Woolsley calls a spade a spade

James Woolsey, Former Director, CIA
Herzliya Conference

[..]I believe the Arab “support” in Iraq will consist of continued Saudi Imam encouragement of suicide bombers to cross the Iraqi border and blow up Americans and Iraqis.

I believe that the Vilayat Faqih in Iran is a theocratic totalitarian movement for which destruction of Israel and the United States is not a policy but its very essence. It defines itself in that way. Saying that is should change its policy with respect to destroying Israel and the United States is like trying to persuade Hitler away from anti-Semitism. It was his essence and it is the essence of the Iranian Vilayat Faqih.

[..] Negotiating with Syria over the Golan Heights or Hamas and the Palestinian authority over some political solution, which someday will be possible with the Palestinians, is today, in my judgment, fanciful. Nor do I believe that the current Sunni concern over the Shiite nuclear weapons program in Iran will lead to some sort of covert Saudi, Egyptian, American, Israeli modus vivendi to protect ourselves together against the Shi’a.

In 1979, which I think is probably the key year of the modern explosion in fanaticism in this part of the world; the seizure of the great mosque in Mecca and the rise to power of a Shiite theocracy in Iran produced an intense increase of Wahabi fanaticism as expressed in the madrasas of the Middle East and Pakistan. These expressions in the sermons, in mosques, and in the United States, are all very heavily funded by the increases price of oil. Little boys are being taught to dream of being suicide bombers in both Pakistani Madrasas and in the West Bank with Wahabi oil money, and that money is a huge part of our problem.

So I believe that the Wahabis, Al Qaeda, the Vilayat Faqih in Tehran, although often lethally competitive with one another, in the way the Nazis and communists and within the communist movement were competitive with each other in the 1920s and 30s are capable of unification. Those who say that these movements will never work together because of their ideology are precisely as correct as those who in the 1930s said that the communists and the Nazis will never work together. They didn’t, until they did.

So, what do we need to move forward today? First of all we need to take their theocratic totalitarianism authority seriously. We should pay attention to what they say. Hitler meant it when he said he wanted to exterminate the Jews. It was all spelled out in Mein Kampf. We need to take seriously what people like Ahmadinejad and others say to their own followers. They are not lying; they are stating their true objectives.

Secondly, we need clarity. We need to make sure that we call a spade, a spade. That when we are accused of being Islam-phoebes I think it’s fair to say no, we are not, but we are theocrat-phoebes. We should not let our sense of fairness lead to creeping Shari’a. It is beginning in Europe and even a bit here in the United States among the Muslim communities.

People need to all obey the law. You do not get, in Michigan, to be a taxi driver and turn down blind people with seeing eyes dogs as passengers because dogs are allegedly unclean. The answer to that is Donald Trump’s: You’re fired! We must not accept totalitarian regimes, we should, I think as Richard Pearl stated so yesterday, try with some of the tactics Bill Einhorn mentioned for regime change in Iran peacefully, if possible.

We should not tolerate a nuclear weapons capability for Iran. John McCain has it right. The worst situation we can imagine in that part of the world is the need to use force against Iran in order to stop it from having nuclear weapons, except for one other possibility, and that one other possibility is letting them have nuclear weapons.

And if we use force, we should use it decisively, not some surgical strike on a single or two or three facilities. We need to destroy the power of the Valayat Faqi if we are called upon and forced to use force against Iran. It is a shame that Israel did not and the United States did not help and participate in moving against Syria last summer when Hezbollah gave the opportunity. We should not pass up, if we are forced to use force the opportunity to use it decisively.

We also need to move decisively away from the use of oil. New developments in batteries and in genetic engineering of bio-catalysts are making that entirely feasible now. Within a very short time hundreds of miles per gallon of petroleum products for vehicles. Finally, we must not forget who we are. We as Jews, Christians and others are heirs in the tradition from Judaism of the rule of law. Even more fundamentally than democracy because democracy without the rule of law is a mob just like in capitalism without the rule of law is theft. Elijah had it right in confronting Ahab and Thomas Jefferson had it right in the one sentence of his that circles your head as you stand in front of his statue in Washington D.C. Of all Jefferson’s writings this was what was picked to symbolize his views. It says: “I have sworn on the alter of the all mighty God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”.

January 24, 2007 | 7 Comments »

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7 Comments / 7 Comments

  1. Nathan is right, NK would take the bribe and then do what they were going to do anyway. Ask Clinton and Albright for a first hand account on how this works. In past decades we tried bribing Iran and Iraq, look where we are now.

  2. Jerry, sounds like a great idea but economically bribing Kim Jong Il hasn’t worked in the past, so its highly unlikely that it would work now. The tyrannical, despotic, Stalinist regime of Kim Jong Il cannot be trusted to honor any agreement no matter how good the economic incentive (bribe) is. This has been proven by his dishonorable behavior time and again.

    Besides, economically bribing and/or appeasing despotic terrorist regimes is a CFR elitist policy that has created one US government(CFR)foreign policy disaster after another.

    Take for example this analysis:
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Bad+dealings+with+North+Korea-a0154691171 :

    “Like the Clinton administration before it, the Bush administration is setting us up for another negotiated fiasco with North Korea. The recent six-nation summit on Korea hosted by Beijing is preparing the way for another decade of extortion payments to Kim Jong Il’s totalitarian terror state. On the table are billions of dollars in loans, food, oil, and technology–courtesy (mostly) of U.S. taxpayers–to bribe Supreme Leader Kim to stop acting like the tyrannical megalomaniac he is.”

    That was the opening paragraph for my column in this space three years ago, in September 2003. Back then, the Bush initiative was being praised by the foreign policy establishment that has been behind one diplomatic betrayal after another, from Yalta to the Korean War to Cuba to Vietnam to Iran, etc., etc.–to the present. Lee Feinstein, the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) director for strategic policy, hailed the supposedly stunning achievement by President Bush and his then-Secretary of State Colin Powell of bringing North Korea to the negotiating table as a great “diplomatic victory.”

    Mr. Feinstein was one of the key Clinton State Department officials who a decade earlier had set up the infamous “Agreed Framework” (brokered by former president Jimmy Carter) to provide the Communist Pyongyang regime with light-water nuclear reactors, oil, cash and food–in exchange for Kim Jong Il’s promise to cease its nuclear weapons program.

    North Korea’s recent nuclear testing and its truculent attitude toward global condemnation of its actions show once again how reliable are Kim’s promises–and the CFR’s strategic advice.

    Many had hoped that the change of administrations in 2001 would signal an about-face in this dangerous policy toward North Korea. But the Bush administration continued the Clinton policy of oil, cash, food, and technology bribes for Pyongyang’s promises of good behavior.

    On June 13, 2001, President Bush stated that after several months of review, he was directing his national security team to “undertake serious discussions with North Korea,” with the objective of bringing about “improved implementation of the [Clinton-Carter] Agreed Framework.”

    Three months later we experienced the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The country was no longer in a mood for coddling and aiding terror states. Playing to this public mood, President Bush, in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, made his now-famous “axis of evil” declaration. He specifically cited North Korea, one of the axis members.

    And, he continued, to thunderous applause, “We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology, and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction.”

    But what really happened? Barely two months after making that seemingly resolute vow, Bush was already backtracking on his anti-terror pledge with regard to Korea. On April 1 (yes, April Fool’s Day), President Bush issued Presidential Determination No. 2002-12, a memorandum to the secretary of state, in which he ordered $95 million to be delivered to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), the agency in charge of transferring funds to Kim’s regime.

  3. Regarding comment 4 and the mention of North Korea: The North Korean regime must know that it is instigating war. Perhaps North Korea is more concerned with acquiring money than friends and influence. Of course, it will lose its market if Iran goes down. However, this is a testable hypothesis: offer North Korea more money than it can possibly receive from the deal with Iran and see what happens.

    Not so incidentally, should the US and Europe not make such a financial offer to try to undercut the Iranian-North Korean relationship, the rational observer might question their motives.

  4. “Anything less than the destruction of Iran’s nuclear capacity will leave a clouded future.”

    Exactly. It doesn’t matter what particular regime is in Tehran, as long as the nuclear capacity is there, some regime will come along with a pretext to use it to advantage against Israel and the West– if only by threatening it and using it as leverage for other warlike actions.

    Once Iran enriches the uranium a bit more, then that’s the point of no return. They’ve already managed to enrich to the point of application, they only need to spin the nuclear fuel a little longer and it’s weapons-grade. That’s only 4-5 months away, tops, and that doesn’t even consider the prospect of Iran getting nukes from North Korea. We’re staring down the barrel of a gun that will be fired at us in 4-5 months if we don’t act.

  5. “Regime change” is a foolish hope. Look at China, almost 60 years of unending totalitarianism and brutal repression to all opposition. “Regime change” is drawing to an inside straight.

    James Woolsley like General Ya’alon is very consise , cuts to the quick and clear sighted for the road ahead. Not that it matters anything beyond a remote dream since neither they nor their guidance is in operation for us.

  6. We fully underestimate the political astuteness of Iran’s current leaders. Any talk of regime change as acceptable will allow Iran to change its upfront faces and then Europe will cave in with the notion of how smart they were to seek a “peaceful” solution. Anything less than the destruction of Iran’s nuclear capacity will leave a clouded future. After its destruction, the Iranians can change their regime as much as they like.

    With regard to regime change in Syria, perhaps that would be a mistake as well. Assad junior is intent on holding his power. If Iran is emasculated, Syria will have to depend on more distant supporters such as Russia. However, Syria will never represent the threat to Israel that Iran does. One atomic bomb can ruin their entire day, just as it could for Israel. The advantage to the secular Syrian regime is that they do not have the support of millions of virgins waiting for them in the next world.

  7. Woolsley is right indeed, and your comments in the earlier thread– about the world abandoning Israel, including the United States– were right on target. On Iran in particular, the USA has very divergent interests from Israel and may well drag its feet, while for Israel, immediate military action is needed.

    IOW, for Israel, stopping Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, and Iran’s support for Hezbollah and other organizations targeting Israel, is a matter of sheer survival. If Israel fails in this regard, Israel does not survive. Whereas for the USA, in the minds of at least many of the country’s leaders (aka Condi Rice and Jim Baker e.g.), Iran is more a matter of economic inconvenience. However, Ehud Olmert and Kadima– rather than acting as Israel’s leaders did in 1948 and 1967, and taking the action needed for survival, regardless of how “inconvenient” it would be for other countries– are far too timidly focused on the convenience of the USA. Hitting Iran’s nuclear sites and targeting the surrounding support structures would cause a temporary bump in oil prices that might cut into the profits of some US multinational companies, which is causing at least some segments of the United States to get cold feet and instead pursue an appeasement policy toward Iran, including offering up Israel as a sacrifice. Olmert should be catching onto this and preparing to act for Israel’s survival, instead he’s like the idiot loser in high school who’s so worried what his “friends” think about him, he doesn’t complete his most basic tasks.

    It’s obvious how dangerous Iran is and will constantly be (and Ahmedinejad has very little to do with it), and how destructive Iran would be by merely getting hold of nuclear weapons, not even using them. That’s Iran’s whole point– they know how much the whole region would be destabilized by their messianic nuts getting The Bomb, how much it would shut down the aliyah to Israel from North America which they know Israel needs for survival, so Iran is preparing to alter the chessboard enough to destroy Israel without firing a shot.

    Barring a very rapid toughening of their policies, Olmert and Kadima need to go, immediately and new elections need to be called.

    And Israel fundamentally, at a time of such a grave threat to the survival of our ancient homeland, must do what is needed to survive and act in our own interest. And the interests of profit-hungry US multinational companies, and especially of appeasers like Condi Rice, are not the interests of Israel or the people.

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