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"So This Is America?"

Tom Degan: Please, if you're looking for an authentic American hero, you need search no further than Ray McGovern. He is holding up a mirror for all to see.

Today's headline refers to Ray McGovern. Ray is a friend of my old pal Kevin Swanwick. I was introduced to Ray by Kevin a couple of years ago and you could not meet a more decent, gentle gem of a man. He happened to be attending a speech that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was giving last week at George Washington University. He was wearing a T-shirt which bore the image of a dove - not a bat, mind you (That would have been more my style!) - but a dove. He quietly got on his feet and turned his back toward Ms. Clinton. He didn't say a word. He didn't lunge toward her in any menacing way - he just stood there. It was merely a silent protest against the Obama administration's disastrous policies in Afghanistan. He was then summarily hustled out by a police officer and some goon in plainclothes.

ray mcgovern

While in custody he was bloodied up pretty good. At the moment he was seized, Clinton was criticizing the foreign leaders who would dare to oppress dissent. As he was being hauled away like a common criminal, he called out for all to hear, a rhetorical question which should resonate throughout the centuries"

"THIS IS AMERICA???"

Well, it was. Ray is seventy years old. I'm not making this up. From his Wikipedia biography:

"McGovern was a mid-level officer in the CIA in the 1960s where his focus was analysis of Soviet policy toward Vietnam. McGovern was one of President Ronald Reagan's intelligence briefers from 1981–85; he was in charge of preparing daily security briefs for Reagan, Vice President George H.W. Bush, the National Security Advisor, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Cabinet. Later, McGovern was one of several senior CIA analysts who prepared the President's Daily Brief (PDB) during the first Bush administration."

Hardly the makings of a left wing extremist, huh? As Swanwick remarked on his Facebook page the other day, "The guys who beat him probably have no idea what they owe him." Indeed. So what the hell, you may well ask, happened to the man that would turn him against the very government that he served so long, so well and so loyally? Simply put, Ray McGovern has seen the light. Maybe he found Jesus, who knows? This much is certain: the light he has seen he is now shining on a few uncomfortable truths.

And to anyone who wants to accuse him of being a partisan stooge, Ray's activism started during the Clinton administration. So there!

Ray was quoted three days ago on the website Press TV:

“There was no heckler. I was the person there. I said not a word. I stood silently with my back to the secretary, lest she get the idea that everyone in that whole auditorium agreed with her war mongering policies....I was standing silently, and I was jumped on by a man in a regular suit and then another person in a police uniform. I still don't know who jumped me, but I was taken outside where nobody was watching....For Hillary Clinton to be talking about peaceful means of protest in the same speech which she continued as she watched me directly in front of her being pounced upon and violated, is a little too much to take."

A little too much, alright. If the Secret Service were as on their toes as we are always led to believe, they must have been aware of McGovern's presence in the auditorium. Was it really necessary for them to rough up a man is not only well known, but who is a former military adviser to several chiefs executive? What is wrong with these people?

Ray's first major national exposure was five years ago when he confronted war criminal Donald Rumsfeld regarding America's illegal invasion of Iraq. Here is a transcript of that exchange which needs to be quoted in its entirety. It comes to us courtesy of the good folks at Democracy Now....Okay, I cut and pasted it without their permission. So sue me.

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—

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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.

Don't tell Amy Goodman, okay?

Please, if you're looking for an authentic American hero, you need search no further than Ray McGovern. He is holding up a mirror for all to see. Obviously there are some who don't quite care for what is being reflected. Who could blame them?

Tom Degan