Monday, October 23, 2006
Tells People at Church Conference that Lies Led to War in Iraq
by Michael Yoder
"Ray McGovern has seen the inner workings of the intelligence world and believes the United States is in desperate need of rediscovering its morality.
The former CIA intelligence officer and Iraq War critic addressed the audience at Lancaster Church of the Brethren Sunday afternoon as the feature speaker at the Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness Fall Forum.
His speech, "Prospects for a Moral U.S. Policy in the Middle East," focused on the ethical dilemmas facing the American public and lawmakers and ways to use faith to point the country's moral compass back in the right direction.
McGovern's group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, has spent the last three years lobbying the Bush administration to admit to what it calls the "lies" that led to the Iraq War.
He said the current presidential administration is in need of a "sanity check," a term he said goes back to his days at the CIA, when analysts consulted with each other to find the truth.
"Prevarication, disingenuousness, untruthfulness -- they won't do anymore," McGovern said. "We need to call lies 'lies.'"
McGovern spent 27 years as an analyst in the CIA, preparing the daily security briefs for the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations in the 1980s.
He said he was drawn to the CIA as a group that gave "straight talk with honest answers" to policy-makers. He said the quote enshrined on the floor of the CIA's entrance, "You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free," is a motto he tried to live.
But now the intelligence community has taken a "faith-based approach" to data about threats, McGovern said.
McGovern said the cowardice of Congress has brought it to passing the Military Commission Act, describing it as the "enabling act," ending habeas corpus for people deemed "enemy combatants" and permitting the use of torture methods.
He said now is the time to go out of the way to do something to bring back morality and that most Americans have been reluctant to go out and risk something to make a difference.
"If there's nothing for which you'd risk that neck, then it has become your idol," McGovern said. "And necks are not worthy of idol worship." "