What could have possessed Prime Minister Maliki to rush headlong into a battle he was thoroughly unprepared for? The Bush Administration has responded with certainty about only one thing: they were not involved in the planning. But former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says that Maliki "can't scratch his nose without asking Petraeus to make sure there aren't extra body guards around," much less plan an offensive without him. Moreover, McGovern suspects that that the initiation of the Basra offensive came not from Maliki, but from Vice President Cheney.
You might remember McGovern from his infamous 2006 encounter with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The exchange shed a ray of truth on what was otherwise a shady tenure for the now "resigned" neocon.
To briefly recap, McGovern began by reminding Rumsfeld that he had formerly claimed he knew precisely where the WMDs were in Iraq. Rumsfeld, unable to ignore a man who provided daily intelligence briefings for both Presidents Reagan and H. W. Bush, defiantly interrupted. "I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were."
"You said you knew where they were: 'Near Tikrit, near Baghdad, and East, West, South and North somewhat" McGovern said, referencing Rumsfeld's appearance on ABC three years earlier. Rumsfeld, rendered speechless, scrambled to change the subject.
McGovern, who founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, shared with me his unique perspective on Petraeus and Crocker's recent testimonies.
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