into it. And we don’t suspect that our leaders are nefarious, we don’t suspect that. They, they quite frankly have to go a long way to prove to us that they are nefarious. That’s how it worked, and I imagine it’s working much the same way there in terms of Iran.

    JOSH SCHEER: Obviously you’ve been in the military for quite a while. Has this every happened to your knowledge in any other [administration’s] Pentagon, where political appointees have the power to just control the…

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Sure, well sure, Vietnam is filled with examples. And Daniel Ellsberg’s information and his Pentagon paper that he released factual information that contradicted what political appointees at the top of the Pentagon were saying to Congress and saying to the American people. Yeah, this is typical of how it works. Now, having said that, most people who serve and wear the uniform or give a career of service to the military, whether civilian, civil service or military, we don’t think that our bosses will do that. We don’t think that our military will do that. But in fact history is full of examples of bald-faced lies being told to sell particular agendas. Often times those agendas include war making, certainly in Vietnam they did, under LBJ and a few other presidents. Look at the thing that Reagan did. I mean, I actually don’t dislike Reagan, he deployed very few troops overseas, but when he went in to that little island down there… what is the name of that island that he invaded, Grenada. [Laughs] Remember that? Remember the Invasion of Grenada.

    JOSH SCHEER: All eight hours?

    JAMES HARRIS: It was a short one.

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: I mean, God, shortly thereafter, come to find out, well actually, some of the stuff they said about the threat and the Cubans and all that wasn’t really true. So politicians and their politically appointed military leaders will lie, historically do lie when it has to do with making war, particularly making a war that they want. And what has happened in the Bush Administration is the war that they want was Iraq. And the war that they want is Iran, and the war that they want is Syria, okay? That’s the war they want. They don’t want Vietnam. I don’t know why, they don’t want Vietnam, they want these places, this is what the neo-conservatives are particularly interested in. So we have war. And they make up stories and we’re seeing the exact same thing in terms of Iran, which is quite alarming because it seems as if we can’t stop this, we can’t prevent this.

    JOSH SCHEER: You were talking about these political appointees and pushing us into war. Why haven’t people like Paul Wolfowitz, I mean these guys seem to feather their own nests.

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: [Laughs] That’s an understatement.

    JOSH SCHEER: They lead us into war, Mark Zell, Doug Feith’s partner was in bed with Chalabi. It falls apart and then it seems that these guys disappear into the woodwork. What happens?

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well, a big part of what happens is these guys have top cover, the names of the top cover are Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. These guys like what Wolfowitz has done. And here’s the other thing. While we as American citizens do not like being lied to, particularly being lied to into a stupid quagmire that makes no sense. We don’t’ like being lied to. Congress doesn’t like being lied to. However, many in Congress, and certainly in this administration agree, and this is Democrats and Republicans, like the idea that we have gone into Iraq, we have built four mega bases, they are complete. Most of the money we gave to Halliburton was for construction and completion of these bases. We have probably, of the 150,000, 160,000 troops we have in Iraq probably 110,000 of those folks are associated with one of those four mega bases. Safely ensconced behind acres and acres of concrete. To operate there indefinitely, no matter what happens in Baghdad, no matter who takes over, no matter if the country splits into three pieces or it stays one. No matter what happens, we have those mega bases, and there’s many in Congress and certainly in this administration, Republican and Democrat alike that really like that. Part of the reason I think that we went into Iraq was to reestablish a stronger foothold than we had in Saudi Arabia, but also a more economical, a more flexible, in terms of who we want to hit. If you want to hit Syria, can you do it from Iraq? Of course you can. And now you can do it from bases that will support any type of airplane you want, any number of troops in barracks. I mean we can do things from Iraq. And this is what they wanted. So, yeah, we don’t like being lied to. But quite frankly, many people in the Congress, and certainly this administration, when they call Iraq a success, they mean it, and this is why.

    We’re in Iraq to stay. And can we strike Iran from Iraq? Well, I don’t know if we’ll do that next week, but we can.
    JAMES HARRIS: We’re there to stay in the sense that even, let’s say somebody takes office in ‘o8, do you think that we’re gonna be occupying those bases still?

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Absolutely! And we don’t even have status of forces agreements with any legitimate government in Iraq to support those bases. They are illegal bases, okay. But yes, they’re gonna stay, absolutely, they’re gonna stay. And I’ll tell you, there are guys that have been with this administration for awhile, people, in fact one of the guys was an Air Force General that was involved with the Kurds ten years ago, he’s retired now, but he was actually the guy, his name escapes me for the moment, but he [Jay Garner] was [Paul] Bremer’s predecessor for a short period of time. And he was fired, and Bremer came in and took over in Baghdad as part of the reconstruction phase. This is in the Spring of 2003. And this guy gave an interview in Government Exec Magazine, February 2004, he said “we will be in Iraq, and the American people need to get with this program, we will be in Iraq like we were in the Philippines for anywhere from 20 to 30 more years. That’s the time frame that we’re looking at. And that is the life span of the bases that we’ve constructed there. Yeah, we are not leaving these bases, and a Democratic president, I don’t care who they are, will keep those bases there. They will justify them and they will use them and we love that. We love it. So it’s not about what the American people think is right or wrong, it’s not about if we got lied to, what matters is, they did what they wanted to do, and as Bush says, and as Cheney says, “it’s quite the success.” And this is very frightening. Because none of this has ever been admitted to the American people, it’s only been hinted at by people that know. And of course the facts speak for themselves. The facts are, we are in Iraq, we have the finest military installations in the world, the newest military installations in the world, and we’re not leaving them. We’re not turning them over to a Shiite government, we’re not turning them over to a Sunni government, we’re not turning them over to a Kurdish government. We’re not doing that. They are American bases. We’ve got our flag there. And this is kind of the way they used to do things, I guess back in the Middle Ages. Maybe the Dark Ages. A king decided he wanted to go do something, he went and did it. And this is George Bush. We call him an elected president. I mean, he’s operating much as kings have operated in the past.

    JAMES HARRIS: You called him “the war pimp” in your essay. “He’s behaving,” as you put it, “a lot like a pimp would treat a prostitute, ‘you do like I tell you to do.'”

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: That’s right, and over the money. “Get back to work.” We’re using these, we use these bases, we use these people, the country, it matters not one whit to us.

    JOSH SCHEER: With all we see in the news on a daily basis, is there any reason to hope? Every day I lose more and more sleep, about soldiers who are dying. You’re talking about being there another 30 years. How many more soldiers are going to be injured and killed? How much more money is this war going to cost?

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well the money, yeah, sure, the money’s a problem. The number of soldiers being killed will probably actually reduce in many ways because we will withdraw to our bases and we will not interface with Iraqis who hate us. This idea of what they’re doing right now, this so called three-block program, let’s meet more Iraqis so they’ll like us, that’s totally for show. The more Iraqis meet us, the more they hate us. So I actually do think though, over time, fewer Americans will die, and look how easily, look how easily this country has accepted the loss of those 3,200 soldiers that have died. I think something like 90 women, maybe more have died, mothers of children. They’ve died, and America has eaten it up, we have not complained one bit. They’re spread out over 50 states, hey, it’s no big deal. So I think we can certainly, as a country, accommodate future deaths and I think the death rate will drop. The problem is, it’s immoral, it’s illegal, it engenders hatred for Americans, contempt for Americans. It makes every American in the world a target for terrorism. It’s just plain wrong, it’s unconstitutional. I mean, there’s a lot of problems with it. Dead Americans, unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the problem for most of us, which is a shame. We don’t like looking at ugly people, I will say that. And we’re seeing a lot of folks come back pretty deformed, mentally and even more obviously physically, deformed from their experiences in Iraq. And I think that could, that might give, I hate to say give hope, but realize the real moral price that we’re paying for this, that that can help. But quite frankly, I have no hope of us leaving Iraq. I think the intention was for us to put bases there, to stay there, operate militarily from there. And I think that’s what we’re going to do, Democrat, Republican, Independent, I can’t imagine anybody but Ron Paul, if you elect Ron Paul as president, those bases will be closed down. Otherwise…

    JOSH SCHEER: Or Dennis Kucinich.

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Or Kucinich, there you go, Kucinich would do it too. So these are the guys we are able to elect, but chances are, I hate to say, the machine is not behind these men. So yeah, we got a problem. Now is there anything optimistic? Yeah. I’m a God fearing Christian. God has the power. How He might express that, I don’t know. But yeah, can the average American do anything about it? I’m just not, I’m pretty not very, I’m not optimistic, I’m pessimistic that any single American can do much to prevent what seems to be going to happen here, attacking Iran and also this terrible thing we’ve done to Iraq which I think will continue to go on for many years. It will fester, fester for many years.

    JAMES HARRIS: I’m one that believes the price of terrorism, I’m interested to get your perspective on this as one who watched us engage on this terrorist enemy, an enemy like we’d never seen before, at least from a military standpoint. I look at terrorism, and I see it tearing us apart. And in a lot of ways I look at it and say, we’ve already lost this war because we now have a president who’s bending the Constitution. We’re looking over our shoulders. We question our whereabouts. This whole thing that went on in Boston with the advertisement, “is it a bomb?” There’s always that question. Perhaps the goal of Osama, perhaps the goal of these people was to make us afraid, and they’ve succeeded at that. My question to you is, in your mind, what is the true price of terrorism been for you?

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: The military has been broken in most respects into the extent that it worked, it worked because it’s a mercenary force. We were so contracted out, we hired people that are beyond the law, that are not accountable to rules of war. And that’s how we function. So the whole military system, the idea of a defensive force, forget it, that’s done with. Constitution has been hurt by many presidents, but this president has done huge damage to understanding of the Constitution, its idea that it should restrain presidential power, that we should be conservative, small “c” conservative when we go out and engage in these adventures, the Congress has the right to declare war, we’ve ignored that for many decades. Just continued down that path. Te idea that the Bill of Rights is an option, the Bill of Rights is a set of suggestions has become almost mainstream belief. And this is terrible, this is a terrible thing. But I don’t think Osama Bin Laden did that. Terrorism is, obviously it has a political intent, but terrorism almost always, in fact I think in every case, when the political solutions are offered, when the politics change, when the people themselves change, terrorism stops. Terrorism to the extent that it is a crime, should’ve been treated like a crime, but instead we made it a war. Well there is no war with terror, terrorism is a tactic, you don’t make war against a tactic. So yeah, a lot of things have happened, I don’t think Osama had much to do with it, quite frankly, I think this administration, many of the people in Washington are quite comfortable with reduced freedoms for America and this is a good way to get those reduced freedoms, to basically break down and deconstruct the Bill of Rights and say, “well we didn’t mean that, we didn’t mean this.” It’s a problem. Our country has changed, and I think what people have to do now is kind of stand up and separate themselves from a government to the extent that they don’t agree with it and prepare themselves for real battle. Because we are gonna need to stand up very, I can use the word “vociferously,” I think that’s what we have to do, cause our own country is at risk, but not from terror, not from buildings being knocked down, that’s not what our country is at risk from, it’s at risk from our politics, from our abandonment of the Constitution, our devaluing of the Bill of Rights. We’ve lost our freedom. Osama probably couldn’t have dreamed that George Bush would help him out so much. I don’t think even that was his intention, I don’t think Osama could care less about our freedom, Osama’s issues have to do with Islam and the Holy land, Saudi Arabia, his issues are much more narrow than anything that he’s so called achieved. And I think George Bush has achieved this in a very weak and LAUGHS debased Congress has achieved this for this country. And so, it’s a big problem. I’m quite depressed about it. I don’t really have a solution or a remedy. I think we just need to wake up and see what’s being done, and then we need to decide if we want to be a part of it. It’s like that old thing, I’m not a child of the 60s, but you’re either working to fix the problem or you are the problem.

    JOSH SCHEER: Now, Karen, I heard you make a reference to [terrorism as a tactic] …Chuck Hagel made reference to terrorism as a tactic in a speech, and [how] it’s not a country, and you talk about Ron Paul. Why have the neo-cons been allowed [to do this] , they’re not, to me, they don’t seem like the Republicans that I grew up with.

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: No, no, they’re not. And if you look at the history of neo-conservatism, it really traces its roots, well back to Trotsky, but if you go more recent, back to who was the guy, Senator from Boeing (Henry Jackson) they used to call him… big Democratic, 30 year Senator out of Washington State. And Richard Perle was on his staff, Wolfowitz I think was inspired by him. And he was a Democrat during the Cold War. And he was a pro, or I should say strongly anti-Communist democrat, kind of a strong defense democrat. And these guys migrated, particularly after Jimmy Carter, because Jimmy Carter, remember, what was he doing, he was trying to make peace. Remember that, somebody got a Peace Prize out of it, I don’t know what it was, some kind of approach between Arabs and Israelis, and Carter was part of that. And that alienated a great many of these folks who now we know as neo-conservatives because they have two things that they care about, one is strong defense, for whatever reason they like that, an activist foreign policy, and pro-Israel, no questions asked policy. So many of these conservative, pro-defense democrats, anti-Communist democrats abandoned the democratic party at the time of Jimmy Carter, particularly after the time of Jimmy Carter and his summit working on Middle East peace. And they came over to eth Republican party, and of course they came over with a great deal of money and a great deal of political influence and a great deal of voters. So now they’re in the Republican party, and absolutely, this happened, late 1970s. so it is not, these are not the Republicans that we grew up thinking about, but they are in the Republican party now. Of course the Republican party now isn’t anything like what I thought it was, it’s certainly no Goldwater party, it’s a party of big spending, it’s a party of corruption. What do you want me to say? They love big government, they haven’t seen a big government plan they didn’t like.

    JAMES HARRIS: Henry “Scoop” Jackson was the guy you were looking for. As we continue to search for the truth, and that’s pretty much the motto of Truthdig, we don’t believe we have the answer, but we believe that we should at least be looking for the answers. So as we approach that truth around the issues that take place in Iraq and perhaps Iran, we think you might be a good friend to have close to the Truthdig family so we’d like to check in from time to time.

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Sure, I’d be delighted, it’s great fun talking. And hopefully maybe in a couple of months some of these negative things I think are going to happen, maybe they won’t happen.

    JAMES HARRIS: Maybe we’ll all be proven wrong… whatever the case…

    JOSH SCHEER: I’m praying for it.

    JAMES HARRIS: We’re both praying, even though Josh is not a religious man.

    JOSH SCHEER: Oh, excuse me, I am a religious man.

    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Maybe we’re in a foxhole together. You know what they say, there are no atheists in a foxhole, and I think in political sense, many true conservatives and classical liberals, people that love freedom, unlike George Bush, people that really love freedom, we are in a foxhole. We are threatened. And so we gotta call on every little bit of help we can possibly get.

    JOSH SCHEER: I believe in God, I don’t believe in big religion, just like I don’t believe in big government.

    JAMES HARRIS: There you go, we’re in a foxhole, so we’re on the same team.

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