Thursday, November 04, 2004

Seymour Hersh Elucidates 

The Washington Post sponsored a post-election online chat session with Seymour Hersh, whose new book is Chain of Command. Highlights:

Monterey, Calif.: First and foremost, Mr Hersh, thank you for your important writing and vocal activism, and for joining us here today.

I've heard you speak a few times recently, and I recall you saying that if Bush were re-elected , "we're really in trouble."

Now that the worst has happened, would you discuss what your personal and/or political plans might be? I am most interested if you or any of your friends are planning to leave the US and live in another country for some time.

Thank you.

Seymour Hersh: leave america, and leave it to them? no way. got to slug it out.

Los Angeles, CA: Mr. Hersh, I am intrigued by your theory that the Iranians , not the Israelis, are the ones who pulled us into this war. Can you elaborate more please?
Also, do you have any information on who may have attempted to assassinate Mr. Chalabi several months ago?

Seymour Hersh: my point about the iranians is simply that they have emerged, or will emerge, from the mess in iraq as the big winners. the hated saddam is gone, america is stuck in a war it cannot win, and the religious leaders are more in control in iran than ever. not a bad trifecta.

Lyme, Conn.: To me, the report that Secretary Colin Powell stated we are losing the war in Iraq should be bigger news than it has received. I remember this movie before when it was titled "Viet Nam". How do we convince this Administration of the dangers of sending more troops to fight a nationalistic guerilla opponent in a country where more people have been killed by Americans than by Saddam Hussein and that seems willing to fight us for years if necessary?

Seymour Hersh: tough question, difficult answer. kerrey certainly did not have one. the answer may come from our military, but they are extremely reluctant to tell the white house the truth. that must change.

San Antonio, Tex.: Please explain to us why you're sullen and worried, as you posted in your first response? What are your greatest worries? Are they different from what you worry about for our nation?

Seymour Hersh: i worried about the inability to the men running the u.s. govt. to accept information that challenges their assumptions and their belief. it's very frightening and the fact is that our senior military are very reluctant to give bush and cheney and rumsfeld any bad news. sounds insane, doesn't it?

Washington, D.C.: Do you have any insight or opinion as to any potential shakeups in Bush's Cabinet? Word already is that Ashcroft is resigning. Will Powell go too (the only good guy, in my opinion, in the Administration)?

Seymour Hersh: ashcroft is to announce his leaving soon, i hear. powell will go, too, along with with armitage, his deputy who fought the fight against the neocons with much passion and intelligence. this is just what i'm hearing. bush does not confide in me, in case you wondered.

Toledo, Ohio: I find that remark about the "Poor black areas in Ohio had long lines" to be offensive. In Toledo the vote went 60% Kerry and the local dem running won all the local elections (Kaptur retained her seat). I stood in line for an hour to cast my vote. The reason for long lines -- did you ever try to vote in a room half the size of a hand ball court? On the national news I saw long lines at the colleges. As for your opinion of a lack of mandate. I remember President Clinton declaring a mandate in his first term. Look you can't read the future by reading tea leaves from last year. President Bush reached in his first term I remember Senator Kennedy standing with the President Bush when he signed the education bill. I also remember that 9/11, watched the steps of the Congress when the House and the Senate stood and promised to work together in dealing with terrorism. Then we come to election of 04. The White House is place in which the Leader of the United States neither Republican nor Demmocrat.

Seymour Hersh: i have talked to people of integrity and honor who worked in ghettos areas in cleveland and they came away appalled by the inequities, in terms of number of voting machines. it's either a fact or not, and i hope some officials look into it. clinton may have declared a mandate (i don't recall, but i accept your recollection), but it was not a mandate to continue or expand a very unpopular and controversial war that is killing our soldiers and many innnocents. not all mandates are the same.

San Francisco, CA: How can democrats demand that the administration be more transparent and responsive to our concerns? Do the republicans really have the unlimited power now to push their agendas that they seem to?

Seymour Hersh: crucial question, and thus far the bush crowd has been able to crush any attempts for more openness, in terms of how they develop policy, etc etc. there seems to be unlimiited power, given the passivity of the press and the congress, but i'm betting on the integrity of the military. we cannot do in combat what the white house wants done, and at some point the generals and admirals will have to tell the president the bad news. it won't come from us in the press, or in the congress, tho -- barring a huge change.

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