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The Pentagon Needs a Blog

When the Pentagon fisks you, you know you've been fisked.

It seems Seymour Hersh played fast and loose with the facts. (again) That brought about a fisking of Pentagonic proportions.

Statement from Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence DiRita on Latest Seymour Hersh Article

The Iranian regime's apparent nuclear ambitions and its demonstrated support for terrorist organizations is a global challenge that deserves much more serious treatment than Seymour Hersh provides in the New Yorker article titled "The Coming Wars."

Mr. Hersh's article is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed.

Mr. Hersh's source(s) feed him with rumor, innuendo, and assertions about meetings that never happened, programs that do not exist, and statements by officials that were never made.

A sampling from this article alone includes:

* The post-election meeting he describes between the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not happen.

* The only civilians in the chain-of-command are the President and the Secretary of Defense, despite Mr. Hersh's confident assertion that the chain of command now includes two Department policy officials.  His assertion is outrageous, and constitutionally specious.

* Arrangements Mr. Hersh alleges between Under Secretary Douglas Feith and Israel, government or non-government, do not exist.  Here, Mr. Hersh is building on links created by the soft bigotry of some conspiracy theorists.  This reflects poorly on Mr. Hersh and the New Yorker.

* Mr. Hersh cannot even keep track of his own wanderings.  At one point in his article, he makes the outlandish assertion that the military operations he describes are so secret that the operations are being kept secret even from U.S. military Combatant Commanders.  Mr. Hersh later states, though, that the locus of this super-secret activity is at the U.S. Central Command headquarters, evidently without the knowledge of the commander if Mr. Hersh is to be believed.

By his own admission, Mr. Hersh evidently is working on an "alternative history" novel.  He is well along in that work, given the high quality of "alternative present" that he has developed in several recent articles. [now that's snarky! -ED]

Mr. Hersh's preference for single, anonymous, unofficial sources for his most fantastic claims makes it difficult to parse his discussion of Defense Department operations. 

Finally, the views and policies Mr. Hersh ascribes to Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz, Under Secretary Feith, and other Department of Defense officials do not reflect their public or private comments or administration policy.

The Pentagon needs a blog, that way they can fisk idiots like Hersh more often... Well, at least the Pentagon has this. All things considered, that beats a few trackbacks.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Pentagon Needs a Blog:

» Silent Running linked with Recommended Addition to DoD Joint Pub 1_02

» Running Scared linked with Communications Breakdown: Our Future Wars

» Smoking Gun linked with Dumber and Dumberer...The WMD meme....

» Running at the Mouth linked with Tuesday's Good Stuff

Comments (13)

I saw Hersh interviewed by ... (Below threshold)

I saw Hersh interviewed by Chris Matthews a few months ago and I was quite shocked by his outright refusal to give any indication as to what his sources were. His whole story was one long argument from authority. His own.

Apparently he did one important story thirty years ago and that makes him unimpeachable for life. We are all just supposed to trust him. For ever.

Even Britney Spears is held to a higher standard than that. At least she has to turn out semi-credible recordings once in a while in order to stay atop in her field.

I have really come to loath... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I have really come to loath unnamed sources. I realize they are common and often neccessary in journalism, but really, when a source is unnamed, we know nothing of their availablity to information and their own bias.

From My Lai to Abu Ghraib</... (Below threshold)

From My Lai to Abu Ghraib

["Evidence indicates that one of those guard's attorneys most likely provided that information to Hersh."]

Seymour Hersh (who is known for exposing the My Lai incident during the Vietnam War) knows lawyer Gary Myers from that time. I believe there is still some controversy as to whether My Lai really occurred as portrayed by Hersh then.

The Abu Ghraib photos were exposed by Seymour Hersh the same week Mapes aired them on CBS 60 Minutes II on 4/27/04.

Seymour Hersh's lawyer friend, the same Gary Myers, represented Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick who pled guilty and received an 8-year sentence for his part in Abu Ghraib.

American soldiers brutalized Iraqis. How far up does the responsibility go?
Issue of 2004-05-10
Posted 2004-04-30 at Newyorker.com

[Gary] "Myers, who was one of the military defense attorneys in the My Lai prosecutions of the nineteen-seventies, told me that his client’s defense [Staff Sgt. Frederick] will be that he was carrying out the orders of his superiors and, in particular, the directions of military intelligence."


The military was already in the process of investigating and taking action on Abu Ghraib when the photos were aired and published.

Frederick's uncle says that in March 04 he contacted Col. David Hackworth's office, which put him in touch with 60 Minutes II. (NYTimes May 8 story.) (Hackworth is also listed in the CBSgate Thornburgh Report as having "authenticated" the fake docs before airing.)

Quote by Frederick's uncle: "The Army had the opportunity for this not to come out, not to be on 60 Minutes, But the Army decided to prosecute those six G.I.'s because they thought me and my family were a bunch of poor, dirt people who could not do anything about it. But unfortunately, that was not the case."

This sounds to me as if the uncle naively thought he was somehow helping his nephew. Did CBS or Seymour Hersh promise legal aid (aka Gary Myers) to Staff Sgt. Frederick's uncle for his nephew in exchange for the photos? Or did Seymour Hersh offer the services of Gary Myers who then had access to the client file containing the photos?

It has never been explained that I know of – WHO gave the photos to the media.

While facing court martial in Apr 04, Frederick spoke to Rather by phone from Baghdad for CBS 60 Min II show. (CBSnews 4/27/04)

The CBSnews.com article also states:

"Six months before he faced a court martial, Frederick sent home a video diary of his trip across the country…" [But it doesn't say that diary contained the "abuse" photographs. Could this be CBS covering for their real source of the pictures – Hersh via Gary Myers?]

"Frederick's letters and email messages home also offer clues to problems at the prison… " [How did CBS get access to these? Through his uncle? Or did this private and confidential information come from Hersh via Gary Myers?]

The article wants us to believe that Staff Sgt. Frederick gave them the photos. Why would he do something that can only reflect negatively on himself and the military?


Wow. It's comforting to kno... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Wow. It's comforting to know that, among the PC rush for more "humane" weapons and "non-lethal" technology, there is still a tremendous capacity for brutality within SOME in the Department of Defense. I've done a bit of fisking myself, but that "alternate present" line... I am not worthy.


Yes, Jay Tea - my confidenc... (Below threshold)

Yes, Jay Tea - my confidence in DiRita's abilities ebbed when I saw him fumbling the response to the CIA/Al Qaqaa Setup (instigated by these same "nameless", current and ex-CIA officials). But the latest response to Hersh's article by DiRita was much better.

Here is another example of the same "nameless" ex-CIA officials attacking the Bush Administration via UPI's Richard Sale re alleged "plans" to attack Syria.

Because these failed specters seem to be on an urgent jihad against the Bush Administration, they have become careless. (Hee hee, the CBS defense.) In various articles their names have been mentioned. By comparing those articles to the Iran hit piece by Hersh, one can actually begin to put names to these "nameless" ones: e.g., Paul Pillar, John E. McLaughlin, Stephen R. Kappes, A. Krongard, Vince Cannistraro. And the forerunners in 03: Plame and Wilson, egged on by Watergate ghost John Dean.

Paul Pillar: <a href="http... (Below threshold)

Paul Pillar: CIA/NIE Leak, CIA/Aborted October Surprise: Porter at the Pass, see last 12 paragraphs.

And why do I say "failed": CIA/Pillar Responsibility prior to 9/11, dated 11/23/01. (Print this one's pdf for reading over coffee and Camels.)

John E. McLaughlin, Stephen R. Kappes: "Deputy Chief Resigns from CIA"

"AB 'Buzzy' Krongard, who stepped down six weeks ago as the CIA's third most senior executive…" : Let Bin Laden Stay Free, Says C.I.A. Man.

Vince Cannistraro (in the above "Syria" link): "There are all sorts of discussions going on, the White House, the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs," said former CIA counterterrorism chief, Vince Cannistraro. He felt the talk of strikes "is part of a general plan of intimidation."

I can tell ethics and professionalism got deleted from their hard drives, but don't these people have a duty under the law to keep national security matters confidential? And what about that "nameless" contractor quoted by Hersh – didn't his contract include a confidentiality clause?

Daaaaaang... now that's a r... (Below threshold)

Daaaaaang... now that's a refreshing read.

it is disgusting what Hersh... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

it is disgusting what Hersh gets away with. When will these troublemakers learn not to stick their noses in where they shouldn't for reasons of nation security! Their quests for stories endangers us all. Sometimes the public should not know things, it is as simple as that. Plus, he is most probably a liar on the democrat payroll.

Just so you know, this wasn... (Below threshold)

Just so you know, this wasn't a fisking by he Pentagon.

It's the perp denying everything despite the evidence and then hiding behind a lawyer.

The Pentagon---by which we mean "the people who have completely mishandled and bungled the War on Terror, the War in Iraq, and who let al Qaeda esacape from Afghanistan with billions in heroin profits"---don't have a lot of credibility here.

Here's a candidate for Pent... (Below threshold)

Here's a candidate for Pentagon Blogger!

LTC Tim Ryan
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Media's Coverage has Distorted World's View of Iraqi Reality.

WOW - this man can write!

That was a 500-lb laser-gui... (Below threshold)

That was a 500-lb laser-guided fisking with a high-explosive rhetoric warhead.

TallDave - which fisking? ... (Below threshold)

TallDave - which fisking? DiRita's or LTC Ryan's.
(They're both great! The more the merrier!)

PS to the earlier links "<a... (Below threshold)

PS to the earlier links " Plame and Wilson, egged on by Watergate ghost, John Dean": His salon.com article is continued here.






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