A War Criminal in Academia

By David Swanson

The Miller Center on Public Affairs at the University of Virginia has invited a war criminal to speak on October 27, 2008, on the topic of “War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism.” Georgetown University employs the very same war criminal as a “Professor and Distinguished Practitioner in National Security Policy.” Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government has made him a “Belfer Center Visiting Scholar.” And to Stanford University he’s a “Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Hoover Institution.” The man’s name is Douglas Feith.

Feith was the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2001 to 2005. Nine days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Feith drafted a memo proposing “deliberately selecting a non-al Qaeda target like Iraq.” Feith had signed the letter from the Project for a New American Century to President Clinton in 1998 urging him to attack Iraq. And in 1996 Feith had worked with Richard Perle on a report for then-Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu that advocated removing Saddam Hussein from power.

Feith’s work after September 11, 2001, quickly became the manufature of pseudo-evidence pretending to link al Qaeda to Iraq. Feith created, cherry picked, and distorted information, and pressured others to do the same, to help build a false case for an illegal war of aggression. And he didn’t even do so from within an agency legally permitted to engage in so-called intelligence work. He did so from within the Pentagon where he set up a parallel intelligence operation with the role of producing what Cheney and Bush wanted but couldn’t get from the other intelligence agencies. Feith’s operation was called the Office of Special Plans.

In 2002, Feith and gang produced a slideshow purporting to show that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were working together and had been for years. The slideshow began by explaining why the legal intelligence agencies had it all wrong. Feith relied on a witness named Curveball who had spoken with the German government, which found him not credible. Based on the pretense that Curveball was providing good information, Feith claimed al Qaeda and Iraqi officials had met. And he made claims of this nature in presentations to the White House that he omited from presentations to the intelligence agencies.

Most of this has been documented in a report by the inspector general of the Department of Defense.

Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked with Feith in the Pentagon, has also spoken out about his crimes and abuses. She has spoken about this at an event organized by the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, but as far as I know the Miller Center has never invited her to speak.