Seymour Hersh, the Afghanistan War WikiLeaks, and Getting the Real Story


One of the best investigative journalists who has been reporting on America’s wars is Seymour Hersh. Hersh has been consistently ahead of the pack — revealing hard-to-believe atrocities far before the political marketplace was often ready or willing to accept his reporting.
The extraordinary posting on WikiLeaks of more than 92,000 classified documents on America’s military activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan confirms Hersh’s claims of battlefield executions and death squads.
Besides Hersh, The New Yorker‘s key commentators on Afghanistan have been Steve Coll, George Packer, and Hendrick Hertzberg.
I am a big fan of all of these brilliant writers. However, although these generalizations may be unfair to them and may overstate, Coll, and Packer have been mostly in the camp of supporting the administration’s general course in Afghanistan and Pakistan — though there are exceptions in the portfolios of each. Hertzberg has been a cautious skeptic of the administration — and Hersh has been the most dramatically revealing of America’s self-deception about success in the Afghan War.
Given what has just been released in this disturbing dump of classified documents, we hope that The New Yorker encourages Hersh to get back on this beat and into the field soon on this stuff.
— Steve Clemons


6 comments on “Seymour Hersh, the Afghanistan War WikiLeaks, and Getting the Real Story

  1. erichwwk says:

    What can I say?
    People come in many flavors. I like you’re analogy about drunks, although I would have used bullies.
    Smart people prefer to allocate resources through some sort of market, in proportion to effort exerted with a subsidy for those less able.
    Others, with an arsenal filled with violence and deceit, prefer to compete on their terms.
    “The efforts of men are utilized in two different ways: they are directed to the production or transformation of economic goods, or else to the appropriation of goods produced by others”
    —Vilfredo Pareto


  2. John Emerson says:

    There’s no reason to believe that Nadine knows what she’s talking about. Republicans talk about politics the way drunken sports fans talk about their favorite teams. They think that if they talk loud enough they’ll win the argument.


  3. rc says:

    Well posted erichwwk, Jul 26 2010, 4:29AM.
    Great to see democracy at work against the military industrial complex, its lies, and its distortions of the truth for commercial gain.
    These are not wars against terror — they are wars for mercenaries and the fascist elements behind them.
    I say “Well done Wikileaks team!” and the many brave men and women who have used it to blow the whistle on this Afghan farce by sharing their knowledge of what is actually going on.
    May the ‘Force’ be with them.
    And of course we have ‘nadine’ who has obviously failed to read and understand that famous Jew known to the Christians as Jesus — you know, the one who is alleged to have been into peace and love and forgiveness. Someone who would have argued against unjust wars of aggression I assume. But hey, who needs reality when you’ve got day-time TV run by the propaganda Dept!


  4. nadine says:

    So you don’t believe that putting classified information on the internet can get American soldiers killed. How convenient.


  5. erichwwk says:

    Kudos to Wikileaks and shame on General Jones, who the NYTimes reports as saying::
    “…the United States “strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security.”
    It seems to me much more probable that it is secrecy and non-disclosure ITSELF that threatens our national security. Just as Daniel Ellsberg leaking of the Pentagon Papers {disclosure of classified information) brought the Vietnam War to an end and SAVED American lives, so I hope this disclosure brings the GWOT to an end, again saving American lives. One cannot not sustain deficits and lies forever. As one continues to “lose” wars, the truth even begins to come out about wars one though one “won”.
    While some adhere to an old concept “war is politics by other means”, I assert “war is theft under cover of a governing elite” is a more accurate description. War is possible only under cover of a massive propaganda effort.
    “There has never been a just one, never an honorable one


  6. nadine says:

    Seymour Hersh’s reports ought to be “hard to believe” as so many of his past “revelations” have turned out to be untrue.
    Hersh is militantly anti-war, but his fictional reporting has hit both right and left. It was Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. who called Hersh “the most gullible investigative reporter I’ve ever encountered.” after he wrote a book called “The Dark Side of Camelot” based on a bunch of forgeries.
    Not only does Hersh fill his “reporting” with unsubstantiated claims, like his 2007 report that the US government was funding the terrorist organization Fatah al-Islam, which turned out to be based on rumors from Alistair Crooke and Robert Fiske (another pair of beauts), he’s even less responsible in his speeches. In one speech in 2004, at the height of the Abu Ghraib scandal, he accused American troops of imprisoning and raping young boys in Abu Ghraib, which was quite untrue. Hersh spoke graphically about hearing the victims shriek on tape. After an outcry, Hersh had to walk it back with some lame excuse about misstatements.
    “Given what has just been released in this disturbing dump of classified documents, we hope that The New Yorker removes any constraints — real or nuanced — on Hersh and gets him back out in the field on this stuff soon.”
    Considering that Hersh, when unconstrained, prints as much fiction as fact, I think responsible people should want him rather tightly constrained. For instance, by a tough editor demanding to see proof and sources for every claim.


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