Lawrence Wilkerson: Three hundred
Rob Kall: " who wanted to hurt the U.S. ?
Lawrence Wilkerson: Yeah. And could [do it]. And could! H e said "N ow there ' s fifty thousand." And then he said " how is that a successful strategy? " It reminded me of Donald Rumsfeld . Donald Rumsfeld asked the question , I think it was in 2003, the summer of 2003 as I recall, maybe it was a little bit later then that, maybe it was the winter of 2003, 2004, Rumsfeld sent out one of his " snowflakes ' [memos] , and he asked both the uniformed military and the civilian staff in the Pentagon, and he said "T ell me how it is , if every time we kill a terrorist, we create ten, that we ' re winning! " G ood question , Donald!
Rob Kall: Yeah, well. Something good out of his mouth anyway . Well " Shame they didn ' t make a ny decision s based on that!
Lawrence Wilkerson: Well "
Rob Kall: This is the Rob Kall " Bottom-Up ' Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM, Sponsored by OpEdNews.com . I have as my guest, Lawrence Wilkerson , retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson . He was the former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell. And he ' s now an adjunct Professor of Government at the College of William and Mary.
And we ' ve been talking about N eo c ons, about the CIA, about Iran. Let ' s talk about Iran . Now, w e went over a couple of things that you have on your agenda now , and one of them is to prevent war with Iran. So , what are your thoughts about Iran?
Lawrence Wilkerson: First, Iran is not an existential threat to anyone. Israel would come closest in that particular configuration, but I don ' t think as long as Israel has a hundred or more nuclear weapons and airplanes to carry them, I think deterrence works. So Iran using a nuclear weapon against Israel, to me is preposterous , because Iran ' s leaders know that, were they to do so, Tehran would disappear and maybe lots of other cities in Iran; n ot only because Israel would retaliate, but probably because we would retaliate too. So deterrence work s. It worked during the Cold War, and people who say the "N o, the mad Mullahs in Tehran "' T hey ' re not mad Mullahs in Tehran, they ' re as rational as anybody else . They ' re interested in power . Power, that ' s their objective. And so deterrence would work. So i t ' s not an existential threat . If Ira n were to achieve a nuclear weapon , that is to say the way North Korea did (and notice we aren ' t doing too much about North Korea ), t h en probably what would immediately happen is the Saudis, who would feel, probably of all the people in the Middle East ( even more so than Israel) would feel threatened , would buy ten or twenty or maybe thirty , complete with personnel to take care of them from Pakistan. And Pakistan would sell them to them. And so you ' d have an immediate balance of terror as it were, across the Straits of Hormuz.
So deterrence would work, but that ' s not " that ' s an ultimate position. The interim position, and the position that we ought to be pursuing but I ' m sad to say I don ' t think we are, well not with any vigor anyway, is that Iran has said repeatedly , "Y ou let us enrich to five percent.
That ' s our right under the Non-Proliferation TreatyAnd t hat ' s arguable, but Israel ' s got bombs.
The least we can do is let Iran enrich to 5%
Rob Kall: M aybe after the election things will change.
Lawrence Wilkerson: I ' m hoping so. The deal is there. I ' ve spent time with Iran ' s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi . I ' ve spent time with their Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee. I even spent some time, some two hours, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, t he kind of nutty President they have ( who ' s r eally not very powerful any more) i n New York City, during the U.N. General Senate Assembly ' s meetings. And the deal ' s there. I mean it ' s there to be made. It ' s just a question of whether or not a D emocratic President re-elected, feels like he can suffer the ' slings and arrows' of my idiot Republicans, if he proceeds to make a deal. I would say that if he ' s re-elected he has more opportunity, more power, more mandate, to do that , but he ' s got to get re-elected first . And I have no idea, although when you parse it carefully, Mitt Romney ' s policy is Obama ' s policy. So, I have expectations that we wouldn ' t see much change with Mitt Romney. Now my fear there , is that while Romney m ight feel that way , the Neocon s around him don ' t. And I ' ve already "
Rob Kall: That was my next question . That was my next question! It ' s very interesting, you ' re saying that Romney and Obama have almost the same policy o n the face , but Romney ' s advisors are N eo c ons, and I know you ' ve had some pretty strong words for Bolton. W here do you think that separation is between what Romney states, and where he ' s going to go once he brings in policy advisors and makes appointments?
Lawrence Wilkerson: You know you just put your finger on what frighten s me, because I saw how the N eo c ons captured one President, a nd frankly I don ' t see a whole lot more experience in the critical areas that one would need it , in Romney, than I did in George W. Bush. So when you pit Romney against his Chairman of the Joint Chief s of Staffs, his Secretary of Defense, his Secretary of State, his Director of National Intelligence, his National Security Advisor , and others who may be from that crowd, by the time he gets his Cabinet formed , then I get worried . I get scared. I get the feeling that I ' m seeing everything happen over again, only this time with Iran.
Rob Kall: [Noise of disapproval] What about besides Iran? What other policies are you concerned about, that Bolton and his other advisors, his N eo c on advisors , will move Romney to act on?
Lawrence Wilkerson: Well, one of the m is that Americans don ' t really care about
I ' m also very, very concerned about the military. Very concerned ! Romney has said some things that he can ' t possibly fulfill , but he could make a start on them and really make things bad. And what I ' m talking about is , if you look at his projected military budget, you ' re talking about not only increasing spending beyond the highes t spending years of the Cold War, you ' re talking about doing it by orders of magnitude! I ' ll shall you how high the military budget is right now. We ' ve had thirteen straight years of increases. I f you let sequestration take place , and cut about a trillion dollars out of the Pentagon ' s budget over the next ten years, you would still only return spending to 2007 levels, and that ' s in inflation adjusted dollars. So , that ' s how much we ' ve increased military spend ing. Our military spending right now is about forty to forty-five percent of the entire world ' s military spending. We ' ve dwarfed everybody else in the world. You could combine twenty six of our allies, including Japan and Germany , the United Kingdom, France , and you still wouldn ' t have our defense budget . You add the Intelligence budget to that, you add the Homeland Security budget to that , you add the Veterans administration budget to that , you add the Nuclear budget to that and the Department of Energy , and you ' ve got over 1.2 trillion dollars in fiscal year 2010 , for example . T hat ain ' t chump change! A nd we need to be cutting that budget in order to commit to shape the military commensurate with the threat in the world, a nd we also need to be paying some of that money to deficit reduction. And I don ' t see Romney doing that at all. Now I don ' t think he ' s going to be able to do what he says he ' s going to do. I think he ' s lying. B ut politicians lie sometimes and sometimes they actually carry out some of their lies . And in this case if Romney carries th is out, we ' ll have a military so bloated, and so screwed up, and so misconceived, that if anybody does come along down the road like say a China or whatever, we ' re going to have a real problem with it. So that ' s frightening to me! I mean I spent thirty one years in the Army . T hat ' s frightening to me !