Monday, May 17, 2004

Desperate Rumsfeld and His Aide:
Good Luck Fucking With Seymour Hersh

Any sane politician knows it's a bad idea to call an award-winning, widely respected journalist a liar.
With "sane" being the keyword, Donald Rumsfeld and his lackey, Pentagon spin doctor Lawrence Di Rita, called an article Seymour Hersh wrote for The New Yorker, "pure, unadulterated fiction."

That translates to them calling Hersh a liar.

In the article, Hersh wrote that Rumsfeld and Stephen A. Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, approved the use of the tougher interrogation techniques in Iraq in 2003 to extract better information from Iraqi prisoners to counter the growing insurgency threat in the country.
Hersh said, "According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon's operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq."

Basically, Hersh's latest article focuses new attention on the burning question in the prisoner abuse scandal: exactly who ordered the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners?
Rumsfeld said the orders were carried out by lower-level forces, without the approval of senior commanders.
The article suggests that Rumsfeld and Cambone have shifted the blame from top civilians at the Pentagon to lower-level military police guards.

Someone is not telling the truth.
Which side is lying? Who are the players?

We know who Rumsfeld is.
He's the one who said publicly, the rules for prisoner treatment as set forth in the Geneva Conventions "didn't apply in this situation."
When questioned about his smoking gun statement, he quibbled, "I meant in Afghanistan, not Iraq."

He works for George W. Bush.
Bush is the man who convinced Congress that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction that necessitated America's urgent need to start a war with that country.
More than a year later, the only "weapon" discovered has been a single artillery shell, containing a small amount of serin gas. Experts say the unmarked shell appeared to be old, possibly a relic of the Persian Gulf War.
Did Bush lie, too? You decide.

So, who is this Seymour Hersh? Is he the type to make up a pack of lies just to sell a story?
You decide.
In 1969, freelancer Hersh wrote the first account of the Mei Lei massacre in South Viet Nam. That story effectively turned the American public against the war by exposing the darkest side of the American military involvement in it.
Historians consider the Hersh Mei Lei article the most important piece of journalism of that era.

In the 70's, Hersh worked as a reporter for the New York Times in New York and Washington, DC.
He has won more than a dozen major journalism prizes, including a Pulitzer for International Reporting and four George Polk Awards.
To put those awards in perspective, in the field of journalism the Pulitzer Prize is like an Oscar and the Polk is like an Emmy. There are no higher honors awarded in journalism, these are the ultimate.
Hersh also has authored six books, including, "The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House," which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award.
In researching this story, I found no evidence of Hersh's credibility ever being questioned in the past.

Bush and the White House seem to use the tactic of discrediting anyone who challenges them or disagrees with them. They think it's okay to call anyone a liar or fraud without any regard for the inevitable evidence their victims must supply to salvage their careers and reputations.
They offer no apologies when their allegations are proven false.

This tactic was most evident when they challenged the war record of John Kerry.
Their allegations that Kerry's medal winning heroism was fraudulent have been debunked by many distinguished veterans who served on the battlefield with Kerry and witnessed firsthand his heroics.

Maybe it's because I worked as a journalist and rigorously adhered to the ethical standards set forth by the Society of Professional Journalists, but I get very offended when I hear politicians casually calling world reknown journalists liars.

Having heard countless, proven lies spewed forth by the Bush administration, this is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black.

I think it's appalling that Rumsfeld and his goons have gotten so desperate, they'll say or do anything to cover their asses. They have no shame, no conscience, no sense of propriety and no respect for the reputations of those who corner them.

Calling one of America's most respected journalism professionals a liar might buy them some time, the journalism community is like any professional group. They protect their own when one is singled out for unfair, dishonest allegations.

Good luck, Rummy.

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