Saturday, November 19, 2011
George Kenney: "Podcast Interview: Admiral Bobby Ray Inman" @ Electric Politics
I wanted to get at the problem of reducing nuclear weapons from a conservative point of view and was fortunate enough to be able to interview Admiral Bobby Ray Inman (Ret.). Although he's not a 'Global Zero' person -- which I am -- he thinks our nuclear arsenal could safely be drastically reduced and that so-called investments in new generations of nuclear weapons are a waste. Considering that the Navy has about as much to do with nuclear weapons strategy as the Air Force, coming from such a senior former officer this is an important, well-informed opinion, not to be disregarded lightly. He says he doesn't, btw, think that we're about to launch a war against Iran -- and I hope his assessment is correct! We talk about several other issues including Fourth Amendment rights (where we partly agree) and torture (where we fully agree). To the end he sings the praises of the Constitution but I didn't have the heart to tell him I'm for rewriting it; if he ever learns about my views I hope he won't be terribly disappointed…
I tried, btw, to steer our conversation into a few directions he didn't want to go but out of respect I gave up whenever I encountered real resistance. One question in particular I'd wanted to try on him was something along the lines of: 'the lead pilot in Israel's 1981 raid on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor was a fellow named Col. Aviem Sella, who later recruited Jonathan Pollard -- Pollard, of course, spied for Israel from within the Naval Intelligence Service which you had formerly led -- do you think that this was pure coincidence or could it have been personal payback for your decision to no longer give Israel access to satellite imagery after the Osirak raid?' That would have been getting deep down into the weeds but might have elicited a frank assessment regarding whether Israel could be a trustworthy interlocutor on nuclear issues. And I would have been very interested in whether he thought that Bob Gates, by unrealistically inflating the Soviet threat for political purposes, thereby effectively downgraded the priority of nuclear nonproliferation -- but that particular question I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have approved. Anyhow, he steered away from all such controversies, usually several jumps before I got to them. It was, I thought while we were talking, almost as though he had a sixth sense about what was next.
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