Why did you support the invasion of Iraq?

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

TRANSCRIPT

Question: Why did you support the invasion of Iraq?

Jim Woolsey: I don’t think the United States should go off intervening anywhere and everywhere, but I supported the intervention in Iraq for several reasons.  Not just weapons, but Saddam’s human rights record.  We went to war in the Clinton administration twice with Serbia over both Bosnia and Kosovo … over human rights.  And … killed maybe 10 percent of the people that Saddam has been responsible for – the deaths, if you count the wars he started, and I think you should.  So I thought that and his ties to various terror groups – not just Al Qaeda, but a lot of them – all justified removing him from power.  I wish the administration had gone in with larger forces.  I agree with John McCain on this.  Or if not gone in with larger, at least made a quick correction once the war started.  And I wish they’d fought it the way Abrams fought Vietnam, which was sometimes called “clear and hold” – that is, to take an area and protect it, and integrate your own forces with those of the local militia and protect everybody, and then move on and continue to do the same thing; rather than the Westmorland search and destroy of blowing through someplace and shooting a lot of people, and then having the bad guys come back and kill any of the good guys who were helping you.  So I think that they have only finally reached an Abrams strategy in the late fall of ’06 with the appointment of General Petraeus.  So I wish a lot of those changes had been made sooner, but I thought the justification for the moving Saddam was adequate.  I just wish it had been fought differently.

Recorded on: 7/2/07


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