ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, November 28, 2005

Seymour Hersh: Real Journalist or Screenwriter?

This Seymour Hersh article is getting rave reviews on DemocraticUndergound. However, I have some serious questions about it... it fits all of the DU/Kossack talking points and has very little sourcing. I wonder whether or not Seymour isn't just making this stuff up - very little of it could be considered "new news", especially if you've been reviewing Kossack and DUer comment threads over the past 5 years. It's like he's writing a screenplay - not a news column. Here's a sampling of the New Yorker piece from DU (be sure to read the comments!):

UP IN THE AIR
Where is the Iraq war headed next?
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
Issue of 2005-12-05

A key element of the drawdown plans, not mentioned in the President’s public statements, is that the departing American troops will be replaced by American airpower. Quick, deadly strikes by U.S. warplanes are seen as a way to improve dramatically the combat capability of even the weakest Iraqi combat units. The danger, military experts have told me, is that, while the number of American casualties would decrease as ground troops are withdrawn, the over-all level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities would increase unless there are stringent controls over who bombs what.
***
Bush’s closest advisers have long been aware of the religious nature of his policy commitments. In recent interviews, one former senior official, who served in Bush’s first term, spoke extensively about the connection between the President’s religious faith and his view of the war in Iraq. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the former official said, he was told that Bush felt that “God put me here” to deal with the war on terror. The President’s belief was fortified by the Republican sweep in the 2002 congressional elections; Bush saw the victory as a purposeful message from God that “he’s the man,” the former official said. Publicly, Bush depicted his reĆ«lection as a referendum on the war; privately, he spoke of it as another manifestation of divine purpose.

The former senior official said that after the election he made a lengthy inspection visit to Iraq and reported his findings to Bush in the White House: “I said to the President, ‘We’re not winning the war.’ And he asked, ‘Are we losing?’ I said, ‘Not yet.’ ” The President, he said, “appeared displeased” with that answer.
***
“The President is more determined than ever to stay the course,” the former defense official said. “He doesn’t feel any pain. Bush is a believer in the adage ‘People may suffer and die, but the Church advances.’ ” He said that the President had become more detached, leaving more issues to Karl Rove and Vice-President Cheney. “They keep him in the gray world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway,” the former defense official said. Bush’s public appearances, for example, are generally scheduled in front of friendly audiences, most often at military bases. Four decades ago, President Lyndon Johnson, who was also confronted with an increasingly unpopular war, was limited to similar public forums. “Johnson knew he was a prisoner in the White House,” the former official said, “but Bush has no idea.”
***
The Air Force’s worries have been subordinated, so far, to the political needs of the White House. The Administration’s immediate political goal after the December elections is to show that the day-to-day conduct of the war can be turned over to the newly trained and equipped Iraqi military. It has already planned heavily scripted change-of-command ceremonies, complete with the lowering of American flags at bases and the raising of Iraqi ones.

Is ANY of this new information or anything that someone couldn't just guess at? I mean, go figure... when te US hands over military command to the Iraqis, there's going to be a changing of flags - who'da thunk it!?!?

And all of the unattributed quotes about Bush and God, the "Church", and the "religious nature of his policy committments" - it's a bit much. I seriously doubt that Bush ever said any of those things.

And finally, does anyone doubt that when (and if) the US begins supporting Iraqi troops with US airpower, the Kossacks and DUers will be attacking the US military for its callous attitude towards Iraqi civilians? No doubt Ted Rall will provide a handy cartoon... calling the American soldiers cowards for not facing the minutemen on the streets of Iraq.

And just in case you were wondering what happened to the tinfoil wearin', black-helicopter watchin' whackos that used to inhabit the right, they're now on the Left:
17. You're right about the disaster kits. I've actually started stocking
up on water lately. Haven't started shooting lessons or obtained a gun, but this NE, life-long liberal dem. has started looking at the govt. very differently lately and these ideas look different than ever before...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler