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Former CIA Director James Woolsey

As violence continues to escalate between Israel and Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency says the U.S. should now take military action against Syria, which, along with Iran, is believed to be backing Hezbollah.

“I think we ought to execute some airstrikes against Syria, against the instruments of power of that state, against the airport, which is the place where weapons shuttle through from Iran to Hezbollah and Hamas,” James Woolsey said. “I think both Syria and Iran think that we’re cowards. They saw us leave Lebanon after the ’83 Marine Corps bombing. They saw us leave Mogadishu in ’93.”

The former CIA chief, now a vice president for the global consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, said it is much too soon to talk about a realistic end to the fighting.

“I think the last thing we ought to do now is to start talking about cease-fires and a rest,” he said.

“Iran has drawn a line in the sand. They’ve sent Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel. They’re pushing their nuclear weapons program. They’re helping North Korea, working with them on a ballistic missile program. They’re doing their best to take over southern Iraq with [radical Shiite cleric] Muqtada al-Sadr and some of their other proxies. This is a very serious challenge from Iran and we need to weaken them badly, and undermining the Syrian government with airstrikes would help weaken them badly.”

Woolsey was appearing on the “The Big Story” on the Fox News Channel.

Asked host John Gibson, “If taking Syria down a peg or two by actually hitting them with airstrikes would be effective, why not hit something in Iran?”

“One has to take things to some degree by steps,” Woolsey responded. “I think it would be a huge blow to Iran if the Israelis are able after a few more days’ effort to badly damage Hezbollah and Hamas as they are doing, and if we were able to help undermine the continuation of the Assad regime [in Syria] – without putting troops on the ground, I wouldn’t advocate that. We’ve got one major war in that part of the world on the ground in Iraq and that’s enough for right at this moment I think.”

Woolsey, a former undersecretary of the Navy, was President Clinton’s director of Central Intelligence from 1993 to 1995, and has been a proponent of the war in Iraq.


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