Friday, May 05, 2006

Retired CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Takes on Rumsfeld Over Justification for Iraq Invasion

photo©Laura Hanifin
In the broadcast of Democracy Now! (May 5th, 2006) Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld comes under fire from retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern at a speech in Atlanta.

Near the end Rumsfeld began taking questions from the audience. Ray McGovern, who spent 27 years as a C.I.A. analyst, asked the following:

    RAY McGOVERN: And so, I would like to ask you to be up front with the American people. Why did you lie to get us into a war that was not necessary and that has caused these kinds of casualties? Why?

    DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, I haven’t lied. I did not lie then. Colin Powell didn't lie. He spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence Agency people and prepared a presentation that I know he believed was accurate, and he presented that to the United Nations. The President spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence people, and he went to the American people and made a presentation. I'm not in the intelligence business. They gave the world their honest opinion. It appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.

    RAY McGOVERN: You said you knew where they were?

    DONALD RUMSFELD: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were, and we were --

    RAY McGOVERN: You said you knew where they were, “near Tikrit, near Baghdad, and northeast, south and west of there.” Those were your words.

    DONALD RUMSFELD: My words -- my words were -- no, no, no, wait a minute! Let him stay one second. Just a second.

    RAY McGOVERN: This is America, huh? Go ahead.

    DONALD RUMSFELD: You're getting plenty of play, sir.

    RAY McGOVERN: I'd just like an honest answer.

    DONALD RUMSFELD: I’m giving it to you.

    RAY McGOVERN: We're talking about lies and your allegation that there was bulletproof evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq. Was that a lie or were you misled?

    DONALD RUMSFELD: Zarqawi was in Baghdad during the prewar period. That is a fact.

    RAY McGOVERN: Zarqawi, he was in the north of Iraq, in a place where Saddam Hussein had no rule. That’s where he was.

    DONALD RUMSFELD: He was also in Baghdad.

    RAY McGOVERN: Yeah, when he needed to go to the hospital. Come on, these people aren't idiots. They know the story.

    DONALD RUMSFELD: You are -- let me give you an example. It's easy for you to make a charge, but why do you think that the men and women in uniform every day, when they came out of Kuwait and went into Iraq, put on chemical weapon protective suits? Because they liked the style? They honestly believed that there were chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons on his own people previously. He had used them on his neighbor, the Iranians. And they believed he had those weapons. We believed he had those weapons.

    RAY McGOVERN: That's what we call a non-sequitur. It doesn’t matter what the troops believe. It matters what you believe.

    MODERATOR: I think, Mr. Secretary, the debate is over. We have other questions, courtesy to the audience.

This small clip just shows the incapability of Donald Rumsfeld to come up with a real argument to defend his position that he did not lie. Indeed, the chemical weapons excuse story is a non-sequitur.

Also interesting was the fact that mister McGovern was actually not allowed to ask the very question he did. When he entered the hall he was given a small blurb about Rumsfeld:

I was met with this little blurb on Donald Rumsfeld, and as I read it, I had to chuckle. It says, “There’s going to be a question-and-answer period, but please adhere to these guidelines. Refrain from using the word ‘lie’ in relation to the war in Iraq. Do not question the secretary’s personal responsibility for torture. And please don’t discuss first use of nuclear weapons against Iran. If you violate these guidelines, you'll be immediately removed from the auditorium, flown to an undesignated prison location somewhere in Eastern Europe and tortured. Thank you for your cooperation. The World Cannot Wait.” A wonderful, wonderful group. Those were the folks that spoke up and tried to brace Donald Rumsfeld with the lies and their charges of him being -- and he is, arguably -- a war criminal. And we shouldn't shy away from saying that.

Read the full story here: Retired CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Takes on Rumsfeld Over Justification for Iraq Invasion
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