Close call


Four years ago this week, I forwarded this now-prescient speech by Ray Close:

It’s a long read, but remarkable in how accurately he anticipated the problems that would arise from this administration’s folly.  Well worth reading a second time (or a first, if you’re relatively new to this list).

I called Mr. Close this morning, after re-reading his speech.   I was curious about a section in it where he more or less restates the administration’s spin on Iraq’s WMDs (chemical and biological — he never bought the “nucular” myth).  He told me that his position then was based mainly on Colin Powell’s presentation of information that even Powell now admits was intentionally misleading.  Whether the intent to mislead was on Powell’s part or not would make for an interesting discussion, but the fact is, Powell drank the poison cool-aid and has been more or less marginalized ever since.

Anyway, my conversation with Ray Close was very interesting but depressing.  I’m probably butchering his points, but he feels like we have now created in Iraq a situation that is as impossible to resolve as the factional/sectarian conflicts in Lebanon and Israel/Palestine.   He is hopeful that the American military will resist pressure to attack Iran (but who knows about Israel?).   And he did like my fantasy of turning Guantanamo into a modern-day Spandau for Bush and Cheney and the rest of their neoconsorts, an appropriately symbolic place (on so many levels!) for them to shuffle away their lives in orange jumpsuits as international war criminals.

PS (there’s always a PS, isn’t there?) — Google “ray close cia” (without the quotes) and lots of interesting things will turn up.  One of these is an article from last summer by Charles Glass:

In it, Glass says that Ray Close “has written how his attempt to stage a pro-American coup in Iraq forced Baghdad into the Russian embrace.”  Glass adds, “Close, whose own forebears were missionaries in 19th-century Lebanon, has a new mission:  to prevent imperial adventures by the US and its Israeli client that devour the innocent and invariably fail.”

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