The 200k Challenge Live Webcast
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Our target was to hit $200,000 tonight. I actually haven’t seen where the thermometer is, but I think we’re actually, like, on the edge of breaking through $200,000, and I think we’re on the way to–we’re hoping tonight maybe we’ll even hit $220,000, $230,000. I don’t know if that sounds like a lot, but $200,000 barely covers four months of our expenses, and we really want to be expanding. We need specialists, we need producers that specialize in certain areas, like the economy, like the green movement, immigration reform. But one of the issues we really want to have someone specialize is the whole issue of geopolitics, the military-industrial complex. And now joining us is one of our favorite guests, at least my favorite guest, Larry Wilkerson. Colonel Larry Wilkerson was the chief of staff of Colin Powell and now teaches at two universities in the Washington area. Thanks for joining us.
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FMR. CHIEF OF STAFF TO COLIN POWELL: Good to be here.
JAY: So we’ve talked before about WikiLeaks. I thought we’d start with, before we get some questions and–oh, I’ve got to do my question shtick. Hold on. If you want to ask a question, you email questions (at) therealnews (dot) com or you phone this number: it’s 888-816-8867. Again, 888-816-8867. And if you want to ask a question of Colonel Wilkerson, you call, and our colleagues will help you there. Or, again, if you just want to email a question, questions (at) therealnews (dot) com. Okay. Now we go. So this whole issue of governments have a right to secrecy–and I guess they do, but how open should diplomacy be? How open should all of this be? And if foreign policy had the intent it claims to have, for example, the national interest of the United States, which one would think means the majority of the people’s interest of the United States and not the elites’ interests of the United States, I mean, if it actually–if the foreign policy was what it’s supposed to be, maybe it wouldn’t need to be so secret. Okay, Part A of the question. Part B’s something specific. In one of the first interviews we ever did, you said that in 2003 Iran proposed, through, I think, the Swiss Embassy or the Swiss government acting as an intermediary, a comprehensive peace deal or deal with the United States, putting everything on the table, let’s work things out, and that Vice President Cheney found a way to stop those negotiations. Now, if that had come out, we would be living in a somewhat different world today, perhaps. So talk about the specificity of that, and then broaden it out, what that means. Should that have gone public, for example?
WILKERSON: In that particular instance, I think you could make a fairly good case for it would have been better if someone else knew about it, someone else being other than the administration and the people involved.
JAY: Well, back up a stage, because not everyone saw our other interview. So let’s–tell us again what happened. Then let’s talk about–.
WILKERSON: Well, we have a protecting power in Tehran, because we do not have–just as in North Korea, in Pyongyang, we do not have an embassy there, or even an intersection. So our protecting power in Tehran is the Swiss. And what the Iranians do, if they want to communicate with us diplomatically, they go through that protecting power. In this case they used the Swiss and forwarded a message to us that said they were ready to negotiate, and the message included a range of things that they were willing to negotiate on. Interestingly, this range was not unlike, not very different from the range of things we in a non-paper–non-paper simply means “no indicia”, no fingerprints on it. Earlier, when we were cooperating on the ground in Afghanistan, this paper looked a lot like what we’d given them as our list of druthers, wishes, and so forth and what we interpreted to be theirs, and they came back with a similar list, and it was apparently with the imprimatur of the Ayatollah, which meant it had gone to the highest authority in Iran. It wasn’t just the vice president and Dr. Rice, the national security advisor, who didn’t want to cooperate. I later learned that the secretary of state had not been very favorable, based on Bill Burns’s advice to him, then assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, that they thought–he thought, NEA thought, that the Europeans were embellishing the offer – I don’t know how they figured that out, since it was from the Iranians – and that they didn’t think the Iranians were serious; and I don’t know how they figured that out, since the Iranians were staring at this statue having come down in Baghdad and them being next. So it was quite clear they were a little concerned and maybe trying to, you know, preclude an invasion of their own country. There are all sorts of circumstances would have pointed at that being a propitious moment, I think. I understand my boss is not dealing with it at the time, Secretary Powell.
JAY: Your–Colin Powell.
WILKERSON: He had that advice from his experts, as it were. And, also, he was already fighting Cheney over North Korea, he was fighting Cheney over other issues, and you can only fight so many issues when you’re outnumbered the way he was outnumbered.
JAY: And “fighting over North Korea” meaning Cheney wanted to take a more aggressive stance to North Korea.
WILKERSON: Cheney didn’t want to talk to evil, period. And we were trying to get the six-party talks going, and he was trying to do everything in his power to make sure the six-party talks would never come to any fruition.
JAY: So Colin Powell didn’t push it, Rice and Cheney were opposed to it, it being the–following up and seeing how real this whole deal was. And what happened? A possible deal just died ’cause it wasn’t taken up?
WILKERSON: This is the result that we look back on now and may lament, that, yes, who could say whether it would have come to anything or not, but we didn’t try, just as I don’t think we’re trying very hard today. And these cables tend to reveal we’re not trying very hard today.
JAY: Or trying very hard to rally some kind of attack on Iran, perhaps. But let’s back up. So let’s say that had gone–had been leaked or there was a process that was so transparent that this had to be open in the first place. Would the Iranians have ever have made such an offer? On the other hand, if the offer came, then could it have been turned down so easily?
WILKERSON: We’re presupposing a lot of clarity here that simply doesn’t exist in matters like this. We presupposing, for example, that if it were leaked, people who were subject to the leak would know what the hell it meant, would know what diplomatic measures meant when they were expressed to them. That’s not the case. Most Americans are utterly ignorant of how diplomacy is conducted and utterly ignorant of what the parameters and design factors are, if you will. So I don’t–you know, we’re saying that this would be clear as to what was happening. I don’t think it would be. And the government has all the power in the world to obfuscate, make ambiguous, to hide, to cover up, to twist, to spin, and so forth; so even if it were revealed, it would be dealt with, I’m sure, quite effectively by a government who knew what it was doing.
JAY: But in terms of what happened with WikiLeaks, Private [Bradley] Manning releases the stuff–.
WILKERSON: Now, this is a different thing. This is a volume that’s incredible. And so even the laymen out there–I’m not trying to, you know, denigrate Americans, but they’re not diplomats, most of them. This is of such a volume, and there’s so much information in it, that you’ve got to stand up and take notice, I think, if you’re a concerned American (and I’m not sure anymore how many of those there are out there) and you’re trying to be an informed American; and I’m not sure of that either. This is something to not just titillate you but to get you seriously interested, in particular the information that’s flowed out about our negotiations with–.
JAY: Okay. In terms of what happens now, Julian Assange has been arrested on these charges that arise out of inappropriate sexual behavior in Sweden. But we don’t know, really, what the reality of that is, and it may turn out it is —
WILKERSON: Sounds like it’s trumped up to me.
JAY: It may be, or it may be something real that’s been exaggerated. Or who knows, maybe it’s even just real and it’s [inaudible]
WILKERSON: I thought Jon Stewart did a good job with it the other night.
JAY: I didn’t see that. But anyway, he’s–if I understand it correctly, he’s still sitting in jail at this point —
WILKERSON: That’s the way I understand it. In London, I think.
JAY: –the private that supposedly or allegedly released all this material. So, first of all, should the private be prosecuted for releasing these secrets?
WILKERSON: I don’t see any way around that. I mean, if he violated regulations and rules that the military has, he violated classification guidelines, classification constraints, I don’t see any way around punishing him. And I think it’s rather odd that we seem to be focused on Julian Assange and not this private and not the chain of command around this private, who were apparently rather derelict in their duty in allowing this individual to download all this information —
JAY: And not focusing on The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, a couple of other newspapers. I mean, what’s so different about Julian and WikiLeaks and all these newspapers who in fact–if the newspapers hadn’t bought in on releasing all this, it never really would have gone mainstream. It would have been–stayed kind of relatively marginalized on the Internet.
WILKERSON: That’s a good question. And as I understand it–I have in no way poured over everything, but as I understand it, there’s been a good deal of redacting and omitting and holding back by WikiLeaks, as well as some of these newspapers and magazines. So it seems to me that so far, what I’ve seen, people have been rather circumspect with those items that might have been very dangerous to release to an individual or to a group.
JAY: So you don’t agree with any kind of prosecution of Assange or WikiLeaks.
WILKERSON: I don’t see how you do it. Within our system, I don’t see how you do it. Now, if you go to China, I see how you do it. You go to North Korea, I see how you do it.
JAY: Well, there is another way to do it, which is you do what Lieberman did and just lean on people that are–.
WILKERSON: Lieberman? Joe Lieberman!?, should be in North Korea or China, in my view.
WILKERSON: Because of the statements he makes. And I have to believe that they’re from his heart. And those are the kind of statements that dictators make. Those are the kind of statements that draconian societies that don’t allow their citizens freedom and liberty make. I have a real problem with that.
JAY: Just for people that haven’t followed it all, one of the things that Lieberman did was he–either he directly or through his chairmanship of the House Homeland Security Committee [Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs] leaned on Amazon, and Amazon kicked WikiLeaks off their server farm, which led to PayPal kicking off WikiLeaks, which [led] the banks. Visa and MasterCard [who] have stopped WikiLeaks from taking money. I mean, this to me is–reminds me of what I know of phone calls from the House of Un-American Activities, calling studios in Hollywood and saying, we want you to fire such at such.
WILKERSON: That’s what it reminds me of very much.
JAY: So, I mean, it’s–and there’s very little response from most of the media to this Lieberman-Amazon connection, which in many ways may be the most disturbing thing of the whole process so far.
WILKERSON: We had that conversation on a radio show today, with callers-in asking me why the media was not reacting in ways different than they are. And my answer to that question was to quote Ray McGovern’s phrase, the fawning corporate media. They don’t seem to be able to fixate on the right issues anymore and report on them thoroughly.
JAY: Well, an interesting insight into this. We did this panel last night on is the free Internet over or free Internet dead, and it was interesting in putting together the panel that a lot of people in the technology companies were very, very reluctant to come out and critique Lieberman and what happened with Amazon, particularly didn’t want to critique Amazon. And the reason is–is a private company should be able to decide what’s in its business interest, and if they think it’s in their interest to dump WikiLeaks, well, that’s their business. And I wonder if the media doesn’t buy into this same idea, that, okay, it’s a private company; how can you tell it what to do? Plus, any–there’s almost this McCarthy-ite feeling right now: somehow, you come out and take a position against this, you’re pro-leaks, you’re anti-American.
WILKERSON: That’s the other aspect of it that bothers me, too, is that we have this gut-level reaction in this country that comes mostly from–and this is a direct reflection of what you were talking about in the ’50s with McCarthy & Jenner and the House Un-American Activities Committee – what I call the politics of fear. That’s what it’s all about is the politics of fear. We still are enmeshed in this world where a terrorist attack from a group of people who present no existential threat to us is cowing the whole nation, is keeping a whole nation from acting the way it should act.
JAY: There’s an interesting question a viewer just sent in. David from Portland writes: what might encourage more folks with access to, “Pentagon Papers-like material”, what can we do to encourage them to make that information available, either through WikiLeaks or another venue? And it’s really interesting. There is whistle-blower legislation, to some extent. I mean, should there be whistle-blower legislation protecting people in the State Department, in the area of American foreign policy, to be able to say when something’s outrageous, here it is? I mean, if they consider an activity illegal–like, for example, one of the leaks says that the US intelligence agencies or police agencies have made direct contact with Brazilian intelligence agencies to go after people they think are suspected terrorists, and when they can’t get any evidence on them, charge them in a trumped up way with narcotics charges. Now, that’s illegal by any means. So if someone sees that, and you’re in the embassy in Brazil, should there be whistle-blower legislation that says, okay, I’m going to be legally protected because it’s illegal, and I’m going to let the media know?
WILKERSON: I think there should be, and I think the whistle-blower legislation that exists right now should be strengthened, because it’s not followed to the extent that it should be, especially in terms of not punishing whistle-blowers after the fact. But there are ways to get things out. I’ll give you an example. I just read Tom Ricks’ blog today, and there’s a young Marine on that blog, four tours overseas in the war zones, who has written a piece that probably is more accurate about not just Iraq but Afghanistan too, and what’s going on with regard to those wars, than anything I’ve read in any pundit-produced document in this city. And, I mean, that–it’s a devastating indictment of what we’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a devastating indictment of what we’re doing to our military. It is also an extraordinary critique of the modern volunteer force and the fact that we don’t have conscription and the fact that less than 1 percent of America’s bleeding and dying for the rest of us and the fact that we’re not prepared. And I will tell you, we won’t put the money forward to take care of these veterans when they come home. It is a incredible indictment of our policy right now. And it’ll have some after-effects, I guarantee you, within the military and elsewhere. I hope it does. And the commentary that went along with that blog I would recommend people reading, too. It’s quite revealing.
JAY: What did the current whistle-blower legislation–would it protect, in the situation I just described, someone in the Brazilian–US Embassy in Brazil goes public, leaks that this agency to agency–.
WILKERSON: Well, State Department has a specific way of doing this. It’s called a dissent channel. And what it means, in essence, is that anybody out in any consulate, any embassy, or within the department itself here in Washington or anywhere in the country where the State Department has facilities, who sees something wrong; a policy that might be a little more ambiguous and nebulous to critique, or some act that is clearly illegal or clearly unethical, he can send a message straight in to the Secretary of State, and his ambassador can’t stop it, his deputy chief of mission can’t stop it, his assistant secretary can’t stop it; it has to go in. I had to deal with some of those.
JAY: Okay. But what if it doesn’t go anywhere after that and you’re seeing something illegal going on?
WILKERSON: Well, that’s the critique of the dissent channel is that–by foreign service officers who’ve used it, and others who’ve maybe abused it, is that nothing ever happens. I didn’t see a lot of people use it, and I saw most of the dissent messages that came in for the four years that I was there. But I do think Secretary Powell listened and responded to what came in over that channel. I can’t say for other secretaries. But it is a way to get your opinion out.
JAY: But does the current whistle-blower legislation, would it protect someone–someone working in an embassy sees something illegal and goes public. Is he protected?
WILKERSON: As I understand that legislation, it is designed to do so. But as I understand from talking with whistle-blowers who’ve been through the actual experience, it doesn’t.
JAY: Okay. Let’s talk a little bit further about this issue of secrecy and diplomacy. One of the things emerging in some of these cables is–and we certainly know from past history — how much of US foreign policy is directly related to promoting American commercial interests, even the direct interests of specific companies competing in certain markets. The whole kind of intent of US foreign policy, which is supposed to be to bring democracy and defend freedom, and that’s why we’re spending so much money on this military force, I think if more people understood the real objectives of this policy, they might not be so happy to support it. Is there–do you think there–in terms of people working in the field in American diplomacy and the military, does there need to be some protection? Or should they just have the guts to stick their neck out and speak about the real objectives of US foreign policy?
WILKERSON: I don’t think–.
JAY: Or at least more retired people, ’cause there aren’t too many retired military people like you that open their mouths, either.
WILKERSON: I don’t think too many Americans would be all that concerned about their diplomats overseas promoting their economic interests.
JAY: Well, is it their economic interest? Or is it the economic interest of a certain section of America?
WILKERSON: Well, if it’s a certain section of America, it’s corporate America, and corporate America is, after all, who creates the jobs and who does the business of America in terms of trade and so forth. And I’m not just talking about GE and Monsanto and those companies, although they’re at the cutting edge.
JAY: So it’s perceived, anyway.
WILKERSON: Yeah. Let me say this, too. Marine General Smedley Butler probably told the truth when he testified to Congress–and he spent some 26 years, I think it was, in the Caribbean in war after war after war–”small wars”, the Marines call it. And he said, I never fought a war that wasn’t for corporate interest. He’s absolutely right. You know, you scratch hard and you’re going to find corporate interests, particularly in Latin America.
JAY: We have a question from JDS: In an earlier TRNN interview, you stated that the left will bankrupt you, but the right can get you killed. What I see is the right is bankrupting us. Also, when you say “left”, I know you’re not referring to the Democrats, so who are you referring to?
WILKERSON: When I say the left will bankrupt you–and, by the way, that was my–he died at the age 92 a couple of years ago, my father, who was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. But he said that.
JAY: And you were quoting him.
WILKERSON: Yeah. And what he meant by the left were those Keynes-ians who believed in deficit spending forever; that is to say, you never had to stop deficit spending so long as–this is the theory, anyway–you could eventually outproduce, or produce your way out of it, much the way we did after World War II, when our debt was so high at the end of the war. I think she’s absolutely right. And this is one of the points I bring up in my seminar now: how do you explain the right, the Republicans, having suddenly outspent the left? They did, under George W. Bush. I mean, we fought two wars, essentially, on Japanese and Chinese loans. We lowered taxes while we were fighting those two wars. This is unprecedented as far as I know in our history. So how do we explain? And the American people seem to have–many of them, anyway, seem to have forgotten about this. They now cast stones at President Obama, and he’s still dealing with the detritus left him by George W. Bush and Richard Cheney.
JAY: Let me ask you a final question. In the first big WikiLeaks leak, the Afghan, Iraq leaks, two pieces of information, I thought, kind of rose to the top, and they were both to do with Iran being directly involved in somehow killing American soldiers in Iraq. Before that, there had been this talk of this one computer and some information, but the cable gave it sort of validity or vindication. And also the idea that not just cash was going into Afghanistan and directly to Karzai, but also, again, that somehow Iran is also directly funding activities that lead to the deaths of American soldiers. And if you want one building block of an argument for war against Iran, one of the strongest ones is they’re killing our boys. Number two, this recent WikiLeaks, clearly what rose to the top immediately of all these thousands of cables was anything to do with Iran as a threat to the region, to the Middle East. It’s not just an Israeli issue, it’s not just an American issue; it’s all the Arab regimes feel this way; which is another important building block for an argument for an aggressive position against Iran. So let me ask you and I guess it may turn out to be one of the more serious questions of the next few years: how serious is this possibility of an attack with Iran, a war with Iran? And where might that lead?
WILKERSON: I think there is a possibility that we may wind up on the war road with Iran. I think there’s a possibility that when we run out of our rhetoric which is constantly saying the military option is not off the table, when we get to the point where Iran has a nuclear weapon, or at least the latent capability to produce one, maybe even like North Korea has tested one, we are going to have a situation where Israel will take some action–not that she’ll be able to complete it in a successful way, but expecting us to follow her up. And I’m not so sure–in fact, I would be one who would–as a military man, I would predict that we will follow her up. So I could paint you a path down which we would go to eventual war with Iran. I don’t think it’s imminent and I don’t think it’s next week or next year, but I certainly don’t see any diplomatic solution being worked that I think is going to be effective. I don’t think sanctions will be effective. So what’s left? I mean, we’ve said it over and over again that we’re not taking the military option off the table, we’re not taking it off the table, all options are on the table. Well, when you’ve run out of all the rest and it’s very clear to the region, to your allies, to your friends, to the American people that there are no options left, to the Israelis, what do you do then?
JAY: Some people have suggested that right from Cheney on–and Cheney seemed to be–if he’d had his way, perhaps would have started some kind of attack on Iran earlier. There was a time I remember a lot of retired military senior generals were saying this would be crazy to open up a third front, and even some acting generals were saying so. Is there a political force in the United States, known as neo-cons and others, but not, perhaps, just them, [for] who it’s fundamentally more about Iran as a regional power, whether it has a nuclear weapon or not? They just don’t like the fact that in a region of such national interest there’s a player that ain’t under the umbrella.
WILKERSON: There’s that, and then there’s the threat to Israel. And there’s also–.
JAY: What’s the threat to Israel?
WILKERSON: Well, they see it as a threat to Israel because Israel sees it as a threat.
JAY: Because you even see times, you know, heads of Israeli security agencies and others saying, you know, there really isn’t an existential threat here, it’s not like they’re going to come and attack us.
WILKERSON: There has been some informal polling in Israel that reveals, for example, if Iran were to test a nuclear weapon, if it were to become crystal clear to Israelis that Iran has a nuclear weapon, up to a third of Israelis would leave in the next 24 months, most of them probably coming here. That’s a situation that Israeli leadership finds very difficult to deal with.
JAY: Yeah, whether–how real all that is it’s hard to say.
WILKERSON: Well, true.
JAY: I mean, Pakistan has a nuclear weapon, and there’s lots of people in Pakistan that don’t like Israel, but people haven’t left.
WILKERSON: That’s true. I don’t think the same situation exists as exists with Iran, if not just for the fact that it is Iran, but for the fact that their political leadership has put out so much rhetoric about how dangerous Iran is. I mean, sooner or later you’re going to get somebody to believe you. Even in Haifa or Tel-Aviv or whatever, you’re going to get someone who believes you.
JAY: It’s okay.
WILKERSON: (Sorry. I lost my earpiece.) This is a dangerous situation not just from Israel, but from the proximity of forces, too. I mean, we have —
JAY: So my question is: are there American forces, political forces, that are intent–. Like, if you go back to the Iraq scenario, you have this Project for a New American Century, which many of the people who wind up in power around Cheney–.
WILKERSON: Same people. Same people. Same people. All you have to do is just track it on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, and it’s the same people. I’d say we’re probably about 1998 right now with that same group of people vis-Ã -vis Iraq, but now vis-Ã -vis Iran.
JAY: So their–you think their intent, in the same way they wanted regime change in Iran–and as their document actually says, first Iraq and then, I think, Syria or Iran. But they want to get all three of them, they said.
WILKERSON: You bet. If it’s ’98, ’97, we’re six, seven years away from the war.
JAY: Now, one of the people in that group, if I understand it correctly, but I don’t know–I can’t remember if he’s a signatory to the document or not, but he’s clearly ideologically, politically part of the same group, is Senator Kyl, who seems to be running Republican foreign policy, at least in the Senate, right now.
WILKERSON: Doesn’t he?
JAY: So if Kyl kind of represents the same forces Cheney represents and the Republicans apparently are on the ascendancy, what does this mean in terms of where all this might go?
WILKERSON: I’m not sure that the Republicans are on the ascendancy.
JAY: Well, the media’s playing it that way.
WILKERSON: Well, they may be playing it that way. I think the American people are busy trying to figure out who’s where and where do they turn.
JAY: Well, if the Republicans want to make Obama look weak on defense going into 2012, you can’t do it on Iraq and you can’t do it on Afghanistan,–
WILKERSON: Well, that’s his dilemma.
JAY: –but maybe you can do it on Iran.
WILKERSON: That’s one of his dilemmas. He’s been entrapped by his own rhetoric about Afghanistan, for example, being the right war, and so he had to surge there because he was trapped by his own rhetoric plus his generals. He’s trapped with Iraq because we’re not going much lower than we are right now, probably, for some time, and it’s going to be extended and extended and extended. And he’s trapped by the political situation in Iraq, which incidentally is not unfolding too smoothly right now.
JAY: And he’s also got a Republican Party whose real natural ally in Israel is Likud and who’s in power in Israel. And if you had a kind of Likud-Republican pincer movement here–.
WILKERSON: And he’s surrendered to Netanyahu. I mean, President Obama has surrendered to Netanyahu. I like Steve Clemons’ piece today–I believe it was today–where Steve suggested, now you’ve surrendered, but he has abjectly refused your surrender, so now do something really substantive.
JAY: Well, that will be a surprise to see it there on anywhere [sic].
WILKERSON: Well, I hope he does.
JAY: But you get this situation between Likud and the Republicans, this mounting pressure that Iran’s a threat, Iran’s a threat. And now they’ve found their space: here’s where Obama’s weak on defense, which is the traditional card that section of the Republican Party wants to play.
WILKERSON: Right, and this gives him ample opportunity to play. I mean, he’s not moving on Cuba. Why is he not moving on Cuba? That’s a blinding flash of the obvious. That’s a security problem, actually. Our embargo is a security problem for us. It prevents drug cooperation, counter-terrorism. It prevents all sorts of things. Environmental cooperation. But he won’t move on it. Why won’t he move on it? Because he knows Rush Limbaugh and Joe Lieberman and a host of other people, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who’s going to be now the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, they’re going to leap all over him. He’s going to be showing ankle on that issue, national security, which no Democrat dare shows any ankle on.
JAY: Well, one hopes he finds–not just shows ankle, but as people are saying–
WILKERSON: I hope he finds some courage.
JAY: –find some backbone. Yeah.
JAY: We shall see. I mean, it’s not just him; it’s him and an administration. I mean, he represents a whole sector of people here. And, hopefully, all of them see that in their long-term interest, a war with Iran could be rather apocalyptic.
WILKERSON: It could be. And then on the other side of the coin, as a military officer who went through planning for and watched the attacks on Iran by the United States during the re-flagging of Kuwaiti tankers’ operations in the mid ’80s, which was in the middle of the Iran-Iraq War, of course, and saw how quickly after we had conducted Operation Praying Mantis and sunk one of their main warships and hurt another one really bad–she limped back to Bandar Abbas, as I recall. We could have sunk her, too. We didn’t. Iran is not this colossal threat that some people make it to be. We still have considerable military power, and we could do considerable damage to Iran. But I ask the question again: to what purpose? It is not going to prevent them from having a nuclear weapon. In fact, it will probably accelerate their acquisition of a nuclear weapon.
JAY: Thanks for joining us.
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End of Transcript
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