Thursday, May 28, 2015

Seymour Hersh and anti-Americanism on the left

Hersh's conspirators

I've written before about the part of the country's liberal/progressive left wing that essentially thinks the United States is the Bad Guy in both national and international affairs. These folks pounced gleefully on Seymour Hersh's phony, poorly-sourced story in the London Review of Books about The killing of Osama bin Laden.

Not surprising that Code Pink, recently in Iran with the 9/11 truthers, approved, as did the liberal Daily Kos.

Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll (below in italics), with some weasly reservations, also buys Hersh's story:

The people who get excited about things are currently excited about Seymour Hersh’s revelations (or allegations---the choice is yours) that many lies were told about the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden.

Carroll clearly makes "the choice" that President Obama and the US government are lying about how bin Laden was killed.

Hersh, based on numerous interviews (including some that are hardly sourced at all), contends that the Obama administration fashioned a narrative that valorized American intelligence services and made bin Laden’s death a moment of sweet, uncomplicated revenge. With, don’t forget, a traditional Muslim burial at sea. Because we care.

"Hardly sourced"? Actually, Hersh relies on anonymous sources and others with little credibility. Bin Laden was buried at sea for obvious reasons, since burying him anywhere on land would have created a permanent place of pilgrimage for the Islamic fanatics.

Media thinkers were thinking that Hersh was an unreliable crank, a “conspiracy theory” nut who just likes to, you know, make things up. This is the man who broke My Lai and probed Abu Ghraib, a titan in the land of the teeny. He’s not always been right, but his willingness to go find the deepest, darkest American secrets is a beacon to the rest of us.

Since My Lai it seems like Hersh has been wrong more often than not over the years, with an anti-American, anti-Israel bias in his pseudo-scoops.

And, really, is there any doubt that Obama (and his military handlers) were fabricating stuff out of gossamer and elf dreams? I mean, did you even buy it at the time? Did it not occur to you that “Zero Dark Thirty” was fiction? There was even an uplifting woman’s angle! Oscar-ready!

Zero Dark Thirty never pretended to be anything but fiction. In many ways it was an annoying movie, like the apparent assumption that realism requires everyone saying "fuck" a lot. The movie's account of killing of bin Laden, however, seems to be more or less how it happened.

Personally, I don’t care who killed Osama bin Laden. He’d be dead by now if he weren’t already dead. Bin Laden’s death did not destroy al Qaeda. It did not slow the growth of the idea that jihad against the United States and its allies is a real good idea. Mostly, it made us look like bullies. Again.

No one claimed that killing bin Laden would destroy al Qaeda, and the war against the suicidal, homicidal Islamic fanatics, as Christopher Hitchens warned years ago, will go on for the rest of our lives. And we're "bullies" because we killed the guy who organized the 9/11 attacks that killed more than 3,000 Americans?

I always thought Obama’s bragging about killing bin Laden was embarrassing. So we got one guy. Are you noticing that we’re actually still losing the war even though we’re technically not fighting it anymore? Has anything changed? I’m glad that Seymour Hersh is still writing. But if the headline is, “Even governments with advanced views of social justice lie,” then I’m going to spend some more time on the “Mad Men” discussion boards.

Yes, Carroll would surely be more credible writing about Mad Men or his cats than inflicting this foolishness on his readers. But his is a common assumption on the left---that the whole war on terror thing is just another phony war cooked up by our wicked government, that if we would just leave the Islamic fanatics alone---and let them destroy Israel---they would stop trying  to kill Americans.

In an interview Hersh did two years ago:

Hersh returns to US president Barack Obama. He has said before that the confidence of the US press to challenge the US government collapsed post 9/11, but he is adamant that Obama is worse than Bush"Do you think Obama's been judged by any rational standards? Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq? Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now, what the hell does he want to go into another one for. What's going on [with journalists]?" he asks (emphasis added).

President Obama wanted to close Guantanamo as soon as he took office, but Congress wouldn't let him, passing a law to prohibit transferring the prisoners to a prison in the US. Obama is ending our involvement in Afghanistan, ended our military involvement in Iraq, and is only reluctantly being dragged back into it because of ISIS. He of course vetoed the idea of "going into Syria."

Max Fisher on Hersh's bin Laden story.

Hersh comes unglued in a Slate interview.

An account of Hersh's ugly, book-length hit on President Kennedy.

Hersh doesn't think Iran has a nuclear weapons program. It's all, you understand, about "Jewish money."

The people who get excited about things are currently excited about Seymour Hersh’s revelations (or allegations — the choice is yours) that many lies were told about the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden.

Hersh, based on numerous interviews (including some that are hardly sourced at all), contends that the Obama administration fashioned a narrative that valorized American intelligence services and made bin Laden’s death a moment of sweet, uncomplicated revenge.

With, don’t forget, a traditional Muslim burial at sea. Because we care.

Such a digital storm brewed up. Media thinkers were thinking that Hersh was an unreliable crank, a “conspiracy theory” nut who just likes to, you know, make things up. This is the man who broke My Lai and probed Abu Ghraib, a titan in the land of the teeny. He’s not always been right, but his willingness to go find the deepest, darkest American secrets is a beacon to the rest of us.

And, really, is there any doubt that Obama (and his military handlers) were fabricating stuff out of gossamer and elf dreams? I mean, did you even buy it at the time? Did it not occur to you that “Zero Dark Thirty” was fiction? There was even an uplifting woman’s angle! Oscar-ready!

Personally, I don’t care who killed Osama bin Laden. He’d be dead by now if he weren’t already dead. Bin Laden’s death did not destroy al Qaeda. It did not slow the growth of the idea that jihad against the United States and its allies is a real good idea. Mostly, it made us look like bullies. Again.

I always thought Obama’s bragging about killing bin Laden was embarrassing. So we got one guy. Are you noticing that we’re actually still losing the war even though we’re technically not fighting it anymore? Has anything changed?

I’m glad that Seymour Hersh is still writing. But if the headline is, “Even governments with advanced views of social justice lie,” then I’m going to spend some more time on the “Mad Men” discussion boards.

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