Jerusalem – Yesterday, Israel’s daily Maariv newspaper published a short interview with former CIA Director and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. James Schlesinger, who offered Israel dire warnings.
“Israel will face the most severe existential threat in its history in the next year,” Dr. Schlesinger told Maariv, adding, “I would expect the Israelis to choose for their leadership the people with the greatest experience in national security.”
His prediction came as Israel prepares to elect a new prime minister due to the anticipated early departure of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who is facing corruption charges.
Dr. Schlesinger spoke also as the former U.S. secretary of energy, and one of the foremost experts in the U.S. on employing nuclear force and the nuclear balance of power. He had earned this distinction as secretary of defense during the Yom Kippur War. He is considered a conservative Republican and a security expert.
He also is a convert from Judaism who left his faith during his college years.
He was pressed further by the interviewer for Maariv.
“Do you recommend that Israel act alone against the Iranian nuclear program?” the Maariv reporter asked him.
He didn’t bite: “I am not recommending to the Israeli government what to do,” he said. “That is what you have a government for. I can only tell you that in the past 60 years, Israel has survived because it knew how to meet security challenges, because it was attentive to them and they were at the center of its agenda. Now the toughest security challenge of all is rising up in front of you. The Iranian regime, armed with nuclear weapons, means an existential danger. You must not make light of it. In such days, there must be people with experience in this field at the helm.”
The current U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently appointed Dr. Schlesinger to head a special task force to examine the needs of the United States in the area of nuclear security, and mainly aerial security of the nuclear arms standing at the disposal of the U.S.
Dr. Schlesinger submitted his recommendations over the past few days. They were firm: Invest resources in renewing, updating and retaining American nuclear capability with regard to the air branch, he said.
Mr. Gates’ team has determined this ability has rusted and been neglected in the past years, since the end of the Cold War. Mr. Gates and his team have concluded that now that a new Cold War seems to be in motion, the party is over, and it’s time to get back to work.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com.
©The Bulletin 2008