Seymour Hersh: “We’ve Been Taken Over by a Cult”

Seymour Hersh has a riveting speech last month at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York last month.

The frightening thing about it is, we have no intelligence. Maybe it’s — it’s — it is frightening, we have no intelligence about what they’re doing. A year-and-a-half ago, we’re up against two and three-man teams. We estimated the cells operating against us were two and three people, that we could not penetrate. As of now, we still don’t know what’s coming next. There are 10, 15-man groups. They have terrific communications.

Somebody told me, it’s — somebody in the system, an officer — and by the way, the good part of it is, more and more people are available to somebody like me. There’s a lot of anxiety inside the — you know, our professional military and our intelligence people. Many of them respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as much as anybody here, and individual freedom. So, they do — there’s a tremendous sense of fear. These are punitive people.

One of the ways — one of the things that you could say is, the amazing thing is we are been taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way.

Seymour Hersh: “We’ve Been Taken Over by a Cult” [democracynow.org]

For more background on Hersh: Seymour Hersh – Wikipedia

THE GRAY ZONE: How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib. [newyorker.com] May 2005

and…

THE COMING WARS: What the Pentagon can now do in secret. [newyorker.com] Jan. 2005

Then this is awesome- the United States Department of Defense actually puts out a press-release to refute Hersh’s recent New Yorker piece. How awesome is that! When your own government is putting out press releases to refute you specifically, you’re probably doing some very good reporting.

Statement from Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence DiRita on Latest Seymour Hersh Article

5 comments on “Seymour Hersh: “We’ve Been Taken Over by a Cult”
  1. Christian Gates says:

    Gen, your lack of skepticism over Seymore Hersh’s grandstanding is unbelievable. His stories lack any sense of perspective and frequently contain material factual misrepresentations. His latest foray into grotesque irresponsibility were his bizarre allegations about U.S. commandos venturing into Iran. If this story is true, then publishing it is effectively the same as functioning as an Iranian intelligence agent, and working contrary to U.S. purposes. There’s a big difference between investigative journalism and acting as an agent provacateur, and exposing people safeguarding our rights to be idiots to unnecessary danger. This is the type of thing that might have gotten people killed.
    When dealing with a country like Iran, run by paranoid religious lunatics, even if the story is false it probably still got people killed, or tortured.
    This Hersh character is just the type of man who’s going to come out on the wrong side of history – just like the Soviet appologists from the cold war.
    My recommendation, Mr. Kanai, is that you remove your tinfoil hat for a second before putting this stuff out there as worthy of your acclaim.
    cdg

  2. Setsunai says:

    I agree with you on one point, Christian. It is indeed very dangerous to have countries run by “paranoid religious lunatics.” All kinds of basic freedoms go out the window. Come to think of it, isn’t that exactly the point Hersh is making too?

  3. Gen Kanai says:

    Gates, if Hersh didn’t have a long history of being one of the most respected journalists in American history (vis-a-vis his work on My Lai during Vietnam, among many other stories) I might agree with you. He’s already come out on the right side of “history” and for that Hersh deserves our respect and our attention.
    You saw the Kevin Sites (CNN) video of the US soldier who broke Geneva Conventions. My Lai is happening in Iraq today.

  4. Christian Gates says:

    I saw the portions of the Kevin Sites video that were released, and they raised a single question in my mind: why didn’t the Marines chuck a grenade in the room before entering? Given the large amount of “fake surrendering” going on, that particular guy’s actions may very well have been reasonable.
    Further, your reference to the Geneva Conventions reflects an ignorance of their scope. First of all, pretending to surrendor, or pretending to be dead, removes any special protections from a combatant. Lying face down, unmoving, making no attempt to point out that you’re alive, in a pool of blood looks an awful like pretending to be dead. Second, terrorist commandos from Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc. are not covered – technically, they can be lined up and shot summarily. In WWII they almost certainly would have been. The Geneva Conventions are designed to cover combat between uniformed soldiers of signatory nation-states, which describes the Iraqi insurgents not at all. If you contend that they do qualify, then we are in a physical shooting war with Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia and logically should prosecute it to its conclusion – via destruction of their respective military and political infrastructures.
    To your point, Hersh HAS done some good reporting in the past (the My Lai atrocity being the lead) – but he’s also, more recently, done a lot of speculative hit jobs of questionable veracity and tone because he apparently doesn’t like the idea of doing something to people that are trying to kill you.
    In this case in particular, exposing covert ops in Iran – a hostile country against whom we are engaged in a struggle of sorts – is irresponsible at best and reprehensible at worst. There’s a fairly significant difference between opposition to a policy (protected dissent), and attempting to foment policy change by getting Americans (and likey Iranians) killed (much, much more than protected dissent). If Hersh doesn’t like our Iranian policy, that’s great – I’m not sure I like it either. But this isn’t the way to go about changing it.
    He was right about My Lai in the proximal sense – but it’s easy to be tactically correct and strategically wrong (see Hannibal for the classic example).
    cdg

  5. Rene says:

    Gen Kanai:
    “My Lai is happening in Iraq today.”
    You mean, that Iraq had an election for the first time in 40 years? How shocking that must be.