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

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sy Hersch: Conspiratorial Kapo

At least, that's what he's become since W. was elected in 2000. I was listening to Allman & Smash on 97.1 FMTalk here in St Louis this morning and they were discussing this "news" article by Seymour Hersch in the New Yorker. The focus of the discussion was why Hersch felt no obligation to name his sources - who were essentially providing fodder to the conspiratorial claim that the Zionists run the world and are in a cabal with the US government in the Middle East. Anyway, here are the important bits from the story:

Washington’s interests in Israel’s war.
Issue of 2006-08-21
Posted 2006-08-14

In the days after Hezbollah crossed from Lebanon into Israel, on July 12th, to kidnap two soldiers, triggering an Israeli air attack on Lebanon and a full-scale war, the Bush Administration seemed strangely passive. “It’s a moment of clarification,” President George W. Bush said at the G-8 summit, in St. Petersburg, on July 16th. “It’s now become clear why we don’t have peace in the Middle East.” He described the relationship between Hezbollah and its supporters in Iran and Syria as one of the “root causes of instability,” and subsequently said that it was up to those countries to end the crisis. Two days later, despite calls from several governments for the United States to take the lead in negotiations to end the fighting, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that a ceasefire should be put off until “the conditions are conducive.”

The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preĆ«mptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.
First, note that former intelligence & diplo officials are a source, but Sy is unwilling to provide us with the names. For such a scurrilous and inflammatory charge, surely Sy would require them to be on the record in order for him to use them as a source, right?

Second, I hope that the US recognizes that an attack against Hezbollah Command & Control would "ease" Israel's security concerns... since that's just a statement of fact.

Third, I also hope that any useful information about success rates of attacking heavily fortified positions designed by Iran & Syria is being sought out by the US. Doesn't Sy want the Bush Administration to be "curious?"
Israeli military and intelligence experts I spoke to emphasized that the country’s immediate security issues were reason enough to confront Hezbollah, regardless of what the Bush Administration wanted. Shabtai Shavit, a national-security adviser to the Knesset who headed the Mossad, Israel’s foreign-intelligence service, from 1989 to 1996, told me, “We do what we think is best for us, and if it happens to meet America’s requirements, that’s just part of a relationship between two friends. Hezbollah is armed to the teeth and trained in the most advanced technology of guerrilla warfare. It was just a matter of time. We had to address it.”

Hezbollah is seen by Israelis as a profound threat—a terrorist organization, operating on their border, with a military arsenal that, with help from Iran and Syria, has grown stronger since the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon ended, in 2000.
For some reason, I don't get the feeling that Sy shares this view of Hezbollah...
According to a Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking of both the Israeli and the U.S. governments, Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah—and shared it with Bush Administration officials—well before the July 12th kidnappings. “It’s not that the Israelis had a trap that Hezbollah walked into,” he said, “but there was a strong feeling in the White House that sooner or later the Israelis were going to do it.”

Aha!! A Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking in both Irsael & the US. And someone whose view on the matter is that the US and the Zionists were plotting to beat up on poor, helpless Hezbollah at a moments notice. I have a couple of possible sources - at least, people who have said similar things in the past:
  1. Hasan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah
  2. Achmenadijaljasd, President of Iran
  3. Osama Bin Ladin
  4. Any number of neo-Nazi websites
Just saying.... when Sy is unwilling to name his sources, I guess I am expected to just figure out for myself who his sources are.
The Middle East expert said that the Administration had several reasons for supporting the Israeli bombing campaign. Within the State Department, it was seen as a way to strengthen the Lebanese government so that it could assert its authority over the south of the country, much of which is controlled by Hezbollah. He went on, “The White House was more focussed on stripping Hezbollah of its missiles, because, if there was to be a military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it had to get rid of the weapons that Hezbollah could use in a potential retaliation at Israel. Bush wanted both. Bush was going after Iran, as part of the Axis of Evil, and its nuclear sites, and he was interested in going after Hezbollah as part of his interest in democratization, with Lebanon as one of the crown jewels of Middle East democracy.”

Administration officials denied that they knew of Israel’s plan for the air war. The White House did not respond to a detailed list of questions. In response to a separate request, a National Security Council spokesman said, “Prior to Hezbollah’s attack on Israel, the Israeli government gave no official in Washington any reason to believe that Israel was planning to attack. Even after the July 12th attack, we did not know what the Israeli plans were.” A Pentagon spokesman said, “The United States government remains committed to a diplomatic solution to the problem of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program,” and denied the story, as did a State Department spokesman.

The United States and Israel have shared intelligence and enjoyed close military coƶperation for decades, but early this spring, according to a former senior intelligence official, high-level planners from the U.S. Air Force—under pressure from the White House to develop a war plan for a decisive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities—began consulting with their counterparts in the Israeli Air Force.

“The big question for our Air Force was how to hit a series of hard targets in Iran successfully,” the former senior intelligence official said. “Who is the closest ally of the U.S. Air Force in its planning? It’s not Congo—it’s Israel. Everybody knows that Iranian engineers have been advising Hezbollah on tunnels and underground gun emplacements. And so the Air Force went to the Israelis with some new tactics and said to them, ‘Let’s concentrate on the bombing and share what we have on Iran and what you have on Lebanon.’ ” The discussions reached the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he said.

The story goes further and it's clear that those that he cite as sources clearly do not see the conspiratorial hand that Sy and his "Middle East Expert" see. But, there are a few intriguing things about this piece. First, it is actually a political hit-piece against the evil Cheney and Rumsfeld - and it appears to be driven by foreign policy "realists" (who are no fans of Bush - or reality) and opponents from the Democratic party, such as Wesley Clark.

Second, I did a quick Google search on Sy to find this article. It is amazing how derange Sy has become over the years. Here is a list of a few hits that Google returned:
  1. Wednesday, January 26th, 2005 - Seymour Hersh: "We've Been Taken Over by a Cult." In this interview with Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow (such a hottie!), he discusses how a "cult" of 8 or 9 neocons have taken over the government
  2. Journalist: U.S. planning for possible attack on Iran - "The Bush administration has been carrying out secret reconnaissance missions to learn about nuclear, chemical and missile sites in Iran in preparation for possible airstrikes there, journalist Seymour Hersh said Sunday"
  3. Annals of National Security: Get Out The Vote - Did Washington try to manipulate Iraq’s election? by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker [US]- July 18th, 2005
Clearly these are not the writings of an investigative journalist. They would be more appropriate appearing on the pages of, Al Jazeera, and/or

It seems that, to Sy Hersch, any world event can be explained by the conspiratorial manipulations of neo-cons, Zionists, and the dark overlord / sith master of them all, Dick Cheney. I find this type of argument tiring and troubling. Not only is it not constructive for discussion, but it feeds into the pre-conceived fantasies of our enemies: the Islamofascists. Giving such legitimacy to conspiracy theories like this only hurts us along with the Israelis in our civilizational struggle against the Islamists.

What makes it more troubling is that Sy Hersch is one of God's chosen people himself, meaning that he truly earns the moniker, "Kapo."

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler