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Lt. General (retired) William G. “Jerry” Boykin spent thirty-six years in the U.S. Army, many of them as an original member of Delta Force, the world’s premier Special Operations unit. His career plays out like a series of Tom Clancy thrillers: he helped capture Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, hunted the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, and has served in Vietnam, Iran, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, in addition to a stint with the CIA, and became the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under President George W. Bush.
Along the way, Boykin, now an ordained minister, courted controversy with comments that seemed to couch the War on Terror in religious terms. This drew fire from leftist figures such as Sidney Blumenthal, John Kerry, and Seymour Hersh, as well as from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the self-proclaimed advocacy group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The author of the autobiographical Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom and the thriller Danger Close has a new novel, Kiloton Threat. Both thrillers feature Special Forces officer Blake Kershaw combating Muslim extremism.
Mark Tapson: General, your new book is about a U.S. covert operation to extract a defecting Iranian scientist, a Christian convert, out of Iran to help neutralize their nuclear weapons program. Based on your knowledge of and experience with covert actions after 9/11, how close did we come to neutralizing Iran’s nuclear program ourselves, and do you think we might still have to resort to that?
Gen. Boykin: The Iranian nuclear program is a very serious threat to global stability. A nuclear-armed Iran may very well prompt a nuclear arms race in the Mid East which only increases the threat of a deadly exchange between warring factions. The threat to Israel is real, as [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is driven by a radical theology that directs him and others of the same theology to create an atmosphere of “bloodshed and chaos” in order to usher in the reign of the “Mahdi.” Otherwise known as the 12th Imam, this messiah will return and bring global peace and implement Shariah. This is not just the belief of a group of ignorant and uneducated men. Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are erudite men with a deep passion for what they believe and are willing to throw the world into chaos in order to bring about the return of the Mahdi.
At this point, the US efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program have been weak. Diplomacy and sanctions have not slowed Iran’s progress. Any covert action that has been executed by the US has had little effect. Even if the “worm” in the computers was part of a US effort, it was just a minor setback. The world is at a point now that the only hope may be an Israeli strike, since it is unlikely that the US will act militarily. The problem is that the Israeli capabilities to destroy the Iranian program are very questionable. The program was built to make a strike from any source difficult. The better option is to take out the Iranian leadership, but once again, who is willing to try? Certainly the US will not do it. Israel would if they could but this would be a very difficult task for them too. Ultimately, there are no good solutions to this problem.
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