Albert Wohlstetter

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Person.png Albert Wohlstetter   Amazon Powerbase SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(neoconservative, historian)
Albert Wohlstetter.png
Born19 December 1913
Died10 January 1997 (Age 83)
Los Angeles, USA
Alma materCity College of New York, Columbia University
ChildrenJoan Wohlstetter-Hall
SpouseRoberta Wohlstetter
Member ofCouncil on Foreign Relations/Historical Members, PIAB
Interestsnuclear war
Neoconservative, long time director of the Rand Corporation

Albert Wohlstetter was a neoconservative ideologue and long time director of the Rand Corporation. He and his wife Roberta Wohlstetter, an historian and intelligence expert, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan on November 7, 1985. He was one of the inspirations for the film Dr. Strangelove.[1]


A native of New York, New York, Wohlstetter earned degrees from the City College of New York and Columbia University in the 1930s. During the 1940s, he worked with the War Production Board, at Atlas Aircraft Products Company and, after World War II, at the General Panel Corporation of California. [2]

From 1951 to 1963, he served first as a consultant and later as a senior policy analyst for the RAND Corporation, and maintained his affiliation with RAND for years afterward. He and his wife also advised both Democratic and Republican administrations, including President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. On February 25, 1963, the Wohlstetters published "Studies for a Post-Communist Cuba." [3] [4]

During his long career, Wohlstetter also taught at UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley, in the early 1960s. From 1964 to 1980, he taught in the political science department of the University of Chicago, and chaired the dissertation committees of Paul Wolfowitz and Zalmay Khalilzad. He is often credited with influencing a number of prominent members of the neoconservative movement, including Richard Perle (who, as a teenager, dated Wohlstetter's daughter). [5]

The Iraq deception

Wohlstetter was a significant actor in the deception leading to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. According to Alex Abella's book on the RAND corporation:

Ahmed Chalabi's rise to prominence in Washington circles came at the instigation of Albert Wohlstetter, who met Chalabi in Paul Wolfowitz's office. Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis, a friend of Wolfowitz and Wohlstetter, had already talked up the exile to both men, knowing they would see the value of Chalabi's acquaintance. Wolfowitz, Wohlstetter, and Lewis shared similar values and background; each of them secular Jews, defenders of Israel, devoted to reason and to the spread of American values. Wohlstetter and Lewis shared a common fascination with how Kemal Atatürk created the modern, secular Turkish state — seeing it as a model for the new Iraq Chalabi would lead. Wohlstetter and Lewis expected that after the depredations of Saddam Hussein, Chalabi and his exile organization, the Iraqi National Congress (INC), could restore the cradle of civilization to her proper place in the world, with a secular government that would make peace with Israel, serve as an example to the Arab "street" — and never wage war on the United States. [6]

As the record shows, these expectations proved to be wholly without foundation.

Through the good offices of Wohlstetter and Richard Perle, Chalabi soon had the ear of Republican Senate leader Trent Lott and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as well as that of two powerful former secretaries of defense, Halliburton president Dick Cheney and RAND board of trustees chairman Donald Rumsfeld. He also worked closely with former CIA director James D. Woolsey and with General Wayne Downing (who would serve in the National Security Council under President George H. W. Bush) formulating plans to overthrow Hussein militarily. Their vehicle for convincing the public that regime change in Iraq was in America's best interests was an organization founded in 1997 and similar in scope to the Reagan-era Committee on the Present Danger: the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), similarly boasting of several RAND luminaries as founding members.[7]

Resources, Links, References

Further Reading

  • Abella, Alex. Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire (Harcourt, 2008). ISBN 978-0-15-101081-3.

External links


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/196121 April 196123 April 1961Canada
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  1. Michael Dobbs, 'For Wolfowitz, a Vision May Be Realized', The Washington Post, 7 April, 2003.
  2. 'Profile: Albert Wohlstetter', History Commons website, accessed 8 April, 2009.
  3. Robert Zarate, 'EXCERPT ON THE WOHLSTETTERS AND NUCLEAR DETERRENCE', Albert Wohlstetter website, 1 February, 2009. (Accessed 8 April, 2009)
  4. Roberta and Albert Wohlstetter, 'Studies for a Post-Communist Cuba', RAND website, 25 February, 1963. (Accessed 8 April, 2009)
  5. Elizabeth Drew, 'The Neocons in Power', The New York Review of Books website, 12 June, 2003. (Accessed 8 April, 2009)
  6. Abella, Alex. Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire (Harcourt, 2008). p. 287
  7. Abella, Op cit. p. 290