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Ray McGovern to Dana Milbank
What's happened to you? You were often quite good when you were on the Post's White House beat...perceptive�occasionally even courageous�especially in exposing White House dishonesty. Is that why you were taken off that beat and assigned yesterday to trivialize the historic proceedings in the Capitol basement and Congressman Conyers' courage in convening them?
You used to get your facts straight, at least. It appears that in your new assignment meticulousness is not a requirement. Even your "search of the congressional record" concerning mention of the Downing Street Minutes came up short. Do you not consider Sen. Harry Reid a member of Congress?
It troubles me that you should find it "awkward" that I mentioned Israel and its interests as perceived by the "neocons" as a motivating factor in the Bush administration's decision to launch an unprovoked war on Iraq. That, Dana, is a no-brainer. Let me suggest you simply familiarize yourself with the documents of the "neocon" Project for a New American Century.
I did not say that "Israel should not be considered an ally." I think the transcript will show that I simply noted the fact that Israel is not an ally of the United States. It is a point of fact. And I, for one, object not only to the president's repeated references to such an "alliance," but to his behaving as though there were one. Is it possible that he actually believes there is one? If so, I doubt that any in his shrinking circle of advisers would take the risk of disabusing him of that notion, particularly if his father's national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, is correct in saying that our current president has been "mesmerized" by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
I am among the first to defend Israel's right to exist within secure and internationally recognized borders, and to deplore our nation's slowness in recognizing and doing something to stop the Holocaust. (And I deplore violence of all kinds�whether against Israel, or initiated by it.) But, unless I am mistaken, an alliance requires a treaty ratified by the Senate. Have I missed something?
What is saddest of all is your willingness to be enlisted in the cabal against Rep. James Moran (D-VA). The record will show that Moran's question to the panel did NOT, as you write, include "wondering whether the true motive [for the attack on Iraq] was Iraq's threat to Israel." The thought was all mine, and I stand by it.
What does merit the word "awkward" is that I have to write you this note. I used to look forward to reading your column. Until now, I had thought that your professional standards�like those of an intelligence analyst�ruled out the kind of slant reflected in your column today.
Were I not to have admired your past record, I might even think you are campaigning for a Gold Star from your editors, since your inaccurate, tendentious report dovetails so well with their torturous effort to play down the implications of the Downing Street Minutes. Those minutes are, indeed, a smoking gun. You'll see.