[R-G] "eight or nine neocons...take charge"
ve2ndw at rac.ca
Fri Oct 15 08:24:25 MDT 2004
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh spills the secrets
by Bonnie Azab Powell . UC Berkeley News . 11 October 2004
Berkeley--The Iraq war is not winnable, a secret U.S. military unit
has been "disappearing" people since December 2001, and America has no
idea how irreparably its torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison has
damaged its image in the Middle East. These were just a few of the grim
pronouncements made by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter
Seymour "Sy" Hersh to KQED host Michael Krasny before a Berkeley audience
on Friday night (Oct. 8).
The past two years will "go down as one of the classic sort of
failures" in history, said the man who has been called the "greatest
muckraker of all time" and (paradoxically) the "enfant terrible of
journalism for more than 30 years." While Hersh blamed the White House and
the Pentagon for the Iraq quagmire and America's besmirched world image,
he was stymied by how it all happened.
"How could eight or nine neoconservatives come and take
charge of this government?" he asked. "They overran the
bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the
press, and they overran the military! So you say to yourself,
How fragile is this democracy?"
>From My Lai to Abu Ghraib
That fragility clearly unnerves him. Hersh summarizes his mission as
"to hold the people in public office to the highest possible standard of
decency and of honesty...to tolerate anything less, even in the name of
national security, is wrong." He tries his best. More than any other U.S.
journalist alive today, he embodies the statement that "a patriot must
always be ready to defend his country against his government," a belief
defined by the conservationist Edward Abbey.
His country has not always thanked him for it--neocon Pentagon
adviser Richard Perle has called Hersh "the closest thing we have to a
terrorist," while his 1998 book on John F. Kennedy's administration, "The
Dark Side of Camelot," cost him many friends on the left. But Hersh's
reputation remains more bulletproof than most. The author of eight books,
he first received worldwide recognition (and the Pulitzer) in 1969 for
exposing the My Lai massacre and its coverup during the Vietnam War.
1982's "The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House," painted
Henry Kissinger as a war criminal and won Hersh the National Book Critics
Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography.
"We operate on guilt, [Muslims] operate on shame. The idea
of photographing an Arab man naked and having him simulate
homosexual activity, and having an American GI woman in the
photographs, is the end of society in their eyes."
The story seemed to leave Hersh sincerely, deeply saddened. While his
critics may call him a "muckraker" and unpatriotic, on Friday night it was
obvious that Hersh takes the crumbling of America's image, very, very
"My parents were immigrants," Hersh said. "They came here because
America meant something...the Statue of Liberty and all that stuff,
because America always was this bastion of morality and integrity and a
place for a fresh start. And it's right in front of us, not hidden, that
they've taken this away from us." #
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