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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shuffling War, Terror Cabinet

Securing status quo at 1600 Pennsylvania
Editing, end comment by Carolyn Bennett

U.S. President Barack Obama is shifting CIA Director Leon Panetta to head Defense, Gen. David Petraeus to head the CIA, and proposing U.S. Marine General John Allen to replace Petraeus as U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

In comments today on Democracy Now, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern said he thinks the president has “made a terrible mistake.”

The CIA’s Analysis Division (distinct from its operations division) last year made two insightful estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan, McGovern said — “though you wouldn’t know from reading the New York Times or listening to Hillary Clinton

[The United States] … will never prevail [in Afghanistan] unless we can get the Pakistanis to seal the border and really cooperate with us [and]

[T]here isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that we [the U.S.] can persuade Pakistanis to cooperate with us because they see their interests in Afghanistan in a completely different way. It has to do with India.

“And nothing [U.S. Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton or [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral] Mike Mullen can say to the Pakistanis is going to persuade them [the Pakistanis] that they should not really worry about India [and] should worry just about terrorists. It isn’t going to work.”

As to Panetta’s claim his sending drone missiles on to Afghanistan and Pakistan is protecting the United States, McGovern asks —  

“Tell me how that works. Would some senator please ask Panetta ‘How does it work?’ How are you defending the United States?” What Panetta is really doing is “creating more terrorists,” McGovern says, “and that’s provable by just the interrogators who interrogate people caught in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Question: “‘Why did you come there?’”

Answer: “‘We came there because of the drones.
Answer: “‘We came there because of Guantánamo.
Answer: “‘We came there because of Abu Ghraib.’

“We create our own terrorists,” McGovern continues.

“Panetta is not and Petraeus is not going to be able to tell the President that — because he [Gen. David Petraeus] is not a disinterested party. What the President is entitled to is an unbiased, tell-it-like-it-is opinion. He won’t get that from Petraeus.”

“I think from that point of view Obama has made a terrible mistake.”

The status quo holds: “Our young people are being chewed up — sent over there by a poverty draft,” an unconscionable happening — “not to mention what’s happening to the militants that are being subjected to drone and other attacks.”  

Unconscionable indeed is the endless bleeding, the trauma to and displacement of Afghan and Pakistani civilians, the protracted destabilization of the entire Middle East, Persian, South Central Asia region.

Sources and notes
Democracy Now April 28, 2011, "Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern: Petraeus Will Expand Pro-War Agenda as New CIA Director," http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/28/former_cia_analyst_ray_mcgovern_petraeus

Ray McGovern is a former senior CIA analyst whose duties with the agency included preparing the President’s [under George H.W. Bush] Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence Estimates. McGovern is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

CIA chief Leon Panetta a year ago was quoted saying, “We have a responsibility to defend this country, and that’s what we’re doing and anyone who suggests that somehow, you know, we’re employing other tactics here that somehow violate international law are dead wrong. What we’re doing is defending this country. That’s what our operations are all about.”

During his tenure as CIA chief, Democracy Now reports, Panetta in the past two years “has led a massive escalation of the use of unarmed drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2008, the U.S. carried out 35 drone strikes in Pakistan. In 2010, Panetta’s first full year as CIA director, at least 117 strikes occurred. Panetta in the above quote was defending “the legality of the drone attacks.”


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