Delivered to The Israel Lobby and American Policy 2018 conference March 2, 2018 at the National Press Club
The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference was solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). This is a rush transcript.
Delinda Hanley: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson is up next, and his bio is incredibly long. He has a lot to talk about, so I’m going to shorten it. He is going to talk about “Is the U.S. Ramping up its Military Presence in Syria and Preparing to Attack Iran for Israel?”
His last position in the government was as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2002 to 2005. Okay, I’m really shortening it. Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. He retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel and has taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at George Washington University. You’re currently a distinguished visiting professor of government and public policy at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, and you’re working on a book about the first George Bush administration. Welcome.
Lawrence Wilkerson: Thank you. Thank you all for being here. I’m the last speaker. I get that distinction. If this were a military audience, I’d ask you to stand up and do five minutes of calisthenics just to make sure you don’t doze off. I’ve identified myself with the remarks that were just made. Over some 400 students, graduate and undergraduate, in 12 years on two university campuses and six years with about 1,000 students at two of the nation’s most prestigious war colleges, we have determined although it would be probably difficult to prove – and that’s the reason we have covert operations – that Lyndon Johnson not only knew the gory details of the Israeli attack on USS Liberty in the Eastern Mediterranean, he also knew about what was just told you. That’s to say he knew the uranium was being diverted, he knew Israel was building a bomb, and he chose not to do anything about it.
That’s not my subject today, although I could talk on that sort of thing forever, as I’m sure Jefferson could too. These days I believe one gets the best insights in the Israeli security policy and perhaps even into Israeli policy writ large which you’ve heard a lot about today from a Russian émigré to Israel, a former foreign minister, now its defense minister – Avigdor Lieberman.
Whether he is calling Arab members of the Knesset war criminals who were declaring the Jewish people should leave France, or claiming that the next military action against Hamas in Gaza will be the last, or contradicting his own military chief by denying there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, or stating categorically that the IDF will stop at nothing in order to win, reminding me a great deal of Dick Cheney, Lieberman is the living face of the…