For Summer Viewing: 3 recent video interviews of Ray


Two weeks before bussing up to the Bronx for his 55th college reunion, and then from JFK to Germany and Russia for the rest of June, Ray gave a series of interviews to Regis Tremblay, a colleague from Veterans For Peace and an accomplished documentary maker.


Regis has broken his footage down into three segments: (1) on the media; (2) on Israel’s influence on (otherwise un-understandable) U.S. policy on Syria; and (3) Ukraine.


Below is the link to the first, which runs for 12 minutes.  (We will post the other two links in the coming days.) In the first segment, Ray talks about the regrettable but undeniable demise of the Fourth Estate and the happy emergence of a Fifth Estate.  To put some flesh on his remarks, he includes a painful personal experience with some longtime friends and classmates from the New York area, who still think that by reading the New York Times they know what’s going on – like in the old days.


Ray had been looking forward to the next five-year reunion with classmates, just two weeks after the interviews with Regis Tremblay.  This seems to be what prompted him to describe an earlier experience confronting distinguished Fordham alumnus (now Fordham Trustee) Gen. Jack Keane, at Ray’s 50th reunion of Fordham College five years ago.


In 2011 Keane was celebrating his 45th from Fordham’s Business School and had been asked to give a lecture to our Jubilee class of 1961 and others celebrating another five years away from Fordham (and still alive). All dolled up in Fox News attire and calculating (correctly) that his audience would be malnourished on accurate information, Keane gave an unconscionably alarmist account of the danger posed by Iran, which he claimed was about to get a nuclear weapon.  Discomforting as it was to experience his classmates’ reaction to Ray’s speaking truth to power (something not very much encouraged at Fordham back in the day), Ray found the vignette worth telling – as a chilling illustration of the effects of the death of the Fourth Estate on otherwise well educated people.  The more so, since Jack Keane played a key role in thwarting a sensible change in the U.S. role in Iraq ten years ago.

(12 minutes)

Theater of the Absurd: With WikiLeaks publishing emails showing how the Clinton clique sabotaged Bernie Sanders’s campaign, the corporate media has displayed oddly misdirected outrage – outrage NOT at Clinton for cheating the hapless Bernie out of the nomination, but rather at Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yes, it was all Putin’s fault.  “Experts say” he stole the emails to enhance Donald Trump’s chances of winning the election.


It is a magnificent distraction; and it has worked so far.  With the “mainstream” media in Hillary’s corner, what can possibly go wrong?  Bête noire Putin, second only to Jack Palance as Central Casting’s evil incarnate, has been pilloried by Hillary and her media minions, who accuse Putin of giving the emails to WikiLeaks to discredit the Clinton campaign.  But why?


Unspoken is the (highly dubious) major premise that Putin would prefer to have Donald Trump’s manly – but highly UNPREDICTABLE – finger on the nuclear launch button to that of Hillary.  “Experts say” Putin is trying to embarrass Hillary to help Donald win.  The “logic” behind this premise is never spelled out.  But not a problem.  The pundits are in high dudgeon – and in high gear “proving” that Putin and Trump are in cahoots.


On July 26, RT’s Crosstalk hosted Daniel McAdams, George Szamuely, and Ray to discuss these surreal circumstances.  The program was aired on July 27.

(25 minutes)

When called to do the impossible, don’t laugh; just do it.

Ray McGovern and Miko Peled tackle the Bible. (34 min)

Genesis 18:1-15 was the first reading for Sunday worship on July 17.  Ray had agreed to preach on it, but on Saturday night realized he could use all the help he could get.  Just then, Ray’s good friend, justice activist Miko Peled, dropped out of the sky from California like a modern-day deus ex machina.  Miko agreed to apply his own life experiences to put some flesh on that Genesispassage about not laughing at seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Miko joined Ray in interpreting and applying the Genesis passage for the “8th Day Faith Community,” one of the “scattered churches” inspired by the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  An Israeli Jew uncommonly adept at doing the impossible, Miko Peled is a strong advocate for justice for Palestinians.  He authored The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.

The recording of Miko and Ray – like their exegesis – was non-professional; there is a several-second hiatus in a couple of spots, for example.

Vignettes from Miko’s life, however, are true treasure – and not to be missed.

(The Genesis passage is pasted in below in English; Miko read it in Hebrew as the rest of us tried to follow along with our English texts.)



Genesis:  18:8-15 

“ … then, under the tree Abraham served the three visitors himself, and they ate.  Then they asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?”  “She is there in the tent,” he answered.  One of them said, “Exactly a year from now I will come back, and your wife Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was behind him, at the entrance to the tent, listening.  Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah had stopped having her monthly periods.  So Sarah laughed to herself and said, “Now that I am old and worn out, can I still enjoy sex?  And, besides, my husband is old too.

Then God asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Can I really have a child when I am so old?  Is anything too difficult for the God?  As I said, exactly one year from now I will return and Sarah will have a son.”

Because Sarah was afraid, she denied it.  “I didn’t laugh,” she said.  “Yes, you did,” he replied.  “You laughed.”

U.S.-AFGHANISTAN – “Without Vision, the People Perish”

(a summing up; how generals, eagle scouts, and tough-gal-ism got – and is still getting – thousands of people killed, for no good reason)


Afghanistan: President Obama’s Vietnam

By Jonathan Marshall, July 24, 2016


Now we are told that 8,400 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan to “support Afghan forces” and “go after” terrorists, when Obama leaves the White House.  As Jonathan Marshall points out, the President asks us to take on faith that this is “in our national security interest – especially after all the blood and treasure we’ve invested in Afghanistan over the years.” (emphasis added)


And so it goes with our Lemming-in-Chief Barack Obama and those who lemmingly lead or follow him.  A cartoon comes to mind: Two lemmings are chatting while standing in the line going up to the cliff. One says to the other, “Of course we have to go over the edge. Anything else would dishonor all the lemmings that have gone before us.”  (NO way is this funny.)


On July 24, Consortiumnews decided to re-run an early piece (#1 below), noting that our young President had let himself be sucked into a fool’s errand (aka quagmire) in Afghanistan by be-medaled, be-ribboned, be-merit-badged, starry-eyed generals, Eagle Scout Robert Gates, and Hillary the Hawk.  (Anyone who had been around a while could have made the same quagmire call; it was a no-brainer.)


That re-run from the Archive, prompted a review of some of the pieces Ray wrote on Afghanistan during the crucial period (2009-2011) when feckless decisions bereft of experience and vision were being made.  Some of the items below have already been republished “from the Consortiumnews Archive.” To avoid confusion, they are listed below chronologically, in the order in which they were originally written.


Lastly, it seems appropriate to tack onto the end some wisdom from Rudyard Kipling – sadly; wisdom not required reading at West Point, the Ivies, or William and Mary.



1 –

Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President

(Originally published March 28, 2009)

July 24, 2016

Editor’s Note, From the Archive: With still no end in sight for the Afghan War, President Obama can’t say he wasn’t warned. Barely two months into his presidency in 2009, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern welcomed Obama to his own Vietnam quagmire.



2 –

Kipling Haunts Obama’s Afghan War

October 30, 2009



3 –

Heeding George Kennan’s Sage Advice [on Afghanistan]

November 3, 2009



4 –

Obama Ignores Key Afghan Warning

February 7, 2014

Editor’s Note; From the Archive:  As the 12-year Afghan War grinds to what many Americans see as failure, ex-Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other hawks won’t admit their counterinsurgency “surge” in 2009 was a waste of lives and money or that U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry was right when he warned President Obama, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote in 2010.

(Originally published Jan. 27, 2010)



5 –

Obama Misses the Afghan Exit Ramp [see Hillary Clinton favoring giving the generals “whatever they need.”]

June 24, 2010


“Obama’s main dilemma now is likely to be how to say “no” when, as seems inevitable, Westmoreland — sorry, I mean Petraeus — makes requests for more “surges” of troops into Afghanistan.  Petraeus is likely to tell Obama he must have additional forces, or he will go the way of McChrystal and invite removal — and then possibly run for president in 2012. In that case, Obama’s political advisers would probably say send more troops from wherever they might be scrounged up. …


“We may well end up with either a President Petraeus or another President Clinton in the person of Obama’s hawkish Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was one official praised by McChrystal’s wild-boy crew because she favored giving the general whatever troops he wanted.  A McChystal aide is quoted as saying, “She said, ‘If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.’” … (emphasis added)


“The tragedy is that all this is unnecessary. If President Obama could get beyond these ill-conceived short-term political considerations, he already has available some well-reasoned guidance as to how to extricate the United States from the Afghanistan morass.  He got solid advice last fall from retired Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, his ambassador in Kabul, who knows more about Afghanistan than Petraeus, McChrystal and special envoy Richard Holbrooke do, put together.”



6 –

What Obama Won’t Say Tonight

August 31, 2010

Editor’s Note: President Barack Obama’s aides say his speech Tuesday night marking the end of “combat operations” in Iraq will avoid the vainglorious aspects of President George W. Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003.  However, in this draft of a speech that Obama won’t give, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern suggests that the President pivot away from the phase-out of U.S. troops in Iraq and address the worsening quagmire in Afghanistan:



7 –

Petraeus Cons Obama on Afghan War

Sept. 24, 2010



8 –

“Giant” Holbrooke Failed on Afghan War

December 14, 2010



9 –

Obama Lacks Clarity on Afghan War [or Déjà vu all over again]

March 28, 2011



10 –

More U.S. Soldiers Die in Vain

August 7, 2011



11 –

Lemmingly, We Roll Along

August 19, 2011



… and finally (but, alas, too late)


From Rudyard Kipling


1 –

It is not wise for the Christian white
To hustle the Asian brown;
For the Christian riles
And the Asian smiles
And weareth the Christian down.

At the end of the fight
Lies a tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased;

And the epitaph drear,
A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East




2 –

… from ‘The Young British Soldier’


When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains 

An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier …

A soldier of the Queen!



3 –

If any question why we died,

Tell them, because our fathers lied.

Rep. Rick Larsen Bases Russia Policy on Myth

By David Swanson


Elizabeth Murray of VIPS, a member of our Center for Citizen Initiatives delegation to Russia in late June, was invited to speak at a small meeting on July 22 in Everett, Washington, with Congressman Rick Larsen.  “New Democrat centrist” Larsen showed himself (or professed to be) abysmally ignorant about which side is responsible for the marked increase in tension in Ukraine.  Were Larsen not a member of the House Armed Services Committee, his “ignorance” might be more credible.


A familiar dilemma: It is hard to tell which is worse: real, or feigned ignorance.  If it’s real, well, at least Larsen dovetails comfortably with 90 percent of Americans – malnourished as they are, to the point of starvation, on the reasons Russia reacted as it did to the Western-sponsored Putsch in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014.  His reaction, rather, points more to a synthetic kind of ignorance – witness how he ignored Murray’s offer to send him additional information on Ukraine.  (Don’t bother me with facts.)  In this piece, David Swanson includes Elizabeth Murray’s account of the cognitive dissonance Larsen seemed to be experiencing (poor fellow).

Ray discusses with Brad Friedman (1) Friday night’s attempted coup in Turkey and (2) damning evidence of tangible support by Saudi government officials for some of the 9/11 hijackers – or – The Importance of Being Earnest (with apologies to Oscar Wilde)


The damning evidence shines through clearly in the until-now-secret “28 pages” of the Joint Congressional Inquiry on 9/11, a redacted version of which was released Friday.  ‘Splaining it all, White House spokesman Josh Earnest chose not to be earnest, joshing instead about there being “no evidence” of Saudi government support for the hijackers.


If Socrates took the hemlock for “making the worst case appear the better,” the same remedy might be chosen for joshing in Earnest.  And some hemlock should be left for the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, who commented, “This matter is now finished.”  Sorry, Sheikh; not by a long shot.  That’s not how we do things in New York – much less in New Jersey.  You are up against the Jersey Girls and those of us who will not relent in supporting their determination that the real culprits of 9/11 be found and Justice be done.  You ain’t seen nothing yet.

(25 minutes; from 19:40 to 44:30.  Earlier, a 2-min. intro to the segment on Turkey starts at min. 15:53; intro of Ray begins at min. 18:15; discussion of the “28 pages” begins at 32:28)

Ray on Scott Horton re Russian and Ukraine

On Scott Horton’s radio show July 7, Ray gives a short tutorial on the recent history of Russia and Ukraine; how the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych was forced out of Kiev in a Western orchestrated coup d’etat on Feb. 22, 2014; but how NATO “statesmen” start this “phase” of history on Feb. 23, 2014 – as if what George Friedman (accurately) called “really the most blatant coup in history” never happened.  Scott gives Ray enough time to discuss how it all went down, the implications for what now happens in central Europe, and why VIPS decided to write its second corporate memo directly to Chancellor Angela Merkel right before the NATO summit in Warsaw.  Ray adds a word about his two weeks in Russia (including Crimea) in late June as part of a Center for Citizen Initiatives delegation.

(27 minutes)

Deterrence or Dialog? – Successful PR-show at NATO-Summit hides deep cracks

Abschreckung oder Dialog? – Erfolgreiche PR-Show bei NATO-Gipfel verdeckt tiefe Risse 

RT Deutsch  —  International 


by Rainer Rupp




Das hat es in der Geschichte der NATO-Gipfeltreffen noch nicht gegeben: Das in Englisch abgefasste Abschlusskommuniqué der NATO-Staatsoberhäupter und Regierungschefs gleicht diesmal einem Roman, mit 16.500 Wörtern auf über 30 Din-A4 Seiten. Die spontane Reaktion einer langjährigen ehemaligen Mitarbeiterin des NATO-Generalsekretariats in Brüssel auf dessen Inhalt lautete: “Ein deutlicheres Zeichen, dass man sich nicht einig war, kann es gar nicht geben”.

English: This had never happened before in the history of NATO summits.  The final communique was the size of a novel, with 16,500 words … The instinctive reaction of a former long-term worker in the NATO Secretary General office in Brussels to the communiqué:  “There can be no clearer sign of disunity.”


About the author, Rainer Rupp, whose (unusual!) experience gives him good insight into NATO matters.


(From Wikipedia)

Rupp grew up in West Germany.  As a student in Mainz, he was recruited to spy for East Germany on NATO.  Rupp provided 10,000 pages to his controllers, including the precise location plans for the deployment of cruise missiles and Pershing II missiles in Western Europe, as well as key NATO documents, which, of course were shared with the Soviet KGB.  He was captured after the Berlin Wall fell, and served 7 years in prison.


Rupp claims that his activities may have averted a nuclear war in the fall of 1983, a claim that is not entirely unfounded according to American experts.  In an interview for the British Channel 4 program, “1983: The Brink of Apocalypse” about exercise “Able Archer 83” (broadcast in the UK on 5 January 2008), he said that he sent an urgent message to his handlers that NATO was not preparing to launch a surprise nuclear attack against the USSR during the exercise. Rupp claimed his message was vital in preventing a Soviet pre-emptive strike against NATO forces.


Those who do not read German, but have interest, can use a Google (or other) translation.  Rupp’s article on the NATO summit in Warsaw is worth reading: