Jim Woolsey
fmr. Director of Central Intelligence (CIA)
02:25

U.S. Strategy in Iraq

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The U.S. historically has reacted quickly to changes in enemy tactics. This time, Jim Woolsey says it's taking a little too long.

Jim Woolsey

The Honorable James Woolsey is the Chairman of Paladin's Strategic Advisory Group. He is a partner at Booz Allen Hamilton and from 1993 to 1995 was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  He endorsed Senator John McCain for president and served as one of McCain's foreign policy advisors.  In his government service, his law practice, and his service on corporate boards, Mr. Woolsey has focused on the practical application of innovative technology and on the legal and managerial requirements that are necessary to accomplish this. During the last two decades, he has served on the boards of fourteen companies; almost all have been significantly involved in using high technology to improve security as well as provide other benefits to private and public sector consumers. He was an early member of the board of directors of Yurie Systems, Inc., a provider of ATM access technology and equipment and access concentrators, which, in 1997, was named by Business Week as the fastest-growing corporation in the U.S. As Under Secretary of the Navy, as a member of the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management (Packard Commission), the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the U.S. (Rumsfeld Commission, 1998) and as Director of Central Intelligence, Mr. Woolsey has been identified with promoting technological innovation in the interest of improving security.

Mr. Woolsey received his B.A. Degree from Stanford University (With Great Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa), and a M.A. Degree from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and an L.L.B. Degree from Yale Law School, where he was Managing Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Transcript

Jim Woolsey: The U.S. historically has reacted pretty quickly, at least in modern times, to changes in enemy tactics.  We didn’t fight well on land for the first year of World War II for ’42, much in neither North Africa or the islands like Tarhuna, but we got better fast because the military is very candid in their after actions reports and the things that have to be corrected.  Lincoln, it took him two years to get his strategy and his general right, and he almost lost the 1864 election to McClellan.  If Sherman hadn’t burned Atlanta, he probably would have.  So that was a close one.  But Vietnam, it took them over three years in one way or another to give up on search and destroy, and to move toward clear and hold strategy that made it possible for Abrams really to defeat the Viet Cong.  People forget that in ’73 the Viet Cong were essentially defeated.  There was a pretty decent peace treaty with the north.  That’s what led to the exchange of prisoners, all of that.  The Viet Cong didn’t defeat South Vietnam or the United States.  What won the Vietnam War for the North was a main force, armored invasion of the south in ’75.  And the U.S. was so war-weary by that point that Congress didn’t support even using air forces and air power to help hold them off, and they defeated the south Vietnamese.  But I guess what one would conclude from that is that if you can make all your changes in the first year of a war – these are very rough historical analogies – you can probably start winning.  You can probably keep the American people’s support.  Two years is right at the margin, but three years is a very long time of continuing to fight a losing strategy.  And that’s what Johnson did with Westmorland in the Vietnam War, and that’s what Bush has done with his generals in this war.  Three years is very, very hard to come back from.

Recorded on: 7/6/07


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