Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern: My Take

More About: Bush Administration

Dear President Bush,

Raymond L. McGovern

Tell the Word
Church of the Saviour
2025 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
July 2, 2009
President George W. Bush
10141 Daria Place
Dallas, TX 74229

Dear President Bush,

With this note I hope to make sure you know that I have been invited by the Dallas Peace Center to lecture next Thursday evening, July 9, at a dinner at FunAsia in Richardson.  You and Mrs. Bush are cordially invited.

In my remarks I plan to focus on the subject of torture.  I shall draw on my thirty years in Army Intelligence and the CIA, as well as a lifetime of trying to follow Jesus of Nazareth.  I will take issue with your decision of February 7, 2002 that the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (August 12, 1949) does not apply to al Qaeda and Taliban detainees; and I will explore the implications of that decision.

Somehow it seemed not quite proper to come to Dallas without letting you know this in advance.  I also wanted to tell you that I would welcome a chance to discuss these issues with you—either privately or, better still, at the dinner itself.

Many have said they found informative the impromptu televised debate I had with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld three years ago in Atlanta.  On May 12 of this year, I had a similar public encounter with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, one of the addressees of your executive memorandum of February 7, 2002.  Our dialogue focused on torture, and my colleagues in the Harvard Business School Club of Washington, DC, have told me they found it instructive.

I have been less successful in personally engaging former Secretary of State Colin Powell, even though we had sustained (every-other-morning) professional contact during the early Eighties.  I did him the courtesy of pre-briefing him on information I was about to share during my early morning one-on-ones with his boss, Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger—except for the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) itself and other very sensitive materials earmarked exclusively for President Reagan, Weinberger, Secretary of State George Shultz, and, of course, your father, the vice president.

You are familiar with the PDB briefing process.  I was on the small team of PDB writers under Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan.  From 1981 to 1985 I not only helped produce the PDB, but also conducted one-on-one briefings of the handful of senior officials designated by President Reagan.  For me it was particularly rewarding to be once again in regular contact with your father, for whom I had worked during his brief stint as Director of Central Intelligence.

Were you to come to the dinner next Thursday, I have little doubt that an informative discussion would ensue—a give-and-take unfiltered by those more interested in getting a story than in getting at the truth.  I would be happy to give you a copy of my talk beforehand, so that you would know chapter and verse of what I intend to cover and have ample time to prepare your side of the give and take.

If you decide to attend and wish to take me up on this, please let me know the best way to get a copy of my talk to you.

With respect,


Ray McGovern

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