14 Nov

Lawrence Wilkerson Interview, Audio & Transcript– The “Israelization of the USA, CIA lies, and; “It’s not a Coup. It’s Worse!”

Lawrence Wilkerson Interview Transcript– The “Israelization of the USA, CIA lies, and; “It’s not a Coup. It’s Worse!”

By Rob Kall

Transcript of an hour interview with with the bold speaking former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell who is now an a adjunct professor of government at the College of William & Mary.

Lawrence B. “Larry” Wilkerson (born 15 June 1945) is a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson has criticized many aspects of the Iraq War, including his own preparation of Powell’s presentation to the UN.

INTERVIEW with: Lawrence Wilkerson

Part 1 of two parts.

link to audio podcast

Speaker 1/ Rob Kall, Interviewer

Speaker 2/ Lawrence Wilkerson , Interviewee

Thanks to Don Caldarazzo for help editing the transcript.

Rob Kall: And welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show. [reciting Station ID] Sponsored by .

My guest tonight is 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.

Welcome to the show!

Lawrence Wilkerson :

Thanks for having me.

Rob Kall: Now, you ‘ ve got some really unique experience . What I just described is just the tip of the iceberg of all the things you ‘ ve done in your life.

You worked with Colin Powell, not just when he was U.S. Secretary of State , but you were with him as well when he was involved, deeply involved, in the military as well. So that, I assume gave you a great insight into how the military works. Is that right?

Lawrence Wilkerson:

I think that ‘ s a fair ass essment. I was with him at U.S. Forces Command in Atlanta, and then I was with him in the four years that he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff . A nd something a lot of people don ‘ t know, I was also with him after that for about two and a half years as a private consultant when both he and I had left the Armed Forces, but before we joined the State department.

Rob Kall: So I have to ask you this , because when people ask me how I starte d my website ” , ‘ I ha ve a pat answer. I watched Colin Powel l give his U.N. speech, and I said to myself, ” this is B .S. I don ‘ t believe it ! ‘ And that inspired me to start my website.

Now I understand that it didn ‘ t make you very happy either. So I ‘ d I love to hear your perspective on what happened there. And I know you ‘ ve talked about it before, but can you indulge me and talk a bit about it now?

Lawrence Wilkerson:

I think it ‘ s wonderful that there has been a positive development of that presentation , [laughing with Rob] what you ‘ ve just told me. A s I ‘ ve said many times before, it will go down in my history book as the lowest point in my professional and personal life. N ot trying to rationalize or make excuses, but the Secretary of State ha s very little to go on in terms of, depending or not depending on intelligence, other than the advi ce of those at the top of the hundred billion dollar plus [<$100B] now intelligence world. In the case of that presentation, there was George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, and even more importantly and often overlooked, his Dep uty, John McL aughlin, who was an intelligence professional unlike George. George is a politician . He ‘ d worked in intelligence on the hill and elsewhere , but really a politician. John McLaughlin was the quintessential professional, thirty years in the C.I.A.

So these are the two people who are advising Powell, and by extension, me , as we develop this presentation. And I can only say , that after much research, much of it done by my students at both the Honors Program at the George Washington University, and at William and Mary over these past eight years, I ‘ ve come to the conclusion that both of those individuals lied to the Secretary of State of the United States . And that ‘ s ” that ‘ s the ‘ pit ,’ if you will, that ‘ s the ‘ abyss’ explanation. There are other factors at work here, everything from ” G roupthink ‘ psychology to, as one individual said to me, “W e know he ‘ s got weapons of mass destruction. When we get there, we ‘ re find them. It doesn ‘ t make any difference what the details are now, right or wrong. When we get there, we ‘ ll find them! ‘ There was a lot of that, too. So , the thing that worries me most, the thing that, as I said, is the Nadir of all this, is the fact that the D.C.I. and the Deputy D.C.I. clearly lied to the Secretary of State . And to me! ..B cause I was there putting it together for the Secretary of State .

Rob Kall: Now, Cheney was involved in this, too?

Lawrence Wilkerson:

Cheney was, as Shirley Ann Warshaw at Gett ysburg University , has said in her book, ” Co-President ‘ . I would go beyond that and even say that he was President f or many national security issues, especially in that first term before President Bush began to understand what Cheney was doing to him, fired Donald Rumsfeld in November 2006, and began to back away from Cheney. But in those first four years, Cheney made many of the decisions , both domestic and international, that the administration got the blame for or the credit for.

And Cheney was the lead architect of the false intelligence. And whether or not the Vice President , you know, let his, as we say in the military, his rear – end overload his mouth, and really believe that Saddam Hussein had WMD, or he was just flat out lying too. I can ‘ t c rawl in his head and say. I can guess that he sort of had this attitude, ” He ‘ s got them ! He ‘ s mean ! He ‘ s awful ! He ‘ s evil ! And I don ‘ t care what we say to get rid of him. I ‘ ll say anything to get rid of him ! ” That was sort of Dick Cheney ‘ s motto, I think , s o ” F or a professional like me, both military and diplomat ( short time that I had as a diplomat), it ‘ s very disconcerting to know that three hundred plus million people [<300M] can be taken into a bloody and ultimately unsuccessful, and ultimately killing three or four hundred thousand [3-400k] people, war, on such flimsy evidence as that which we presented at New York in February of 2003.

Rob Kall: Are you still friends with Colin Powell? Do you still have a good relationship with him?

Lawrence Wilkerson:

Uh I think it ‘ s fair to say that it ‘ s sort of like Jefferson [Thomas] and Adams [John] , if you ‘ re familiar with that relationship after they fell out? Maybe it ‘ s not quite as bitter , but we don ‘ t talk to each other much anymore.

Rob Kall: Okay. Yeah, i t ‘ s very frightening to think that the C.I.A would lie to the Secretary of State . And , do you think this happens regularly , or often enough, so we ought to be concerned that the C.I.A . cannot be trusted ? That anybody, whether it ‘ s the Vice President or the President, can get the C.I.A. to lie ?

Lawrence Wilkerson:

I think that ”

Rob Kall: Or another major officer?

Lawrence Wilkerson:

I think that should be a profound concern of every American . And let me characterize it for you, I think a little more complexly, and ” but more accurately. It ‘ s not the C.I.A. as an organization that ‘ s lying to the President. Indeed , there were people in the C.I.A. who contested the views that Tenet and McLaughlin were presenting to Secretary Powell and me. There were people we didn ‘ t even know about , who were being h eld in abeyance, as it were, being held back from seeing the Secretary or talking to the Secretary, because they disagreed ( i n some cases they disagreed strongly) with what Tenet and McLaughlin were presenting as ‘T he P osition ‘ . There were even people in the Department of State ‘ s own Intelligence Research Bureau , the intelligence arm of the State Department, who disagreed, particularly on the nuclear weapons program . Which, you may recall, Cheney made a number of statements about being absolutely positive that Saddam Hussein was working on a nuclear weapon. Nothing could have been further from the truth, and yet Cheney said that over, and over again. Dr. Rice said “W e don ‘ t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud ‘ . An d images like that, that were patently false.

Rob Kall: Well, let ‘ s just stop with that, those last two words, ‘ pat ent’ and ‘ false .’ And are you basically saying that Cheney was a liar, or worse ? Can you describe how you look at him in those terms?

Lawrence Wilkerson:

I look at him in the following way. Dick Cheney was not a n eo-Conservative in the sense that we ‘ ve come to know people like Richard Pe rle and Paul Wol fowitz, and Douglas Feith, and others. Dick Cheney was what I would call a n arch, or an ultra, or a hyper ” you pick your ha lf’ – adjective N ationalist. Dick Cheney would d o anything to protect America, including slaughtering half the world if he had to. Dick Cheney was the guy, as Ron

Suskind said, of the “O ne percent [1%] solution. ‘ And what that means in its most graphic terms is that, the Vice President of the United States believe d that if there is a one percent [1%] chance that a terrorist would get through and explode a nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb in an American city , t hat he was going to do anything that he had to do , including torture, including lying, including cheating, anything that he had to do to prevent that. That ‘ s the position ” as extreme as it may sound , that I can understand. I mean, I can ” I don ‘ t hold that position myself, but I can understand it. And that ‘ s what differentiates Cheney, I think, from some of the other minions who were simply carrying out what he directed them to carry out.

Rob Kall: Okay. Let ‘ s talk about Neoco ns and the Project for a New American Century . In terms of today, what do you ” you ‘ ve had some pretty close exposure with it. You brought it up. What ‘ s your take on the N eoCcons in the Obama administration, and in the potential Romney, or as we ‘ re now calling him, ” Bishop Romney, ‘ administration?

Lawrence Wilkerson: Well, the people around Mitt Romney scare me. They look like the same people, in many cases they are the same people, that marched us down the road to this war with Iraq, which I think was the most disastrous decision in post-World War II American history. A s trategic failure, a strategic mistake, of the very first order. The same people around Romney right now , not all of them, but many of them, are fast at work trying to work the same kind of magic, if you will, on the Romney A dministration with regard to war with Iran. It is eerie how similar their tactics are, how similar their ruthlessness in carrying out th ose tactics, i s. Some of the same characters. I mean the recent de- listing, for example, of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, t he so called ” M.E.K. ‘ , the Iranian terrorist group. And that ‘ s exactly what they are, is terrorists. The recent de-listing by Secretary Clinton, while it might have been an understandable act prima fa cie , that is to say , you had to reward them for finally getting out of the camp they were in Iraq, or you ‘ d never get the m out of that camp. It was a completely idiotic and illogical move in every other respect. These people are terrorists, and they will likely become Ahmed Chalabi in the Iraqi National Congress for a march to war against Iran. So we ‘ ve set up the same kind of apparatus. They can feed us false intelligence, they can feed us all this Domesday information about Iran , as Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress fed us at the time about Iraq. So they ‘ re operating off the same sheet of music. It ‘ s eerie . T hey clearly consider the rest of us Luddites, idiots, morons, or whatever, because they haven ‘ t even changed their modus operandi . They ‘ re just pushing the same kind of music to get us to go to war with Iran. And it ‘ s essentially the same people, whether we ‘ re talking Michael Idione , or some of the more influential people, it appears, like John Bolton with Mitt Romney ‘ s camp aign staff .

Rob Kall: Yeah. Bu t wait a second. Now it was Hilary Clinton in the Obama administration, that did authorize the de-listing from the terrorist list , of M.E.K. It wasn ‘ t Romney. So that ‘ s ” so are you saying this is a N eocon move ?

Lawrence Wilkerson:

This is a N eo c on move. And the fact that Clinton went along with it, the President went along with it, ha d more to do with not showing any angle on any national security issue prior to the elections , than it did anything else, politically speaking. Practically speaking, as I said, it had to do with the Secretary ‘ s frustration over not being able to get the M.E.K. to move in Iraq, and the only way she could get them to move was to promise them de-listing.

Rob Kall: Got it!

Lawrence Wilkerson: This is comparable with the move by Zbigniew Brzezinski under the advice of Henry Kissi nger and David Rock efeller in 1979, which Carter reluctantly took and reversed his own decision in his own mind to allow the Shah into the United States for medical treatment. We thought we were just doing something that was practical and expected of us, and in fact what we were doing was causing Americans to be taken hostage, remain hostages for 444 days, and essentially ruining the entire Presidency of Jimmy Carter. These are the kinds of things we do these days. We don ‘ t put ourselves in the other person ‘ s shoes , in this case, Iran ‘ s. And we don ‘ t think what our actions will have as a long term impact from their perspective. We do that constantly . This is another similar act.

Rob Kall: Now when you say ” we ‘ , now it seems to me like the N eocons are thinking through exactly what the consequences and repercussions will be. And they push ; An d then others , leaders who aren ‘ t thinking it through, who don ‘ t have good advisors, are taking action s where they don ‘ t think about the consequences that the N eo c ons are actually looking to produce.

Lawrence Wilkerson: I agree. I agree with that, especially when assessing some of the more insidious of the N eocons. But I also give them credit for having a point of view! Their point of view is much like Israel ‘ s point of view. If you saw the recent piece in Harpers magazine by Colonel Andy Ba cevich at Boston University, you understand what I ‘ m talking about. We are becoming ” Israelized ” in terms of our national security. Israel believes that it has ” ‘P eace’ for Israel is it ‘ s total and utter dominance over everyone and everything that might threaten them. Well, we ‘ ve taken on that same sort of strategic outlook. ” Peace,” for us, is our domination of everyone in the world who might conceivably ever throw a rock at us. This is the N eo c on point of view. And as I said before, I can understand that point of view; I don ‘ t sympathize with it, I don ‘ t share it, b ut it is an explicable point of view ( in their mind s), and from a rational point of view I can say “OK , that was Rome ‘ s purpose. [He what] comes at its most imperial stage , is going to feel that way ‘ . That it needs to keep everyone and anything down in the world that might even potentially threaten it. This is the neo – Conservative position. It is a very understandable position if you believe that we are in the final stages of empire. There are many people, historians and others, who will argue just that.

Rob Kall: I just want to be clear about this. When you say we ‘ re becoming ” Israelized ” in terms of our national security , y ou ‘ re saying that we ‘ re acting like Israel, thinking in terms of the comprehensiveness of our reactions to everything in the world. You ‘ re not talking about how Israel is driving the U.S. because that ‘ s a whole other issue .

Lawrence Wilkerson: No, that

Rob Kall: On impact ”

Lawrence Wilkerson: That ‘ s an entirely other issue, yeah. I ‘ m just speaking to it from the point of view of becoming a N ational S ecurity state , where your raison d ‘ être , your reason for being , is to wage war .

Rob Kall: Okay. So let ‘ s also talk about this other side. The effect that Israel is having on our international policy, and on our security policies.

Lawrence Wilkerson: And ”

Rob Kall: What do you think about that ?

Lawrence Wilkerson: And, let ‘ s add ‘ on Israel ‘ s long term security,’ because what Netanyahu and his minions are doing right now , and what we ‘ re allowing them to do, in going along with, largely, is not conducive to Israel ‘ s long range security. It is in fact conducive to Israel ‘ s destruction. Either through ”

Rob Kall: Right.

Lawrence Wilkerson: ” Y eah, we ‘ re talking about a state that is looking more and more like South Africa . Carter called it an “A partheid State ‘ . And he used the appropriate adjective. A state like that simply cannot survive, not as a Jewish state and a D emocracy. Many would argue that it ‘ s not a D emocracy anymore. This is a state after all that, it was formed by a Socialists. This is a state that was formed largely by atheists, and this is a state that has become captured by the U ltra – Right – Wing Orthodox Jewish element within it, who constitute most of the settlers. This is a state whom one in five of it ‘ s citizens now is a settler. This is a state run by a man who is largely owned by these U ltra – Orthodox people, who, incidentally like the N eocons in this country , want to defeat all their enemies with other peoples ‘ blood. In other words, they don ‘ t serve in the Armed Forces. So there are a lot of similarities between what Israel has become and what we have become. It ‘ s rather ironic, as Andrew points out in his piece , how similar the two situations are. But Israel ‘ s long term security, as I said, is certainly not assured by the policy she ‘ s pursuing right now. In fact, I would argue that her long term security is in great peril because of the policies she ‘ s pursuing right now. And our security, following Israel as if we were her lapdog, is absolutely in jeopardy , particularly in that region of the world, where things are not so hunky – dory right now. Whether you call it the ” Arab awakening ‘ or the ” Arab Spring ‘ , or the ” Arab Winter ‘ , or whatever, things aren ‘ t looking too good for U.S. interests in th e region right now. Israel ‘ s position within that turmoil, and our position supporting Isr ael within that turmoil, is adding to that turmoil. Adding to the number of suicide bombers in the world, for example, who would like to do damage to us . I had a conversation recently with a former CIA operative who ought to know , he spent a lot of time in Western Asia. And he said, ” Larry, you know, before 9/11 there were probably three hundred to five hundred [300-500] people in the world, t hat ‘ s three hundred to five hundred who both wanted to do damage to the United States, and have the capability to do it , and were willing to use terrorism as their tool. ”

Rob Kall: Three hundred to five hundred terrorists ”

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 . 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%” And we will do everything else that we need to do , with Highly Enriched Uranium [HEU] above 5%, say, that for medical isotope s and things like that, that needs to be enriched to a higher rate, say up to 20%, we will buy that from other countries . Furthermore, we will allow the IAEA [ International Atomic Energy Agency ] in with very rigorous, beyond NPT and additional protocol, safety standards, and so forth. Inspection regimes to make sure that we ‘ re living up to our word. We ‘ ll do that, but you ‘ ve got to give us some sanctions relief. That ‘ s our quid pro quo ! That ‘ s obtainable right now! Hell, t he Turks and the Brazilians had it a couple of years ago. The Russians had it a couple three years ago . So the deal is there to be made. We just don ‘ t seem to want to make it. And what I conclude from that , is that when a President says all options are on the table, including the military option, and then says he wants diplomacy to work but forecloses that diplomacy working, then ultimately we ‘ re going to res ort to the military option. Because I don ‘ t see any other way to go , other than backing down. That ‘ s what disturbs me, and that ‘ s what I ‘ m working against, to see if I can ‘ t help prevent our having to go to that military option.

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 b elieve me, I ‘ ve been working on it for five years, some of them don ‘ t even as close as Cuba is, they don ‘ t even know where it is. It’s Cuba! And , I know that the Romney position, and some of the people on the Romney team, even take this position further, is even to the right of George W. Bush . A nd we ‘ re talking about curtailing travel again, we ‘ re talking about enforcing the Helms -Burton Act to the extent that Cubans who live in the S outhern part of , for example, can ‘ t even go home to see their mother when she gets sick. W e ‘ re talking about a real draconian tightening of the embargo of Cuba, or the ” blockade ‘ as the Cubans call it , more appropriately and more accurately. So that ‘ s a policy I also oppose ” a ridiculous, illogical, stupid policy, that ‘ s failed now over fifty years and we still pursue it, that I see this administration, if it becomes a Romney administration, even making worse.

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 !

Rob Kall: Now, Rachel Maddow wrote a book earlier this year called ” Drift ‘ , that was about how the military has gotten so big it ‘ s really out of control, that nobody really can control.

Lawrence Wilkerson:

Excellent book! You may have noted that I commented on the book inside the cover.

Rob Kall: Ah! Okay. No, I didn ‘ t notice that.

Lawrence Wilkerson:

She sent the galleys to me, and I told her , ” e xcellent book ‘ . She ‘ s spot on . S he ‘ s right. I wish she ‘ d gone even deeper into it. It ‘ s something that happens to E mpire almost automatically, and it something that happens to empires that get into fiscal problems, fiscal as in financial and economic, even more often. So , the two things kind of go hand – in – hand. And also if you look at history, and you look at what empires do when this sort of thing happens to them, more often than not, rather than retrench ing and revisiting their polic ies, and cutting back, the y usually just reinforce the failure . And again, as I said, that ‘ s scary, that ‘ s very scary . We do not need to be frittering away our power on the peripheries of our empire, by engaging our military in things like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and so forth.

Rob Kall: Now, as being engaged as you were in the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Colin Powell directed it and you were his assistant, do the Joint Chiefs of Staff have a control over the military? Does anybody?

Interview with Maddow:’Drift’: On Why We Go To War

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