He worked on Colin Powell’s famous February 2003 presentation to the United Nations, making the case for war with Iraq.
He says it was the lowest point in his professional career.
“We unwittingly helped perpetrate a hoax on the international community, the American people and the UN Security Council,” he says.
He typed up his resignation letter to Powell, but didn’t have the courage to hand it in.
Since leaving government in 2005, he’s been speaking out against what he calls the national security state and the military Congressional industrial complex.
He’s writing a book about his life with Colin Powell and the national security state.
And he’s teaching “Fateful Decision Making” at the College of William and Mary and at George Washington University.
Lawrence Wilkerson is a changed man.
He’s now campaigning to prevent a war with Iran.
Wilkerson said that the American people – who polls show overwhelming oppose a war with Iran – need to wake up to the reality of the military industrial Congressional complex.
“The military industrial Congressional complex is a pillar of the national security state,” Wilkerson told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “Without it, you couldn’t have the state. When Lockheed Martin, the number one military contractor in America, indeed in the world – when its share price goes from somewhere around $27 or $28 in March of 2003 to $100 plus dollars a share after 18 months in Iraq, you have to believe that contractors like Lockheed Martin have an influence on the decision to go to war.”
But there must be executives at the highest levels of these defense contracting corporations, who are looking at the situation with Iran, for example, and saying – well yes, my share prices might go up in the short term, but war with Iran will so destabilize the world that it will adversely affect our bottom line long term.
“Are you kidding me?” Wilkerson says. “Are you joking? Are you trying to tell me that someone in the American corporate community cares about this country anymore? Exxon Mobil’s CEO Rex Tillerson was in Kazakhstan recently and said he’d rather live in Kazakhstan than the United States, because their environment was better for energy.”
“You think these people have patriotic feelings or national feelings? They only feel for profit. They only feel for money.”
“Look at what we just did. We just outstripped our previous record of arms sales in the world by a factor that just boggles the mind. Our recent high was about $26 billion. This last year, the total arms sales in the world were about $86 billion. We had $66 billion of that. And about two thirds of that was to the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries because we have so scared them about the threat of Iran that they are buying hand over foot our armaments. And most of those armaments are coming from the big five defense contractors – Boeing, Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics.”
What will a war with Iran cost?
“If you really boil it down to what Senators Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman and Robert Casey want – it’s regime change in Iran,” Wilkerson says. “And the only way you are going to get regime change and no nuclear weapon, you are going to need invasion. And that is going to take 500,000 troops, ten years and $2 trillion to $3 trillion.”
“And even then, at the end of that time, unless you have been incredibly successful – look at Afghanistan and Iraq for a definition of success – you are still not going to be totally assured that you are not going to have to stay there forever.”
Wilkerson says that he and a group of former U.S. diplomats and Iran experts had a meeting last week with Iranian President Ahmadinejad in New York at the Warwick Hotel.
“The Asia Society sponsored it in New York on Monday,” Wilkerson said. “It was about a two hour meeting. Ambassador Frank Wisner was in the chair. A number of Iranian experts were there – Steven Kinzer was there. He’s author of All the Shah’s Men. Bill Luers was there. He was the organizer of the Iran Group. Ambassador Jim Dobbins spoke.”
“We all made a presentation – Jim, Bill, myself – Graham Allison asked a question about the nuclear issue. And then we let President Ahmadinejad respond. And then others of us asked him questions. It was about a two hour meeting that he very graciously agreed to.”
“President Ahmadinejad said – we have 1,100 kilometers of coast line in the Persian Gulf, you have not one square inch,” Wilkerson related.
“And he’s absolutely right. We let the Shah of Iran for 26 years secure the Gulf for us. We kept military forces way off shore. And we were ready to respond to anything that exceeded the Shah’s capability. That’s the way we should be again. And we should tacitly recognize that Iran is the hegemon in the Gulf. That doesn’t mean that Iran holds it over everybody. The Council Cooperation Council, led by Saudi Arabia, has its right to security in the Gulf as well. But let’s just face it for a moment. People in the Gulf are making their money off oil or gas flowing through the Straits of Hormuz. No one has any interest in an insecure Gulf.”
What will prevent a war with Iran?
“The impossible,” Wilkerson says. “Almost a Nixon to China scenario. We need a President to have enough courage to do it – and it has to be done secretly. You are never going to be able to get away with it unless you do it secretly, just as Nixon and Kissinger did with China.”
“There needs to be some sort of opening to Tehran through a third party – through the Turks or the Brazilians – that Tehran simply can’t refuse. And by that I mean, you must include in that opening a recognition of what we knew for 25 years when our tyrant – the Shah – was in charge of Iran. And that is that Iran is the natural hegemon in the Gulf.”
[For the complete transcript of the Interview with Lawrence Wilkerson, see 26 Corporate Crime Reporter 38(11), October 1, 2012, print edition only.]