NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Elements in Iran and US that Want War


    Larry Wilkerson: After recent meetings with Iranian leaders, it’s clear the US has lost the ability to understand how other states see their interests -   October 10, 12
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


    An awesome daily supply of genuine, un-spun world news - Chris Attwell
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."

    Transcript

    Elements in Iran and US that Want WarPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to the first episode of a new series, which is The Wilkerson Report with Larry Wilkerson. And he now joins us. Thanks very much for joining us, Larry.

    LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FMR. CHIEF OF STAFF TO COLIN POWELL: Thanks for having me, Paul.

    JAY: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson was the former chief of staff to the U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell. And just in case you didn't know that (but I think most of our viewers must know that), he's now an adjunct professor of government at the College of William & Mary, and that's where he joins us from. So what do you got for us this week?

    WILKERSON: Paul, I had the good fortune, I think, to meet in the last several weeks with the Iranian U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, with their foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. And that was the day before yesterday. And then about a week ago I met, at the Warwick Hotel in New York City, with President Ahmadinejad. These were meetings in a group of several people, 18, 19 people. And what I gleaned from that was very disappointing. I hope I'm wrong, but I think we are—much the way we did in 2002, 2003, we're wandering towards another war in Western Asia. And this one, as General Anthony Zinni, former Central Command commander, characterized it, if you liked Iraq, you'll love Iran.

    JAY: And why do you think that? What came out of these meetings that led you to think this seems—has a bit of an air of inevitability about it?

    WILKERSON: It just reinforced for me, this time from the Iranian side, that on both sides of the strait, as it were, the United States and Iran, the foreign policy, since about 1979—one could even go back to the overthrow of Mossadeq in '53—has been delusional. That's the best description I can come up with, delusional, on both sides, that we are in such a mode in this country, for example, that there is no political space, largely because of Israel, but other reasons, too. We can't even let diplomacy succeed. And, frankly, diplomacy right now is nothing more than sanctions, unless some secret talks are going on, which I hope beyond all hope are going on. But I don't expect them to be going on.

    JAY: Well, did you get the sense that the Iranian leaders believe a war's inevitable? 'Cause I've always thought that—and certainly it's the way they talk—that they think it's really a bluff and they don't really believe it's coming.

    WILKERSON: It's more complex than that, Paul, I think. There are Iranian leaders who do not want war and would like to see negotiations succeed, but on their basis, which is, essentially, we've got to see some sanctions relief before we give you a deal that we won't enrich above 5 percent, and so forth.

    There are elements, though, in all three places—in Washington, in Tel Aviv, and in Tehran—that want war. No question about it. The elements in Tehran want war because they see it as solidifying their hold, their revolutionary hold on the government for at least another decade or two, something that's looking a little precarious at the moment. They see it as a way to get international opinion to shift to them. And they're probably right, there. Once bombs start falling, people start falling off as our friends and allies when innocent civilians are killed and so forth.

    So there are people in Iran who want war. There are people in Washington who want war. I recognize them. They're the John Boltons and others of the world that I had to deal with in 2001, '02, and '03 with regard to Iraq. They're marching their own route and trying to push us on to war. The recent delisting of the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq, the so-called MEK, is a case in point. They are the new Iraqi National Congress/Ahmed Chalabi. They are—.

    JAY: And by delisting you mean taking off the terrorist list.

    WILKERSON: Yeah, taking them off the state sponsors of terrorism list—or the terrorism list, in this case, so that, essentially, they're going to be advocating for war with Iran. And they'll sidle up to the same kind of people that Ahmed Chalabi sidled up to. And there are people in Israel, I think, that would like to see the United States take care of their problem. So you've got people who want some sort of conflict, if not general war between us, in all three capitals.

    JAY: Well, go back to the Iranian side. I mean, do you put Ahmadinejad in that camp that wants war?

    WILKERSON: Ahmadinejad is—he is a checked-out president. He is a lame duck. Ahmadinejad and the ayatollah, as you well know, I think, are involved in a contretemps that Ahmadinejad can't win. And so we're looking for the next president. And I think the ayatollah, the Guardian Council, and others are looking for the next president, and Ahmadinejad is on his way out. And I would predict that you probably won't even hear his name after he's gone.

    So what we're looking at in Iran are different elements. I would say many of the elements of powerlike those in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, many of them, if not their leadership, would love to see the United States or Israel or both drop some bombs. If there's any truth to the fact that there might be some people in Iran that operate on a different sheet of music, say, than rational thinkers as we see rational thinkers, it's probably in the IRGC.

    So, as I said, you put all this together, and you put the lack of political space, really, domestic political space in Iran, and to get anything other than a win-win (and by that I mean they get significant sanctions relief), and the lack of political space in the United States on the domestic scene (that is, the Congress won't let the president give any sanctions relief), and you can't see diplomacy working—. So the president has said and Mitt Romney will say and any other president will say, because this has been our policy, that all options are on the table.

    Well, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are not very far apart on this. They want diplomacy to work. But I don't see how diplomacy as sanctions, which is all it is right now, can work.

    So what do you do? You either back down when all the other options have failed or you carry out your threat, which is, if all other options fail, the military option is used. And if you do that, you quickly realize the military option was counterproductive, 'cause it will be.

    Look at the Iran Project's very careful analysis with—Zbig Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, Admiral Fox Fallon, General Zinni, and a host—Ambassador Tom Pickering, and a host of others, including yours truly, signed up to it—and you will see what the prospects are. What it is is we're going to have to invade Iran, we're going to have to occupy Iran for at least a decade, spend $2 trillion to 3 trillion, put $500,000 infantrymen and others into Iran. And even then, as Afghanistan and Iraq are so proof of today, we won't have any guarantee of success. But that's going to—at a minimum what it will take to have regime change and thus reasonable assurance while the occupation is in place that no nuclear weapon is developed.

    JAY: But in recent days even Netanyahu seems to have backed off that, and that the idea now is increase the severity of the sanctions.

    WILKERSON: Paul, a deal's there, a deal is there just as sure as I'm speaking to you right now. They will do only 5 percent. Anything over that they will get from outside sources, as long as it's reasonably available and reasonably priced.

    JAY: This is—we're talking about the uranium enrichment.

    WILKERSON: Yes, uranium for medical use and so forth and so on, for their reactor. They will only enrich to 5 percent, and they will allow the IAEA to do what it has to do to ensure that they don't and to give the international community assurances that they don't.

    But they're not going to do it unless we show our good faith by giving them some significant sanctions relief. That becomes doubly difficult because most of the sanctions by the Europeans originally were on human rights, and I, frankly, don't believe those should be lifted. But as you know, the Europeans have come in on the oil embargo and other more draconian aspects of the sanctions, and we're there big-time, from the bank to oil to whatever. So they've got to see some of that, at least temporarily, to show our good faith, released or, you know, taken off of it.

    JAY: Well, what about the other side of it, though? And I wonder in these meetings if anyone asked Ahmadinejad this. While there's no evidence there is a weapons program, and while the last intelligence estimate from the American agency said there's no evidence there's a weapons program, or at least the decision has not been made—in fact, that's still the official position of the United States, that Iran has not made a decision to go ahead with the bomb.

    WILKERSON: And I think that's a valid view.

    JAY: But let me add one thing, which I saw an interview with Hans Blix about a year ago, you know, the former inspector in Iraq, and he made a point I thought was interesting. He said he doesn't think there's a weapons program. He says he believes the Iranians—there's no weapons program, but he can't understand why the Iranians simply don't give the IAEA every single thing they want, let them go anywhere they want, ask—answer every question they have. Why not do that and settle this issue? Does anyone ask [crosstalk]

    WILKERSON: I think you have to look at other factors, Paul. I would give you as an illustration of those other factors McGeorge Bundy, the national security adviser to John F. Kennedy, and then later lingering with LBJ. And in his autobiographical/biographical interview that has now been turned into a book by his authorized biographer (he died before the official biography could come out), you are stunned if you're a soldier like me who fought in Vietnam and saw some of his buddies killed, you're stunned when McGeorge Bundy says, well, we knew we couldn't win the war, but we had to continue because of U.S. prestige. Wow. We had to continue because if we didn't get enough people killed and show that we were determined to fight this theatre of the Cold War, our allies might back away. Well, 58,000-plus names on that black wall in Washington called the Vietnam Memorial Wall testify to McGeorge Bundy's having paid a price.

    JAY: And how many hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese?

    WILKERSON: Two and a half million North Vietnamese, maybe a million South Vietnamese, and horrible casualties other than the 58,000 KIA.

    So this has got something to do with the Iranian position, too. It's prestige: it's our revolution, it's our country, it's our people, and you're telling us what we should do with it. Same thing with Saddam Hussein. Why wouldn't Saddam Hussein come forward and tell everybody—I mean, stand there abjectly and say to the UN inspectors, I have nothing, I will go with you everywhere; if we have to walk over every square foot of Iraq, I'll show you? Well, it was prestige, and it was also the fact he didn't want the Iranians to know he was weaponless when it came to WMD. After all, he fought an eight-year war with them.

    So you have to look at much more—a much wider array of very complex issues in order to understand why someone's taking the negotiating position they're taking. We call it empathy. We call it being—in the military, being able to put yourself in the other person's shoes and look at the problem you're negotiating from their perspective. Paul, we simply have lost the ability to do that in this country.

    JAY: Thanks for joining us, Larry.

    WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Paul.

    JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Israel Uses Refugees as "Currency" in Arms Trade with Africa
    Who Will Pay for Climate Change Disaster?
    Canada Shifts to Right Under Harper, Mimicking the United States
    The Savings and Loan Crisis Demonstrates the Importance of Glass Steagall
    South African Platinum Miner's Struggle Challenges ANC Leadership
    TRNN Original Report: Manning Determined to Fight Back After Army Upholds 35- Year Sentence
    Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre
    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting