July 11, 2008
Bushís New War

In todayís mail was a message from Mr. Edwin of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Mr. Edwin is a friend from the old days in Southeast Asia. He spent many years inside the world of black ops and secret war. It takes a lot to frighten him. He is frightened.

Everybody, I would hope, has read Seymour Hershís essential article in the last New Yorker: Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran. It is a vital piece, and an alarming one.

But until Mr. Edwin alerted me, I was unaware of Terry Grossís conversation with Hersh about his article, which was broadcast July 1 on NPRís Fresh Air. It runs for 45 minutes, but take the time to listen to it. Please.

The interview amounts to the authorís gloss on his own story: an assessment of his sources, his feelings about his discoveries, his astonishment at the cowardice of the Democratic leadership, his fears that the Lone Cheney and his faithful companion, Dubya, will trick us into another of their idiot wars before the 22nd Amendment drives them from office.

Itís fascinating and terrifying stuff.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at July 11, 2008 10:31 AM
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That's assuming, of course, that Cheney and Bush are willing to abide by the 22nd Amendment ;-]. Why would that particular law be special?

But seriously, folks, it's interesting compare Hersh's and Tom Engelhardt's takes. I start from the premise that Seymour Hersh is the most important reporter in the world today, or at least the English-speaking world since that's all I know. If he reports buzz among government officials about war with Iran, there's substance to his report, without a doubt.

But Hersh also has a bit of a dour disposition. Having covered the honor of governments American and foreign from My Lai to Israel's nuclear arsenal to KAL 007 to Abu Ghraib, he's entitled to some serious cynicism, and he generally turns out to be right. But it also happens that Hersh's warnings about what government is planning affect public opinion enough that the government in question has to change plans. And the side that is philosophically right wins some of the time, a fact that cynicism can obscure.

In the end, I'm still betting that the single most important issue here is the knowledge at the top levels of the military and civilian hierarchy that a war with Iran would be disastrous to us, regardless of what it does to Iran. I think what Adm. Mullen said recently about Iran shows what the Joint Chiefs think, and I'm sure they've read McMaster.

Certainly Cheney is trying to engineer one last heart attack for the world on his way out. But it's also clear that the Chiefs have seen this shtick and are not interested in being pilloried by the McMaster of Iraq.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on July 11, 2008 11:56 PM
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