Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

February 7, 2013

War with Iran inevitable, military expert says

NORMAN, Okla. — The United States. is moving in a direction that makes war with Iran inevitable, a former top aide to Gen. Colin Powell said.

Mincing no words, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson told University of Oklahoma students, “We’re going to war.”

While President Obama has said all options remain open for discussion, he has also said the powerful Islamic republic cannot be permitted to have nuclear capabilities.

“We’re going to drop bombs, and those bombs aren’t going to do anything but force the Iranian people to be more cohesive and force them to support their draconian government and force them to make a decision about making a nuclear weapon,” Wilkerson said. “They’ll go underground and they’ll do it.”

He said the diplomatic track the U.S. has followed so far has involved economic sanctions, but they haven’t worked. “If we’re not willing to negotiate, where does that leave us? It leaves us with bombing …,” he said.

Wilkerson served as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff. Since he retired he has been an outspoken critic of the military industrial complex’s impact on government decision making, especially decisions related to war.

“I’m not opposed to oil and I’m not opposed to gas and I’m not opposed to energy,” Wilkerson said. “But I am opposed to young Americans having to die for ill-advised actions that essentially are designed to do something about that, that could be done economically, financially, diplomatically, politically or otherwise and not with boots on the ground and not with boys and girls dying.”

Ultimately, the reasons for the country's concern about Iran are mixed, he said.

“It has nothing to do with a nuclear weapon,” he said. “It’s all about power. It’s all about power in the Gulf” and keeping the Strait of Hormuz open.

Quoting foreign policy experts who have said that a war in Iran would be “catastrophic,” Wilkerson said with a dark tone of sarcasm, “If you liked Iraq, you’ll love Iran.”

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Details for this story were provided by The Norman (Okla.) Transcript.

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