Monday, April 10, 2006

April Morning Reverie – or-

An Imaginary Conversation with Seymour Hersh

It’s a beautiful April morning , and I’d like to sit out back and enjoy it: (at my age, you never know if you’ll see another Spring) ; but I’ve got other things on my mind.

I find myself engaging in an imaginary conversation with “investigative reporter”, Seymour Hersh.

Me: Good morning, Mr. Hersh .

SH: (Expansively) Call me Sy. Everyone else does – and this IS an imaginary conversation.

Me: The Iran article of yours in The New Yorker created quite a stir.

SH: Which one ? The one back in 2005 about secret commandos operating in Iran, or the latest one about bombing Iran ?

Me: Both, actually. That 2005 article sort of surprised me: I hear the Iranians had their military and their secret police out combing the hills, searching for those commandos…

SH: What’s surprising about that ? I gave them everything but the GPS coordinates , but the Iranians were just incompetent !

Me: You wanted our people to be caught ?

SH: I just wanted the you-know-what to hit the fan , so that that evil bastard Rumsfeld, and that insane neo-con Death Cult in the White House could be swept from office.

Me: Ah, How about this latest story – about how we’re going to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iraq ? I believe you suggested we might use nuclear weapons ?

SH: What of it ?

Me: Well, it occurs to me we have about 120,000 of our troops in harm’s way, if Iran should decide to pre-empt this pre-emption you wrote about…

SH: And ?

Me: According to my notes, Iran has 350,000 in its army,about 20,000 in the navy, and about the same number in its air force/ missile forces.
It has a hefty inventory of missiles that could reach Iraq , a robust chemical warfare capability, and a small-but-advanced biowarfare capability.

SH: Your point being ?

Me: Since Iran actually reads your articles , and apparently takes them seriously, aren’t you deliberately putting American lives at risk by reporting a story the Administration and the British Government say is totally ridiculous ?

SH: (Heatedly) American lives would not be at risk if there were no Americans in Iraq in the first place !

Me: How about the claim your stories are …less than factual ?

SH: That’s outrageous ! Who has made such a claim ?

Me: Funny you should ask ! I’ve got one right here:

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

On the Web:
Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131 Public contact:
or +1 (703) 428-0711

No. 046-05
IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 17, 2005

Statement from Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence DiRita on Latest Seymour Hersh Article

The Iranian regime’s apparent nuclear ambitions and its demonstrated support for terrorist organizations is a global challenge that deserves much more serious treatment than Seymour Hersh provides in the New Yorker article titled “The Coming Wars.”

Mr. Hersh’s article is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed.

Mr. Hersh’s source(s) feed him with rumor, innuendo, and assertions about meetings that never happened, programs that do not exist, and statements by officials that were never made.

A sampling from this article alone includes:

 The post-election meeting he describes between the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not happen.
 The only civilians in the chain-of-command are the President and the Secretary of Defense, despite Mr. Hersh’s confident assertion that the chain of command now includes two Department policy officials. His assertion is outrageous, and constitutionally specious.
 Arrangements Mr. Hersh alleges between Under Secretary Douglas Feith and Israel, government or non-government, do not exist. Here, Mr. Hersh is building on links created by the soft bigotry of some conspiracy theorists. This reflects poorly on Mr. Hersh and the New Yorker.
 Mr. Hersh cannot even keep track of his own wanderings. At one point in his article, he makes the outlandish assertion that the military operations he describes are so secret that the operations are being kept secret even from U.S. military Combatant Commanders. Mr. Hersh later states, though, that the locus of this super-secret activity is at the U.S. Central Command headquarters, evidently without the knowledge of the commander if Mr. Hersh is to be believed.

By his own admission, Mr. Hersh evidently is working on an “alternative history” novel. He is well along in that work, given the high quality of “alternative present” that he has developed in several recent articles.
Mr. Hersh’s preference for single, anonymous, unofficial sources for his most fantastic claims makes it difficult to parse his discussion of Defense Department operations.

Finally, the views and policies Mr. Hersh ascribes to Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz, Under Secretary Feith, and other Department of Defense officials do not reflect their public or private comments or administration policy.

Me: Then there was that “expose” you did on the Jack Kennedy – you know: the involvement with Marilyn Monroe, the ties to the Mafia,and the chapters your publisher had to pull-because they were based on forged documents .

New York magazine did quite a “hit piece” on you – I’ve got a link to it somewhere or other – Here it is !

Me: So tell me, Sy: why on earth should anyone with half a brain believe your stories on Iran ?

SH: That’s MISTER HERSH to you ,smart-ass ! I’m outa here !

Me: Thank God for small favors !

Hey ! Look at those apple blossoms ! It’s a fine April morning again .


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