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

August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail