From Charles Feldman and Stan Wilson (CNN, April 3, 2003)
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Former CIA Director James Woolsey said Wednesday the United States is engaged in World War IV, and that it could continue for years.
In the address to a group of college students, Woolsey described the Cold War as the third world war and said "This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War."
Woolsey has been named in news reports as a possible candidate for a key position in the reconstruction of a postwar Iraq.
He said the new war is actually against three enemies: the religious rulers of Iran, the "fascists" of Iraq and Syria, and Islamic extremists like al Qaeda.
Woolsey told the audience of about 300, most of whom are students at the University of California at Los Angeles, that all three enemies have waged war against the United States for several years but the United States has just "finally noticed."
"As we move toward a new Middle East," Woolsey said, "over the years and, I think, over the decades to come ... we will make a lot of people very nervous."
It will be America's backing of democratic movements throughout the Middle East that will bring about this sense of unease, he said.
"Our response should be, 'good!'" Woolsey said.
Singling out Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the leaders of Saudi Arabia, he said, "We want you nervous. We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you -- the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family -- most fear: We're on the side of your own people."
Woolsey, who served as CIA director under President Bill Clinton, was taking part in a "teach-in" at UCLA, a series of such forums at universities across the nation.
A group calling itself "Americans for Victory Over Terrorism" sponsors the teach-ins, and the Bruin Republicans, UCLA's campus Republicans organization, co-sponsored Wednesday night's event.
The group was founded by former Education Secretary William Bennett, who took part in Wednesday's event along with Paul Bremer, a U.S. ambassador during the Reagan administration and the former chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism.
[On April 2, James Woolsey, CIA chief during the first two years of the Clinton Administration, made headlines by telling students at UCLA that the Iraq war was part of "World War IV."]
[Speaking at a teach-in sponsored by campus Republicans and Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, a prowar group founded by William Bennett, Woolsey remarked, "This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War."]
[Woolsey is something of a prophet of war. He also wants to bring a new crusade to the Middle East. And the Pentagon wants him to be part of its team running postwar Iraq.]
by David Corn (The Nation, 04/04/2003)
Toward the start of the second Persian Gulf War, I found myself in a room with R. James Woolsey, CIA chief during the first two years of the Clinton administration. A television was turned on, and we both watched a news report on the latest development in the North Korea nuclear drama. How much longer, I asked him, could this administration wait before dealing with North Korea and its efforts to develop nuclear-weapons material? A little while, but not too long, he said. Until after the Iraq war? Yes, Woolsey said, we can take care of things then. (That was when the prevailing assumption was the war in Iraq would take about as long as a Donald Rumsfeld press conference.) And, I wondered, is this a challenge that can be taken care of with, say, a well-planned and contained bombing raid, one that strikes the nuclear facilities in question? "Oh, no, " he said. "This is going to be war." War, full-out war, with a nation that might already have a few nuclear weapons and that does have 600,000 North Korean soldiers stationed 25 miles from Seoul, with 37,000 US troops in between? "Yes, war." He didn't flinch, didn't bat an eye.
Woolsey is something of a prophet of war. And the Pentagon wants him to be part of its team running postwar Iraq.
On April 2, Woolsey made headlines by telling students at UCLA that the Iraq war was part of "World War IV." Speaking at a teach-in sponsored by campus Republicans and Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, a pro-war-in-Iraq group founded by William Bennett, Woolsey remarked, "This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War." He cited three enemies: the religious leaders of Iran, the "fascists" of Syria and Iraq, and Islamic extremists like Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. He called for the United States to back democratic movements throughout the Middle East, which "will make a lot of people very nervous," particularly Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the Saudi Arabia oligarchs. "We want you nervous," he said. "We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you--the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family--most fear: We're on the side of your own people." In other words: crusade, anyone?
Woolsey's comments won him several minutes on the cable news networks. But a quick check of clips showed that he has been saying the same for months, using the exact same words. For instance, last November, during a speech before an audience assembled by conservative provocateur David Horowitz, Woolsey told the crowd "that we are in World War IV" and "I don't believe this terror war is every really going to go away until we change the face of the Middle East." Given his much-promoted diagnosis and prescription--correct or not--the other Woolsey news-of-the-week seemed even more bizarre than it had originally appeared.
A few days before CNN blared, "Ex-CIA director: US faces 'World War IV," The Washington Post reported that the Pentagon, in concocting its postwar plans, had proposed installing Woolsey as head of Iraq's information ministry. The State Department had derived its own list of former ambassadors and experts to oversee Iraqi governmental agencies once the war ends (presumably with a US victory). The Pentagon didn't fancy State's list--too many midlevel types and bureaucrats. It wanted more prominent Americans in charge and its own guys. The Pentagon nominated Woolsey for the information slot. The White House sensibly said, no way.
Woolsey's bring-it-on desire to confront much of the Arab world aside, whoever in the Pentagon suggested tapping any former CIA head to run any part of a post-Hussein government should be shit-canned. How might this look to Iraqis and the Arab public? Were the Pentagon schemers unaware of the reputation the CIA has in the Arab world and throughout most of the globe? The folks next door in Iran probably still remember well how the CIA supported the brutal secret police of the Shah they booted. And how many Iraqis (and other Arabs) would not believe that Woolsey's appointment was not part of some conspiracy? Moreover, how much credibility would a CIA vet--who headed an agency that occasionally produces covert propaganda--bring to this sensitive position that demands the trust of the public? Answer: none. And placing Americans at the helm of individual ministries might in and of itself stir objections within Iraq and among allies. As Adnan Pachachi, who was foreign minister in the government deposed by Saddam Hussein, told the Financial Times, "It makes no sense for the US to involve itself in the details," "It's not what the Iraqis want and what the international community wants. It's not even what the US's allies want."
That Pentagon officials would even consider placing a CIA man in charge of the Ministry of Truth is evidence their judgment is severely impaired. This was not merely a wacky idea that got floated by some outsider; this was a serious Pentagon proposal that required White House intervention to kill it. A safe bet would be that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz vetted the list that included Woolsey. According to the New York Times, Wolfowitz is controlling the selection process, handpicking his proteges and former officials for the various ministries and earning the sobriquet "Wolfowitz of Arabia." ( The New York Times also noted that "Wolfie's people" are "thought to be particularly fervent about trying to remake Iraq as a beacon of democracy and a country with a tilt toward Israel." The latter mission is a surefire way to win over the Iraqi public and convince Arabs that the United States is in Iraq only to "liberate" its people, not to advance its own strategic interests.) Retired General Jay Garner, the Pentagon-named civilian viceroy who will oversee the de facto cabinet ministries while reporting to General Tommy Franks, must have glanced at the list as well.
What were they thinking? Can these guys be trusted to run postwar Iraq? The problems with Woolsey include not just his CIA past and his present-day advocacy of an all-out showdown in the Middle East. He is also a well-known champion of the Iraqi National Congress, an exile group run by Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi businessman who has been out of the country since 1956 and who was convicted in 1992 of defrauding his own Jordanian bank. (Chalabi claims he was set up.) And Woolsey's law firm, Shea & Gardner, is a registered agent for the INC, though Woolsey says he does not participate in his firm's work on behalf of the group. The INC, a Pentagon favorite, has not been a model of democracy and transparency, angering other exiles in the past for not revealing what it did with the financial assistance it received from the US government. And the State Department and the CIA have not been fans of the INC and Chalabi. Whatever Chalabi's and the INC's flaws, it was misguided (read: dumb) for the Pentagon to ask an American firmly identified with what will be just one faction vying for power in postwar Iraq to run, in essence, the Iraqi media.
Still, Woolsey may end up with a role in the occupation government. The White House vetoed embedding him at the top of the information ministry, but news reports say the Pentagon might assign him another senior position. And what's next? Ken Lay to head up the new Iraqi energy ministry? Trent Lott, the cultural ministry? Richard Perle, the new Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations?
A postwar job for Woolsey the Would-be Conqueror would be unnecessarily provocative. During the occupation, the United States should conduct itself with humility and sensitivity (especially since it seems, once again, to be shoving the United Nations aside). These are not qualities for which the Pentagon is renowned. To many within Iraq and elsewhere, the message conveyed by any Woolsey appointment will be, Washington has sent the CIA to take over Iraq. So why do it? Does Woolsey alone possess the needed skill set? (Which American will be in charge of the new Iraqi intelligence agency?) But credit the Pentagon with loyalty, for it appears to be sticking with one of the most prominent cheerleaders for war in Iraq (and perhaps beyond) and standing by a grand tradition of war. To the victor go the spoils. In this case, no matter how ridiculous or counterproductive that may be.
Copyright © 2003 The Nation
By Patrick J. Buchanan (April 9, 2003)
Tony Blair has assured his countrymen the United States does not intend to attack Syria or Iran. Colin Powell has assured the Muslim world the United States does not intend to attack Syria or Iran. But did the British prime minister or U.S. secretary of state clear their statements with Richard Perle? For the War Party has blood in its nostrils and is headed for Damascus.
Speaking at UCLA, for Americans for Victory over Terrorism, a War Party front, ex-CIA Director James Woolsey declared that this war is about far more than the liberation of Iraq. We are fighting "World War IV," said Woolsey, "a war that will last longer than World Wars I or II. Our enemies are not just al-Qaida, but the religious rulers of Iran and the "fascists" of Iraq and Syria. As we move toward a new Middle East," Woolsey added, "we will make a lot of people very nervous."
Who, exactly? Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
"We want you nervous," said Woolsey to these two erstwhile allies. "We want you to realize that now, for the fourth time in 100 years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family most fear. We're on the side of your own people."
"World War IV" is a term popularized by militant Zionist Norman Podhoretz, who has been shrieking for war on no fewer than six or seven Arab countries. But why should anyone care what Woolsey says? Because James Woolsey is slated for a position of power in the U.S. reconstruction of Iraq. Moreover, Woolsey echoes John Bolton at State and Israel's Ariel Sharon, who has also been howling for the United States to take down Iran and Syria, as soon as Baghdad falls.
This is the neocons' hour of power, and they do not intend to lose this chance to remake the Middle East in their own image. Indeed, before the battle of Baghdad had even begun, the battle over who will rule Iraq was underway.
Tony Blair wants the United Nations to take the lead. But this is a non-starter. Disgust with the U.N. in the United States is universal. Any plan to give the Security Council, where France has a veto, a decisive role in post-Saddam Iraq is dead on arrival. Rightly so. This war, President Bush said, would be fought for vital U.S. interests. And the U.N., with its reflexive hostility to America, cannot be trusted to protect those interests.
But if the United Nations has been ruled out, there remains a question over the composition of the U.S. administration. Heading it up, as of now, will be retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, who headed the relief effort in the Kurdish region after Desert Storm. But Garner has a problem.
In 1998, he took a junket to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, an Israeli lobby. When the intifada erupted in 2000, Garner was one of 26 U.S. military leaders to sign a statement, released by JINSA, parroting the Likud Party line that the violence was all the fault of the Palestinians. Is it wise to have heading up the reconstruction of a humiliated Arab nation a JINSA general vetted by the Israeli Lobby and Ariel Sharon?
Other questions arise: Will James Woolsey, who has declared that U.S. policy is to go after Syria and Iran and destabilize Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have a pivotal role in the administration of Iraq?
Will the Iraqi National Congress, a Perle favorite headed by banker Ahmad Chalabi a fugitive from justice in Jordan, convicted of fraud and embezzlement play a leading role? Or will Iraqis choose their own leaders from their own people who suffered under Saddam? Neither State nor the CIA which severed its ties to the INC when Chalabi could not account for missing covert funds - trusts the man.
America stands on the threshold of military victory. But the fear and loathing of America in the Islamic world is on a scale none of us has ever known. President Bush has an opportunity to alter this harsh and hateful perception. If he will honor his commitment to rebuild an Iraq ruined by dictatorship, sanctions and war, if he will let the Iraqis choose their own leaders, if he will bring American occupation troops home at the earliest possible date, he can give the lie to the myth that America seeks an empire in the Islamic world.
But he must first tell Woolsey, Perle & Co. that he, not they, runs U.S. foreign policy. It is all up to him. Republic or Empire. The president alone will decide.