FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Washington Lied, an Interview with Ray McGovern

by MARC PRITZKE

Editors’ Note: Former CIA official, Ray McGovern, has leveled serious accusations at the Bush administration in connection with the war in Iraq. McGovern served as a CIA analyst for almost 30 years. From 1981 to 1985 he conducted daily briefings for Ronald Reagan’s vice president, George Bush, the father of the incumbent president. The following interview originally appeared in Die Tagesspiegel, one of Berlin’s largest daily papers. Imagine this appearing in the Sunday edition of the New York Times.

 

The US Senate Intelligence Committee this week began hearings on the dispute over the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What do you expect will come of this?

Nothing. The committee chairman, Republican Pat Roberts, has already refused to ask the FBI to investigate allegations that Iraq has tried to obtain uranium from Niger. This, despite the fact that in making these allegations, administration officials knowingly relied on crudely forged documents.

In a Memorandum for President Bush dated May 1 you speak of a “policy and intelligence fiasco.” What do mean by that?

Take, for example, the business about the aluminum tubes that Iraq tried to obtain. According to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, these were “only suited to nuclear weapons programs.” But nuclear engineers have been virtually unanimous in deciding that the pipes are not suitable for that. Despite this, President Bush on October 7, 2002 said that Iraq could possibly produce a nuclear weapon within a year.

These are deliberate distortions. Lies. When a US president decides it is necessary to go to war, he has to procure intelligence to prove the need for war.

And what happens, in your experience, if the “proof” is too thin?

In that case it gets inflated. So, for example, an incident in the Tonkin Gulf involving a North Vietnamese “attack” on a US warship–which “attack” never took place–nonetheless was deliberately used by President Johnson to get Congress’ endorsement for war with North Vietnam.

This current administration had decided by September 2002 to make war on Iraq–five months before Secretary of State Colin Powell’s speech at the UN. What was missing was the intelligence basis to justify the decision for war.

But the intelligence is still not conclusive. And in the case of the uranium Iraq was said to be seeking, it was based on forged documents.

That didn’t make any difference. In retrospect, the train of thought in the White House at the time is clear: How long can we keep the forged documents from the public? A few months? In that case we can use the documents to get Congress to endorse war with Iraq and then wage it and win it before anyone discovers that the “evidence” was bogus.

In addition, the administration has very artfully taken advantage of the trauma of September 11. So, for example, al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were always mentioned in the same breath, without any proof of a connection between the two.

Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels said that, if you repeat something often enough, the people will believe it. On October 7, 2002 Bush said, without any evidence to support it, that what is to be feared is that in Iraq’s case, the “smoking gun” could come in the form of a “mushroom cloud.” National Security Adviser Rice repeated this on October 8, and Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke did so on October 9. On October 11 Congress voted for war.

And no one saw through this?

This is largely the fault of US mainstream media. No one told the people what was really going on.

But doesn’t the US press have a reputation for good investigative reporting?

It did once. But that reputation goes back 30 years to the time of Vietnam and Watergate. The investigative reporting of those days is a thing of the past. The mainstream press now marches to the drumbeat of the administration.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious madness in Ulster
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail