R: [anthroposophy] Whohlstetter not Strauss, and a guy named Quine - From the horse's mouth
- Tks a lot.
In order to gain a full picture of the events Wolfo is talkin' about from
his own standpoint (. mostly the 9/11 issue) , you should have to read :
"The War on Freedom. How and Why America was attached on 2001 Sept.11" by
N-Mossadeq Ahmed (London 2002).
(Something about it is also on www.copvcia.com )
The author works for the "Institute for Policy research & Development" in
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 8:08 PM
Subject: [anthroposophy] Whohlstetter not Strauss, and a guy named Quine -
From the horse's mouth
> An interview from planet earth about decision-making by human beings, (not
> secret lodge conspirators carrying out occult world plots) doing their
> confronted with decisions that have to be made to prevent western
> as we know it from going down the tube...
> Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview with Sam Tannenhaus, Vanity Fair
> Q: What do you think all the conspiritorial talk is? Do you have any
> in Europe and here? What are people looking at this way?
> Wolfowitz: I think it's pretty obvious and I think it's pretty disgraceful
> but all you can do is ignore it and go on and get the job done.
> Q: What is it? I mean some say anti-Semitism. I guess in Europe that would
> be --
> Wolfowitz: I just said all I'm going to say about it.
> Q: Okay.
> There's a question now as to whether in Iraq itself --
> Wolfowitz: You know it's completely out in the open who holds what views
> this Administration. You couldn't be more transparent about what the
> arguments are. The most significant thing that has produced what is
> admittedly a fairly significant change in American policy is the events of
> September 11th which are going to count as one of the -- If you had to
> the ten most important foreign policy things for the United States over
> last 100 years it would surely rank in the top ten if not number one. It's
> the reason why so much has changed, and people who refuse to look at that,
> for whatever reason, or are unwilling to face up to the implications of
> then go around and look for some nefarious explanation. But it's shameful.
> Q: Since you brought that up let me ask you something related to that.
> looked at the remarkable Defense Policy Guidance of 1992 --
> Wolfowitz: Wait a minute. Did you look at the guidance or did you look at
> the draft that was leaked before I saw it?
> Q: That's a very good point. Actually all I saw were summaries of it. Is
> there a big discrepancy as to what was reported and what was in it?
> Wolfowitz: Yes. In short. At some point I guess it's acquired such a life
> its own I ought to go back and refresh my memory.
> But the way I remember it approximately is as follows. I gave a quite
> substantial briefing to Secretary Cheney and what was then called I guess
> the Defense Resources Board on a post-Cold War defense strategy, the
> of which was to shift from a strategy for being prepared to fight a global
> war, to being focused on two possible regional conflicts. And to downsize
> the U.S. military by some 40 percent.
> That was sort of taken to the President, promulgated in a speech in Aspen
> August 2, 1990, which you may recall happened also to be the day that Iraq
> invaded Kuwait. In fact we had, in that briefing that I gave in May I
> it focused on the Iraqi threat to the Arabian peninsula as one of the
> regional problems we needed to be prepared to deal with. At the time that
> was considered a revolutionary idea. By the time the President gave the
> speech it had already happened. [Laughter]
> Then that general briefing had to be translated into a guidance document
> the department. Some people on my staff wrote a draft. Before I even got
> see the draft someone leaked it to the New York Times, apparently because
> they didn't like it. The New York Times then wrote about the draft.
> If you go back, and you can do this with Lexis/Nexis. If you go back, the
> excerpts from the draft are nowhere near as hysterical as the way the New
> York Times reported it. So people in the first place were reacting to the
> New York Times description of the draft as opposed to the actual text of
> draft which the Times in fact did publish.
> I repeat, it was not a draft that I'd even reviewed yet.
> As I recall, one of the pieces of hysteria was the idea that this is a
> blueprint for a massive increase in U.S. defense spending, when in fact it
> was a blueprint for a 40 percent reduction in U.S. defense spending. It
> on from there.
> When we did a revised draft that in fact I had reviewed carefully, the
> Department initially didn't want us to put it out, I think because it was
> little too much. Well, I don't know why. They didn't want us to put it
> I don't want to speculate on motives. But in January of 1993 as we were
> about to leave, I said to Cheney don't you think we should publish it? And
> he said yes, we should. So it's available in the full text as the Regional
> Defense Strategy of January, 1993.
> I know people say oh well, they just sanded off the corners because the
> thing received such an adverse reaction. But the truth of the matter is
> the Times was writing about was something that I'd never seen. What is
> published, while I will admit some of the corners are rounded off on it,
> reflects my views.
> Q: What did you make of the reaction at the time? You were an important
> public official then, but you weren't particularly visible. And I looked
> the Times -- That was the right hand column front page story on the same
> day, by the way, that the Whitewater story broke in the paper, March 8,
> And of course there were Democratic primaries coming up, Super Tuesday.
> this your first taste of what the media will do to you when they think
> have a story? Or were you schooled in that before?
> Wolfowitz: I've run into it before. If the media had more of a right wing
> bias I would have run into it in a major way with the Philippine policy.
> had a few shots at us from the conservative press that we were undermining
> Reagan's good friend Ferdinand Marcos. No, I've been shot at from both
> I think the first time was over the Team B exercise back in 1976.
> Q: Oh, that's right.
> Wolfowitz: It seems to go with the territory.
> Q: And there again you'd written a fairly straightforward account, wasn't
> of intermediate missiles or something?
> Wolfowitz: That's right. Which turned out to be, I wouldn't say prophetic,
> but it was prescient. It was completely borne out by what came
> but it was again -- I don't know whether people caricature it in order to
> discredit it, or they caricature it because they don't understand it. Or
> maybe some of both.
> But the way I would put it in terms of the '92 document and briefings is
> that, you have to remember, the Cold War had ended. There were a lot of
> people who said we don't need any of these Cold War alliances any more. We
> don't need NATO any more. Then President Bush was asked why do you need
> now that the threat's gone away? He said the threat's still there. They
> what is it? He said the threat's uncertainty, and people sort of laughed
> Well, it's not a bad description for what's happened in the Balkans in the
> intervening period. And what we were basically arguing in that document is
> that while we can manage with a substantially reduced U.S. defense force,
> for a lot of people to retain 60 percent of it in those alliance
> commitments, they somehow, I guess, thought we could go to complete
> disarmament or something. I'm not sure what their model was.
> In fact the New York Times specifically had this absurd line, I remember,
> that we had abandoned 50 years of reliance on the doctrine of collective
> security, I think. I'd have to go back and get the quote. But basically
> as though for 50 years we'd been relying on the United Nations and this
> document was going to undo it, as opposed to for 50 years we'd relied on
> NATO and our alliances in Northeast Asia and this document was trying to
> support them.
> I remember at the time that a couple of Democratic senators -- It's easy
> recover them. You just go and look in Pat Buchanan's book -- sort of
> hysterical about this grand plan for continuing and maybe even expanding
> American commitments. Because we did, in a sense one of the more radical
> things in there was, if I can use an awful phrase, the adumbration of NATO
> enlargement. We weren't quite so bold as to say it but we were hinting at
> it. There was some discussion about, in a complementary document that was
> also leaked, about whether the United States could honor a defense
> commitment to Lithuania if we had one. This was considered wildly
> and various Democratic senators attacked us.
> Pat Buchanan's "Republic Not an Empire" book spends its first chapter
> attacking the so-called Wolfowitz Memorandum.
> Q: Right, I know that book.
> Wolfowitz: And he laments the fact that these same Democratic senators who
> were attacking--in his view, appropriately attacking--the Wolfowitz
> Memorandum, had climbed on board the whole policy when it became Clinton's
> policy in the mid 1990s. He's correct in saying that what was considered
> the New York Times to be such an outrageous document was U.S. consensus
> foreign policy, but during the Clinton Administration, not in this
> Administration. That is that these alliances needed to be retained, that
> NATO could be enlarged successfully, that we could downsize our military
> we needed to retain a capability to deal with two major regional
> which, by the way, is something that needed revision by the time I got
> here. But it was the defense policy of the Clinton years, ironically.
> Q: In fact John Louis Gaddis said that.
> Wolfowitz: Who?
> Q: John Louis Gaddis has said that, that if you look at Clinton's policy
> actually does come out of the '92 guidance to some extent.
> Wolfowitz: Not to some extent. It's pretty much verbatim.
> Q: But you're --
> Wolfowitz: -- without acknowledgement.
> Q: Except you have been skeptical about Clinton's, the sentimental
> liberalism in his ideas, his approach to foreign policy, right?
> Wolfowitz: Well, yes but let's remember that -- I think they made a
> over-reach in Somalia when they went beyond just ending starvation and
> to do nationbuilding. I think Haiti was a waste of American effort. I
> as we've learned, the North Korea Framework Agreement was delusional. But
> two of the key things they did, namely Bosnia and Kosovo, Bob Dole
> Clinton quite strongly and I would say courageously on Bosnia and I'm
> to claim some credit in having advised --
> Q: You did too.
> Wolfowitz: I did too, but I also was there when Dole was being pushed by
> some of his Republican colleagues to go after Clinton saying this would be
> catastrophe. I said no it won't be, and moreover, it's the right thing to
> If they had dropped the arms embargo on the Bosnians as they promised to
> when they came into office it might not have been necessary to still have
> thousands of foreign troops in Bosnia. But by the time you got to it in
> it was the only alternative.
> And similarly, on Kosovo, when Bush was deciding whether to support it or
> not, I was strongly urging him to do so. When some Republicans tried to
> undercut Clinton on Kosovo, it was Bush and McCain together who told them
> don't do that. It's wrong.
> So it's not that everything they did was wrong, but I think things like
> Haiti and Somalia were over-reached and generally there was, I think, a
> difficulty in distinguishing what was American interest from what were
> of vaguely seen as international community preferences. But I'm not a
> unilateralist by any means. In fact I don't think you can get much done in
> this world if you do it alone.
> Q: Do you think there was a reluctance on their part even to use the
> of force? To make force an option in the way that it's now become -- I
> about North Korea, Syria and Iran, and actually --
> Wolfowitz: And Iraq.
> Q: And Iraq. When I think about it, these other three that have now been
> brought up, being discussed, have actually been very kind of multinational
> and diplomatic and yet it's partly the threat of force that seems to
> strengthen the approach, doesn't it?
> Wolfowitz: There's no question that in certain -- First of all, diplomacy
> that it's just words is rarely going to get you much unless you're dealing
> with people who basically share your values and your interests. I'm not
> against, I mean sometimes it does help to just have a better
> But if you're talking about trying to move people to something that
> not inclined to do, then you've got to have leverage and one piece of
> leverage is the ultimate threat of force. It's something you need to be
> careful about because, as Rumsfeld likes to say, don't cock unless you're
> prepared to throw it.
> By the way I think there was a tendency to cock it too often with Kosovo.
> you go back and look at the year and a half or so leading up to when we
> finally did use force there were so many empty threats issued that
> clearly concluded, ultimately wrongly, that we weren't serious.
> So I think yeah, I think the threat of force is one of the instruments of
> diplomacy, but it's one that needs to be used carefully.
> I'm going to have to break here for a few minutes and we'll try to get
> to you soon.
> Q: Thanks so much. Goodbye.
> [Session Two, Saturday, May 10, 2003]
> Wolfowitz: Hello.
> Q: How are you doing?
> Wolfowitz: Pretty good. How are you?
> Q: Okay. I will try to make this painless. It reminds me of an interview I
> read with Philip Ross once in the Times and he said what a day. First the
> dentist, now a journalist. [Laughter]
> Wolfowitz: The dentist was easy, so I hope you can stay below his
> You're kind of faint.
> Q: I was telling Kevin, I have a headset and I type as we speak, which is
> one reason I'll want to see the transcript just so I don't make errors.
> reliable, but I'm not a letter-perfect typist and I won't always be able
> keep up with you.
> Can you hear me okay now?
> Wolfowitz: Pretty well. It's okay.
> Q: This is a feature magazine and people want to know a little about you
> let me just lead you through a few questions there.
> One is, where were you on September 11th? Were you at the Pentagon when --
> Wolfowitz: I was in my office. We'd just had a breakfast with some
> congressmen in which one of the subjects had been missile defense. And we
> commented to them that based on what Rumsfeld and I had both seen and
> on the Ballistic Missile Threat Commission, that we were probably in for
> some nasty surprises over the next ten years.
> Q: Oh, my gosh.
> Wolfowitz: I can't remember, then there was the sort of question of what
> kind of nasty surprises? I don't remember exactly which ones we came up
> with. The point was more just that it's in the nature of surprise that you
> can't predict what it's going to be.
> Q: Do you remember then the impact of the plane into the Pentagon? Or had
> you first heard stories about New York? What was --
> Wolfowitz: We were having a meeting in my office. Someone said a plane had
> hit the World Trade Center. Then we turned on the television and we
> seeing the shots of the second plane hitting, and this is the way I
> it. It's a little fuzzy.
> Q: Right.
> Wolfowitz: There didn't seem to be much to do about it immediately and we
> went on with whatever the meeting was. Then the whole building shook. I
> to confess my first reaction was an earthquake. I didn't put the two
> together in my mind. Rumsfeld did instantly.
> Q: Did he really?
> Wolfowitz: Yeah. He went charging out and down to the site where the plane
> had hit, which is what I would have done if I'd had my wits about me,
> may or may not have been a smart thing to do. But it was, instead the next
> thing we heard was that there'd been a bomb and the building had to be
> evacuated. Everyone started streaming out of the building in a quite
> way. Congregated on the parade ground basically right in front of the
> Pentagon which would have been about the worst place to have a crowd of a
> couple of thousand people in that moment if we'd again had our wits about
> us. But we were out of the building anyway.
> Q: Let me ask you then about the next couple of days. There is --
> Wolfowitz: Just to complete it. We went back into the building and that
> an experience I won't ever forget. There was a huge fire, there was smoke
> gradually filling -- not all, just the small number of us who were
> in the command group. Rumsfeld was there and General Myers who was still
> Vice Chairman at that point. The Chairman was on his way back from
> and I was there. We were in the National Military Command Center and there
> was this acrid smoke gradually seeping into the place. Rumsfeld simply
> refused to leave. He finally made me leave, which I was not happy about.
> I went up to this bizarre location that was prepared to survive nuclear
> Q: Really?
> Wolfowitz: Yes.
> Q: In the Pentagon.
> Wolfowitz: No, no. Way out of town.
> Kellems: That's why he left, was to separate them.
> Q: I see.
> Kellems: To provide continuity.
> Q: And then in the next few days, then there was the statement which now
> looks remarkably [prescient] when you said this is a campaign. At that
> point, I think it was the 13th, at that point was Iraq sort of moving into
> the scope, under the radar screen? What was your thinking at that point?
> Wolfowitz: I know my thinking at that point was that the old approach to
> terrorism was not acceptable any longer. The old approach being you treat
> as a law enforcement problem rather than a national security problem. You
> pursue terrorists after they've done things and bring them to justice, and
> to the extent states are perhaps involved, you retaliate against them but
> you don't really expect to get them out of the business of supporting
> terrorism completely.
> To me what September 11th meant was that we just couldn't live with
> terrorism any longer.
> Throughout the '80s and '90s it was sort of, I've never found quite the
> right words because necessary evil doesn't describe it, but a sort of an
> evil that you could manage but you couldn't eliminate. And I think what
> September 11th to me said was this is just the beginning of what these
> bastards can do if they start getting access to so-called modern weapons,
> and that it's not something you can live with any longer. So there needs
> be a campaign, a strategy, a long-term effort, to root out these networks
> and to get governments out of the business of supporting them. But that
> wasn't something that was going to happen overnight.
> Q: Right. So Iraq naturally came to the top of the list because of its
> history and the weapons of mass terror and all the rest, is that right?
> Wolfowitz: Yes, plus the fact which seems to go unremarked in most places,
> that Saddam Hussein was the only international figure other than Osama bin
> Laden who praised the attacks of September 11th.
> Q: So now there is the much-reported, I just want to make sure I get it
> right, famous meeting at --
> It's been reported in a couple of different ways, and I'd like to get it
> your words if I can, the famous meetings that first weekend in Camp David
> where the question of Iraq came up. I believe the President heard you
> discussing Iraq and asked you to elaborate on it or speak more about it.
> you give us a little sense of what that was like?
> Wolfowitz: Yeah. There was a long discussion during the day about what
> if any Iraq should have in a counterterrorist strategy. On the surface of
> the debate it at least appeared to be about not whether but when. There
> seemed to be a kind of agreement that yes it should be, but the
> was whether it should be in the immediate response or whether you should
> concentrate simply on Afghanistan first.
> There was a sort of undertow in that discussion I think that was, the real
> issue was whether Iraq should be part of the strategy at all and whether
> should have this large strategic objective which is getting governments
> of the business of supporting terrorism, or whether we should simply go
> after bin Laden and al Qaeda.
> To the extent it was a debate about tactics and timing, the President
> clearly came down on the side of Afghanistan first. To the extent it was a
> debate about strategy and what the larger goal was, it is at least clear
> with 20/20 hindsight that the President came down on the side of the
> Q: Believe it or not, because this is a feature magazine, I'd like to ask
> you a little bit about your background. None of this is going to be
> personal. I know that you protect the privacy of your family so this has
> really nothing to do with that.
> First of all, the question of ideas. That is, is there anything at all, we
> talked about this a little off the record, is there anything at all to the
> Straussian Connection?
> Wolfowitz: It's a product of fevered minds who seem incapable of
> understanding that September 11th changed a lot of things and changed the
> way we need to approach the world. Since they refused to confront that,
> looked for some kind of conspiracy theory to explain it.
> I mean I took two terrific courses from Leo Strauss as a graduate student.
> One was on Montesquieu's spirit of the laws, which did help me understand
> our Constitution better. And one was on Plato's laws. The idea that this
> anything to do with U.S. foreign policy is just laughable.
> Q: There is something kind of humorous in it because a few weeks ago all
> heard was he's been the kind of cowboy, rampaging around the globe looking
> for evildoers. And now he seems to be in the vehicle of erudite
> This is very helpful.
> Wolfowitz: It sort of calls to mind the joke about the President and the
> Pope are on a boat, and the Pope's hat blows off. The President says, no,
> I'll get it for you and walks across the top of the waves, picks up the
> and walks back across the top of the waves, hands the hat to the Pope and
> the next day the headlines are, "President Bush can't swim." [Laughter]
> Q: Let me ask about one other [inaudible], and that's Albert Wohlstetter.
> couple of people, believe me, who are not [inaudible] at all, say that
> Wohlstetter was a far-sighted military strategist whose notions have been
> about low yield nuclear weapons that we're hearing about today, and
> different ways of fighting wars. It doesn't have to be an all or nothing,
> zero sum, no mutually assured destruction. Are there any notions like that
> on where the military is today or how you look at --
> Wolfowitz: Wohlstetter is a much more relevant figure and it's interesting
> too, by the way, that the same fellow who, or one of the same fellows who
> discovered the Straussian Conspiracy kind of throws Wohlstetter in as a
> Straussian when Wohlstetter was actually philosophically a student of
> Q: The analytical --
> Wolfowitz: Exactly. If there was anything anathema to Leo Strauss it was
> analytical philosophy.
> Q: I bet.
> Wolfowitz: And Wohlstetter was somebody who really just almost painfully
> resisted being labeled even as to political party. He was so insistent on
> ascertaining the facts. He had a very fact-based approach to policy. It's
> very impressive. And indeed, I was his student and often identified as
> and it occasionally troubled me just a little bit that I thought, well,
> maybe he was also associated with these sort of cold-blooded systems
> analysts who kind of seemed to leave the moral piece of politics and
> strategy as though it wasn't part of the equation.
> It was terrifically gratifying to me as I got to know him better, to
> that there were intensely moral considerations in the way he approached
> these issues. Most dramatically in his deep concern about the fate of
> in his late years.
> But to come back to sort of more concretely, I mean here's something that
> think is quite important, quite relevant. Albert Wohlstetter was one of
> first people, most influential people, to understand what a dramatic
> difference it would make to have accurate weapons. And that in particular
> what he was really interested in was the ability, two things. Number one,
> be able to use conventional weapons in ways that people, that only nuclear
> weapons could be used, to be able to get out of the nuclear mindset kind
> But secondly and importantly, to be able to avoid unnecessary loss of
> innocent life in war. And in fact there's a fairly seminal document that
> done under Fred Ikle when he was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
> called Discriminate Deterrence which may be interesting to know if you can
> find it on the internet. As I recall, even at the time, the State
> didn't like it because for some reason or other it offended some of our
> Q: Was that when you were working --
> Wolfowitz: No, no. I was actually doing East Asia policy at the time. I
> can't claim any credit for it.
> Q: This was in the '80s then.
> Wolfowitz: Yes, mid '80s. '84 or '86, I don't remember which.
> But going back much earlier, Albert, starting in '73 or '74 put together
> something called the New Alternative Workshop or New Alternative Panel. I
> think it was Workshop. To look at the implications of new technology. But
> the ones that interested him the most were the ones that promised great
> improvements in accuracy. And as a result he was the first intellectual
> figure to recognize that the Tomahawk cruise missile which was being
> developed by the Navy primarily as a nuclear delivery system, was much
> significant as a conventional delivery system because it could give you
> accurate weapons with ranges of what we have now, 600 miles or more.
> If it hadn't been for Albert, I believe the Tomahawk cruise missile would
> have been traded away in the SALT II talks in 1976. But what happened --
> I getting into too much historical detail?
> Q: No, this is fascinating.
> Wolfowitz: What happened was the Ford Administration at the time was
> very hard to get a SALT II agreement based on the agreement in principle
> that emerged in Vladivostok. The Soviets were basically saying they would
> only make an agreement if we banned all cruise missiles at ranges greater
> than 600 kilometers which would have included the Tomahawk. The Navy,
> frankly, was quite happy to give it up because they'd only built it in
> measure at Kissinger's urging earlier on, when Kissinger wanted some
> delivery system he could use as bargaining material in the SALT talks and
> far as they were concerned, it was just an unnecessary burden to be
> by attack submarines that had only limited torpedo space.
> It was Albert and his group who said wait a minute, if you can have a
> conventional delivery system it's worth the torpedo space, I mean an
> accurate conventional delivery system, and the way I understood the
> but I'm sure there are slightly different versions of this, he and I
> persuaded Fred Ikle who was then the Director of ACDA that we should
> giving up the tomahawk on arms control grounds because it had the
> to substitute conventional for nuclear weapons and that was a good thing
> from the point of view of arms control.
> The Secretary of Defense at the time who was somebody named Rumsfeld, by
> whatever means he came to it, concluded it was not something he wanted to
> give up even if the Navy brass were prepared to. As a result it was not
> of used as a bargaining chip in those negotiations, although I think
> those two individuals it probably would have been.
> So it was a matter of considerable personal satisfaction to watch those
> missiles turning right angle corners in the Gulf War in 1991 and
> demonstrating that this stuff really could do what Albert Wohlstetter had
> envisioned 15 years before it might be able to do.
> It's also an interesting case I think, without wanting to suggest that
> there's anything unintelligent about the military, it's too easy to
> misinterpret this comment. I mean there are very smart people trying very
> hard to do the right thing, but what's involved here is a tradeoff between
> very expensive system that might some day be accurate, against things that
> are available here and now and that are much cheaper, and they may not be
> accurate but they seem to "do the job".
> It's been true also of things like global positioning systems and the
> the accurate GPS bombs that were used so heavily in the last war. The last
> two wars. It took a certain amount of pressure from the Congress to get
> Air Force and the other services to invest adequately in those systems
> because a certain skepticism about the promise of briefing charts versus
> reality of the here and now, and I think it was -- It's somewhat, I'm
> way too far off on this. But if you wanted to understand Albert
> you've got to understand how somebody can perceive that a seemingly cold
> technical fact like this fact about accuracy translates into a whole
> transformation of strategy and politics.
> That had a similar impact in the 1950s when he was asked to look at, by
> Air Force, at what's the most cost-effective way to base our bomber force
> and came out of that with the observation which is like a blinding flash
> the obvious but no one had noticed it before then, that the real issue
> what's cost effective, the real issue is how do you build a bomber force
> that's not vulnerable to a first strike by the other side?
> Q: That was seminal.
> Wolfowitz: Absolutely seminal. And it derived not from reading Plato,
> believe me. Nor did it derive from any ideological prejudices whatsoever.
> derived from saying here's the problem, look at it factually, see what the
> questions are that emerged from the thing itself so to speak -- inductive
> rather than deductive -- and I suppose that's the difference between
> ideological thinking and pragmatic thinking.
> Q: Is that true for your own approach as well?
> Wolfowitz: Well, it turns out he was a mixture and I think I'm a mixture.
> People ask me how do you characterize yourself. I guess the closest I can
> come to saying it is I think I'm a practical idealist. I mean I don't like
> the caricature Wilsonian view that says we're going to impose something on
> the world regardless of whether it can take in the real world. But I also
> don't like the sort of, the kind of pragmatism -- I consider myself
> pragmatic but I don't like the kind of pragmatism that sort of stares at
> people who hold principles very strongly and think that it's all just a
> matter of doing business and being sensible.
> Q: Which leads me to the last couple of questions --
> Wolfowitz: I remember once when the President in the middle of a
> about a particular country said just how brutal are its leaders. I thought
> it was an incredibly perceptive question and it's too often left out of
> equation as a sort of pragmatic view that you've got to deal with them as
> the leaders of country X and you shouldn't inquire too deeply into what
> of people they are. I think you do have to deal with all kinds of dubious
> characters in the world in order to accomplish the national security
> objectives of the country.
> But it's really important to keep in mind what this country is about. It's
> lot more than just physical security or economic health.
> Q: Does that also raise a question then if you're looking at leader who
> truly is brutal, [inaudible], raising that question, and also maybe
> who doesn't necessarily think the way you do. I know Wohlstetter had this
> phrase, I think he called it Western preferred Soviet strategy.
> Wolfowitz: Exactly. It's probably the second greatest source of
> error is mirror imaging. I mean I think the greatest mistake is assuming
> that people will behave, well it's a version of mirror imaging, I guess.
> People will be rational according to our definition of what is rational.
> Q: Right.
> Wolfowitz: I guess they really are the same thing.
> Q: I'm sorry. What's the first one?
> Wolfowitz: The first one is that people will, the kind of mistake that in
> sense I think we made implicitly in assuming that anyone who was
> enough to fly an airplane wouldn't commit suicide with it. Or the mistake
> that Saddam Hussein made of thinking that -- Let me back up. I guess I'm
> getting --
> The mistake that Saddam made was in assuming that we would behave in a
> certain way, i.e. we would never go to war until we'd had six weeks of
> bombing first. That's a sort of classic intelligence failure, to have a
> certain expectation and then see all the evidence in light of that
> Hitler made the same mistake in assuming that of course we'd attack in
> Calais, so we achieved one of history's great deceptions by reinforcing
> conviction of his. But the sort of second and related source is mirror
> imaging. Those are not examples of mirror imaging. In fact Saddam was
> assuming that we were too weak to go in on the ground, unlike his tough
> macho approach to life. But mirror imaging I think is another major source
> of error.
> What was that phrase, U.S. preferred Soviet --
> Q: I think it's Western preferred Soviet strategy, which is kind of an
> ingeniously [compressed] phrase.
> Wolfowitz: That's typical Albert, yeah.
> Q: And of course that was part of his approach to the Cold War as well.
> also the sort of standard, now we are getting off the track but it is
> interesting, that the sort of standard arms negotiation which entails that
> we should sort of remove options from our side of the table actually kind
> limited our ability to have choices and to maybe even win the Cold War,
> Wolfowitz: I think that's right, but I'd rather you not put those words --
> Q: No, I wouldn't put them in your mouth.
> Wolfowitz: It's too complicated a subject to --
> Q: I was just curious to see what you had to say about that.
> Wolfowitz: I think if one dug into it that's not a bad characterization.
> Q: Then, and this is about as personal as I'm going to get, your father
> at distinguished mathematician. You studied math and I think chemistry at
> Cornell. Were you interested in politics all along? I know you were in
> Washington I believe in '63 when Dr. King made his great speech.
> Wolfowitz: '64 I think it was.
> Q: I think it was '63, but --
> Wolfowitz: Whichever year it was, the "I have a dream" speech.
> Q: Right. And you were there. You were interested in politics and also
> questions of social justice and democracy? How did all this happen for
> someone who was kind of a science guy?
> Wolfowitz: I think my father deserves a large part of the blame or
> it is. It's a funny thing because he really did think that the ultimate
> thing in life was to be a mathematician or a theoretical physicist.
> a certain snobbery about mathematicians and theoretical physics, in some
> ways a branch of mathematics almost that is well known among scientists at
> I was good at math but I kept feeling it was too abstract and I thought
> maybe if I could work on a cure for cancer I'd be more fully satisfied
> is why I sort of headed into the chemistry major. I was actually accepted
> for a PhD at MIT which I was going to do in biophysical chemistry, but I
> also, I think unbeknownst to my father. I don't remember now, applied
> I'm not saying it was -- There's no deep, dark secret here. I had applied
> Chicago for political science. And what I remember is the decisive moment
> was when I had to decide with respect to Harvard, was I going to apply for
> government or chemistry. And I finally came out realizing that I wanted to
> do government, applied to Harvard in government, and told my father and
> my chemistry professors that I had looked at the MIT catalog and I had
> already completed the first two years of graduate course requirements in
> chemistry so I could afford to take a year and experiment with political
> They all saw through it and they basically said you don't understand son,
> the real stars have already completed three years of graduate course work
> chemistry. That wasn't really the point. The point was they knew I was --
> you're serious about hard science you don't go off and experiment for a
> with something as soft as political science.
> Q: You applied to Harvard as well?
> Wolfowitz: Yeah.
> Q: You were admitted everywhere?
> Wolfowitz: Yeah. They just loved having mathematicians, it was sort of
> But to go back to why -- He was one of these scientists, and there are
> -- I don't know whether it's many. I think largely because of the
> of World War II and also because -- Well, he read the New York Times every
> day as though the future of the world depended on his reading the New York
> Times. And he had an absolutely passionate interest in politics and
> read a lot of history, knew a lot of history, and I can't help thinking
> that's where I got the bug from at a fairly young age.
> I remember when I was in high school, ninth grade, I'd been looking for
> Paton's "Cry the Beloved Country" in English, and we arrived on what was
> going to be a long three or four months in Europe, arrived in France and
> there it was in French on a book stand. I'd had one year of high school
> French and not a very good year at that. But I picked it up and I sort of
> struggled my way through it with a dictionary. And it was partly because I
> wanted to learn French, but it's also because that sort of, I don't know
> you know "Cry the Beloved Country" --
> Q: Oh, yeah, I know the novel. It's a tremendous important novel in that
> era, late '50s, early '60s.
> Wolfowitz: It really was, and it was sort of gripping from a political,
> moral point of view. Those are the kinds of things I tended to read a lot
> of. George Orwell. Books about the Holocaust unfortunately. John Hersey's
> Q: Did you look at --
> Wolfowitz: I did not -- See, this was my big recognition my senior year in
> college was that when I had spare time I read politics and history and
> my fellow math majors had spare time they did extra math problems. I
> realized there was a message there.
> To be really good at something you need to do more than just do well in
> coursework. You need to be consumed by it.
> Q: And just to get this straight, the Allen Bloom connection. You've now
> entered literary history because a Nobel Laureate has fictionalized,
> referenced you at least.
> Wolfowitz: It's half of one paragraph, which again -- [Laughter]
> Q: Well, it's irresistible for journalists. Because there he is, the great
> American novelist and you are a very important figure and you're in his
> novel, and if it [inaudible], it's hard not to use --
> Wolfowitz: By the way, that conversation never happened. That particular
> Q: It didn't make sense. He was fabricating then.
> Wolfowitz: He was sort of -- He wasn't fabricating the fact that Bloom
> to talk to any students of his who were in government, and even though I
> wasn't his closest student I was probably one at the highest level in
> government so it gave him the most bragging rights. And I'm sure that
> time we had a conversation, judging from the way Bellow describes it and I
> would have expected it. He sort of -- He had a way of seeing everyone as
> larger than life. Almost everyone he dealt with was a figure from a
> dialogue almost. In a way it's -- The way of looking at the world that was
> eye-opening in a certain sense, maybe the story -- [Laughter] Anyway, I'm
> sure that whatever things were exchanged were exaggerated.
> The thing I was grateful to Bellow for was noting very clearly that nobody
> would ever have told Bloom anything that was classified because he
> be trusted with a secret.
> Q: That's right. He was very clear about that. He said in fact that
> [inaudible] doesn't tell him anything that you don't want to appear in
> tomorrow's press. [Laughter]
> Did you take several courses with Bloom?
> Wolfowitz: I actually only took one course with Bloom but he was a
> faculty member of the place where I was living.
> Q: That was Teluride?
> Wolfowitz: Yeah.
> Q: And is it true that, Bellow actually had I think, [inaudible] faculty
> actually warning your father against Bloom. Is that something [inaudible]
> that point?
> Wolfowitz: I think it's a composite of various Bloom students. I don't
> -- Certainly the way it's put there is not my father, and my father was
> a business professor. In fact my father was actually one of the leading
> figures in mathematical statistics and, even though Bloom didn't have a
> as to what the whole subject was, he knew that my father was something
> more than a, however it's described in there.
> Q: Right.
> Wolfowitz: In fact I remember he was in some awe of my father because he
> would do his work pacing the large quadrangle of the Arts and Sciences
> College at Cornell, lost in pure thought, without a pencil or paper, and
> working, and I think it's a fairly rare phenomenon --
> Q: This is your father who did that?
> Wolfowitz: Yeah.
> Q: He would think it through --
> Wolfowitz: He would be thinking about math problems in his head. On the
> hand Bloom was somewhat disdainful of hard science in general because it
> left out the philosophical dimension, but on the other hand I think he was
> in some awe of, he believed in the life of the mind and theory and all of
> that, that somebody could actually be thinking through fundamental
> simply in his head.
> Q: This is great.
> Wolfowitz: So it's a kind of a mixture. When I read that particular
> paragraph I could have --
> Wolfowitz: -- that I had never sort of really seen before. I mean there
> a bravery about the guy which included his facing death the way he did I
> think that's pretty remarkable. I mean I'm not saying I didn't see it
> before, but I saw it more clearly.
> There's an uglier side that I don't want to get into here, but it is sort
> glossed over.
> Q: It's fair to say you're not a disciple of Allen Bloom. We can say that.
> You studied with him.
> Wolfowitz: And I didn't even study a great deal with him. He had a lot to
> with my coming to appreciate that the study of politics could be a serious
> business even though it wasn't science in the sense that I understood
> science to be. That was an important eye-opener. But I never, for better
> for worse, took the political theory either way most of his other students
> Q: Did he know Wohlstetter? Bloom had studied with Strauss at Chicago
> Wolfowitz: No, it was kind of an interesting accident. In trying to choose
> between Harvard and Chicago, Harvard seemed to have the advantages of a
> stronger international relations department and Chicago had the advantage
> a much stronger political theory department. Even though I thought
> international relations was what I wanted to do, I have more confidence in
> my ability to sort of learn that without a lot of help, and I thought -- I
> mean Strauss really is quite a remarkable figure. That doesn't make me an
> acolyte but he really is pretty remarkable. I thought well here's a chance
> you shouldn't pass up.
> Q: So you knew who he was.
> Wolfowitz: Yes, I certainly knew who he was. And one of my professors at
> Cornell said, and by the way there's this guy Albert Wohlstetter who's
> moving to Chicago from Rand and you and he would probably get along very
> well. I'd never heard of the man, if that tells you something about how
> unconnected I was to the field. This was 1965.
> I arrive in Chicago. The first student/faculty tea I'm introduced to
> Wohlstetter and he said, "Oh, are you related to Jack Wolfowitz?" I said
> a matter of fact that's my father. He said I studied mathematics with him
> and Abraham Wald at Columbia. Then he said, what's your --
> Q: They were collaborators, weren't they? Your father and Wald?
> Wolfowitz: Yeah. My father was Walds' student and then his principal
> collaborator until Wald died in an airplane accident in India at too young
> an age.
> But then when Albert discovered I was a math major he immediately glommed
> onto me. I was his dream of -- His approach to issues was very technical
> very technologically oriented and I was the perfect student.
> By the way, Alan Greenspan also was a student of my father's. He says that
> my father had a fundamental influence on his understanding of what was
> the brand new field of econometrics.
> Q: Right, so this is at Cornell?
> Wolfowitz: No, that was at Columbia. That was 1949-1950.
> Q: I see. When did he go to Cornell?
> Wolfowitz: -- my father, I shouldn't do that.
> Q: We're supposed to brag about our fathers.
> When did you all go to Ithaca?
> Wolfowitz: The first move there was the fall of '51--'52, and then my
> immediately had a sabbatical -- no, '52--'53 we moved to Ithaca. Then he
> immediately had a sabbatical and '53--'54 we spent half in Los Angeles and
> half in Urbana, Illinois. I still remember, the reason I see the
> announcement of Stalin's death in 1954 was the street I lived on in
> Illinois at the time.
> Q: You'd been living in Manhattan before that?
> Wolfowitz: Manhattan. I was born in Brooklyn but we grew up in Manhattan,
> one block down on Morningside Drive in a house that no longer exists. One
> block down from the President of Columbia who for part of that time was
> Dwight Eisenhower. My sister tells me that she remembers seeing Eisenhower
> go to his car as we were roller-skating on that block, but it didn't make
> any impression on me. I was probably three or four.
> Q: This is all very helpful.
> This is sort of the two very small, well, they're big questions but I
> expect you to give me extended answers to the questions of the day. One is
> there is some question as to whether the Pentagon underestimated Iran's
> readiness to intervene in Iraq and whether that upset the plans at all,
> post-war plans.
> Wolfowitz: That's nonsense.
> Q: Okay. That had been reported.
> Wolfowitz: There's so much that's reported that -- No. In fact it's, I
> want to comment [inaudible] government. We've understood very clearly that
> Iraq, especially the Shia population of Iraq, is both a source of danger
> opportunity to the Iranians. I think it's more danger than it is
> opportunity. But the danger itself is incentive for them to try to
> because the last thing they want to see, which I think is a real
> possibility, is an independent source of authority for the Shia religion
> emerging in a country that is democratic and pro-Western.
> Q: That's a --
> Wolfowitz: There's going to be a huge struggle for the soul of Iraqi
> there's no question about it.
> Q: What about the notion that the military campaign went so quickly and so
> brilliantly that you did not have everything else as much as you might
> in place for this later era, later period [inaudible]?
> Wolfowitz: It certainly has gone quickly. People that remember when you
> to take your story, I mean we're, 50 days after the war began people
> -- Having been wrong about the first quagmire saying we were in a quagmire
> in terms of the restoration of the civil services in Iraq or dealing with
> any number of other obvious problems. To me what's remarkable is how much
> was accomplished in 50 days.
> Things are not going to happen overnight. The notion -- I mean policy,
> life, is fundamentally about choices and the notion that we should have
> chosen to delay until we had a huge force and go more slowly and deal with
> all the problems that would have come from going slowly so that we would
> have had enough people, for example, to guard the museum in Baghdad is
> frankly absurd. And it may well turn out, in fact, that the museum in
> Baghdad was looted before the war even began, in which case no amount of
> guarding would have done any good.
> There are choices that had to be made and I don't think there's any
> that the fundamental speed of the operation, the remarkable speed of the
> operation, played a role in preventing a number of the worst things that
> feared from happening. We'll never know exactly why the oilfields were not
> destroyed. We did not have an environmental disaster resulting from huge
> hydrogen sulfide fires in the north. We did not have attacks on Israel. We
> did not have a fortress Baghdad. We did not have a civil war in northern
> Iraq or a Turkish intervention in northern Iraq. We didn't have an Iranian
> intervention to speak of in southern Iraq. We didn't have any Arab
> governments collapse. Should I keep going?
> Q: These were all possibilities you weighed, right?
> Wolfowitz: Absolutely. And most of these were things that people warned
> absolutely certain to happen if we went to war. I think a few of them I
> thought were exaggerated. The one that has always worried me the most was
> the use of weapons of mass destruction. We still don't know why they
> used. That's something maybe we'll know more about one of these days, I
> don't know.
> But there seems to be very little doubt that everything came at the Iraqi
> regime much faster than they expected it. That the war began sooner, that
> the ground troops moved in faster, that they moved up north faster, that
> they moved into Baghdad faster, and a lot of things happened before for
> matter some of the meddling neighbors could interfere, either.
> One of our senior generals in a discussion of a related but different
> subject made the observation that speed kills, as in it kills the enemy,
> that getting to an objective quickly is often the thing that's most
> effective militarily. There's always usually a tradeoff between speed and
> Q: And then the last question, you've been very patient and generous. That
> is what's next? Where do we stand now in the campaign that you talked
> right after September 11th?
> Wolfowitz: I think the two most important things next are the two most
> obvious. One is getting post-Saddam Iraq right. Getting it right may take
> years, but setting the conditions for getting it right in the next six
> months. The next six months are going to be very important.
> The other thing is trying to get some progress on the Israeli-Palestinian
> issue. I do think we have a better atmosphere for working on it now than
> did before in all kinds of ways. Whether that's enough to make a
> is not certain, but I will be happy to go back and dig up the things I
> a long time ago which is, while it undoubtedly was true that if we could
> make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian issue we would provide a better
> of circumstances to deal with Saddam Hussein, but that it was equally true
> the other way around that if we could deal with Saddam Hussein it would
> provide a better set of circumstances for dealing with the Arab-Israeli
> issue. That you had to move on both of them as best you could when you
> could, but --
> There are a lot of things that are different now, and one that has gone by
> almost unnoticed--but it's huge--is that by complete mutual agreement
> between the U.S. and the Saudi government we can now remove almost all of
> our forces from Saudi Arabia. Their presence there over the last 12 years
> has been a source of enormous difficulty for a friendly government. It's
> been a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda. In fact if you look at bin
> Laden, one of his principle grievances was the presence of so-called
> crusader forces on the holy land, Mecca and Medina. I think just lifting
> that burden from the Saudis is itself going to open the door to other
> positive things.
> I don't want to speak in messianic terms. It's not going to change things
> overnight, but it's a huge improvement.
> Q: Was that one of the arguments that was raised early on by you and
> that Iraq actually does connect, not to connect the dots too much, but the
> relationship between Saudi Arabia, our troops being there, and bin Laden's
> rage about that, which he's built on so many years, also connects the
> Trade Center attacks, that there's a logic of motive or something like
> Or does that read too much into --
> Wolfowitz: No, I think it happens to be correct. The truth is that for
> reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we
> settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of
> mass destruction as the core reason, but -- hold on one second --
> Kellems: Sam there may be some value in clarity on the point that it may
> take years to get post-Saddam Iraq right. It can be easily misconstrued,
> especially when it comes to --
> Wolfowitz: -- there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is
> weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the
> is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could
> say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the
> first two. Sorry, hold on again.
> Kellems: By the way, it's probably the longest uninterrupted phone
> conversation I've witnessed, so --
> Q: This is extraordinary.
> Kellems: You had good timing.
> Q: I'm really grateful.
> Wolfowitz: To wrap it up.
> The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help
> Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk,
> not on the scale we did it. That second issue about links to terrorism is
> the one about which there's the most disagreement within the bureaucracy,
> even though I think everyone agrees that we killed 100 or so of an al
> group in northern Iraq in this recent go-around, that we've arrested that
> Qaeda guy in Baghdad who was connected to this guy Zarqawi whom Powell
> about in his UN presentation.
> Q: So this notion then that the strategic question was really a part of
> equation, that you were looking at Saudi Arabia --
> Wolfowitz: I was. It's one of the reasons why I took a very different view
> of what the argument that removing Saddam Hussein would destabilize the
> Middle East. I said on the record, I don't understand how people can
> believe that removing this huge source of instability is going to be a
> of instability in the Middle East.
> I understand what they're thinking about. I'm not blind to the
> of this situation, but they just seem to be blind to the instability that
> that son of a bitch was causing. It's as though the fact that he was
> $25,000 per terrorist family and issuing regular threats to most friendly
> governments in the region and the long list of things was of no account
> the only thing to think about was that there might be some inter-communal
> violence if he were removed.
> The implication of a lot of the argumentation against acting -- the
> implication was that the only way to have the stability that we need in
> is to have a tyrant like Saddam keeping everybody in check -- I know no
> ever said it that way and if you pointed it out that way they'd say that's
> not what I mean. But I believe that really is where the logic was leading.
> Q: Which also makes you wonder about how much faith there is in spreading
> democracy and all the rest among some of those who --
> Wolfowitz: Probably not very much. There is no question that there's a lot
> of instability that comes with democracy and it's the nature of the beast
> that it's turbulent and uncertain.
> The thing is, at a general level, I've encountered this argument from the
> defenders of Asian autocracies of various kinds. Look how much better off
> Singapore is than Indonesia, to pick a glaring contrast. And Indonesia's
> really struggling with democracy. It sort of inherited democracy under the
> worst possible conditions too, one might say. But the thing that -- I'd
> actually say that a large part of Indonesia's problems come from the fact
> that dictatorships are unstable in the one worst way which is with respect
> to choosing the next regime. Democracy, one could say, has solved, not
> perfectly, but they represent one of the best solutions to one of the most
> fundamental instabilities in politics and that's how to replace one regime
> with another. It's the only orderly way in the world for doing it other
> hereditary monarchy which doesn't seem to have much of a future.
> Q: Thanks so much.
> Wolfowitz: You're very welcome.
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