Former CIA Dir. James Woolsey: Obama Should Stop Apologizing

By: Ronald Kessler

Instead of apologizing to the world, President Obama should be supporting the people of Iran and Afghanistan who want freedom, former director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey tells Newsmax.

In Afghanistan, Obama should be endorsing Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s plan to protect locals and patrol with them, as opposed to conducting search-and-destroy raids and air attacks that did not work in the first years of the Iraq war, nor in the Vietnam War under Gen. William Westmoreland, Woolsey says.

“During the first three-and-a-half years, we took a search-and-destroy approach in Iraq,” Woolsey says. “With the surge, President Bush shifted gears and began to fight like Gen. Creighton Abrams rather than like Westmoreland, and Gen. [David] Petraeus turned the war around with a clear-and-hold strategy. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, we were fighting search-and-destroy for about eight years, and now finally, the general there wants to fight like Abrams rather than like Westmoreland.”

Even though Obama endorsed McChrystal’s approach in March, the president now appears to have second thoughts, Woolsey notes. Yet, Woolsey says, “I don’t know of any insurgency that has ever been defeated by search-and-destroy operations of the Westmoreland type. Whenever we’ve been successful in the past, it’s been by regarding the people as the center of gravity, protecting them, working with them, training them, running joint patrols with them.”

Woolsey says he is “at a loss to explain why the second thoughts.”

Similarly, in Iran, “The center of gravity there is the Iranian people,” Woolsey says. “We will not, however clever our diplomacy, be able to stop the Iranian nuclear program with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in charge. The revolutionary guard is now effectively the governing organization in Iran, and they are theocratic, totalitarian, genocidal fanatics. It doesn’t matter if there’s a signed piece of paper promising this and that, and they have signing ceremonies and lots of celebrations. It won’t mean a thing,” Woolsey observes.

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In the wake of the contested Iranian election, Obama should have “endorsed and strongly verbally supported the people of Iran who clearly did not elect this crowd,” Woolsey says. “But in search of the need for pleasantness I suppose to accompany negotiations, we have been far less supportive than the British, than the French, than the Iranian dissidents.”

It is the “wrong approach, to believe that you can charm and persuade people like Ahmadinejad,” Woolsey says. “Whereas if you show support, even if it’s just verbal, for the Iranian people and their very strong reaction against having the election stolen by these fanatics, you could be of some help. But we’re not doing that.”

In the meantime, Woolsey says, Obama has undercut our first line of defense against terrorists by allowing possible prosecution of former CIA officers.

“I signed the letter that seven former CIA directors sent to take strong exception to Attorney General [Eric] Holder’s reopening the investigation that had already been done and closed by the professionals at the Department of Justice,” Woolsey says. “For the attorney general to reopen those in the way that he has says very clearly to CIA officers that, even if your boss tells you to do something and shows you that he has Justice Department support, and even if you’re investigated and cleared, it’s not over. Sen. Joe Lieberman made that very clear in an excellent statement he made that we quoted in our letter. It is a terrible thing to do to the morale of the people out at the CIA. I think it’s a very bad decision, from the point of view of maintaining an intelligence community in which people will undertake risky things for the country’s good.”

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Overall, “I think we’ve had too many apologies,” Woolsey says. “Peace depends on freedom, and it depends on defeating the people who would destroy the peace.”

Woolsey observes that in the 20th century, the U.S. defeated five totalitarian empires in three wars, leading to a proliferation of democracies throughout the world.

“In the course of the second half of the 20th century, the world went from approximately 20 democracies to approximately 120,” Woolsey says. “Those aren’t all perfect democracies, but they’re countries where people really elect their leaders, and they don’t essentially go to war against one another. That’s not a terrible record. That’s not something that we need to apologize to the world for.”

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