Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Real News: Ex-CIA Agent Ray McGovern on Obama's 'New World'

Transcript here.

McGovern: "The game is over with Iraq and so the question is how does this strategic change affect the real players in the area. The Israeli right wants a confrontation with Iran to keep US forces in the region. The US military leadership is against a "third front" but has to contend with Cheney.

Raymond McGovern is a retired CIA officer. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House for many of them. McGovern was born and raised in Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.
Obama states near the beginning of the speech...
"...we will keep a residual force to perform specific missions in Iraq, targeting any remnants of al-Qaeda, protecting our service members and diplomats, and training and supporting Iraq's security forces, so long as the Iraqis make political progress."
protecting our service members?

What? Is his "residual force" not going to be composed of service members?

so long as the Iraqis make political progress?

What right does Obama or anyone else in Washington have to determine what is Iraqi "political progress"?

A relevant quote from Armando at Talkleft this morning:

Why Should The Iraqi Gov't Need Leverage To Have US Troops Leave?
If you understand Iraq is a sovereign country, then you should understand that they should not have to have leverage at all in telling the United States to leave. The United States has no right to have troops in Iraq. Indeed, the ostensible purpose of the troop presence in Iraq is to assist the Iraqi government. Suppose the US, in good faith, disagrees with the Iraqi government's assessment of the situation. So what? If they ask you to leave, then you leave.

But of course the most amazing part of this is that the American People as well as the Iraqi government wants the United States to leave Iraq, but for the Bush Administration and John McCain, it does not matter what the people want.
Neither, for that matter, does it seem to matter to Barack Obama what the Iraqi government or the American people want.

Obama talks of keeping 'Residual Forces' in Iraq to fight al-Qaeda.

For anyone interested in fully informing themselves, I recommend Andrew Tilghman'a October 2007 article from The Washington Monthly...

The Myth of AQI
Fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq is the last big argument for keeping U.S. troops in the country. But the military's estimation of the threat is alarmingly wrong.
By Andrew Tilghman
By now, many in Washington have learned to discount the president's rhetorical excesses when it comes to the war. But even some of his harshest critics take at face value the estimates provided by the military about AQI's presence. Politicians of both parties point to such figures when forming their positions on the war. All of the top three Democratic presidential candidates have argued for keeping some American forces in Iraq or the region, citing among other reasons the continued threat from al-Qaeda.

But what if official military estimates about the size and impact of al-Qaeda in Iraq are simply wrong? Indeed, interviews with numerous military and intelligence analysts, both inside and outside of government, suggest that the number of strikes the group has directed represent only a fraction of what official estimates claim. Further, al-Qaeda's presumed role in leading the violence through uniquely devastating attacks that catalyze further unrest may also be overstated.

Having been led astray by flawed prewar intelligence about WMDs, official Washington wants to believe it takes a more skeptical view of the administration's information now. Yet Beltway insiders seem to be making almost precisely the same mistakes in sizing up al-Qaeda in Iraq.
How big, then, is AQI? The most persuasive estimate I've heard comes from Malcolm Nance, the author of The Terrorists of Iraq and a twenty-year intelligence veteran and Arabic speaker who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq. He believes AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq," according to Nance, "is a microscopic terrorist organization."