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
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
David Yearsley
Handel’s Executioner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail