after all this is about The Truth—not the truth.

Aside:  sorry about the mess—then the length *cough*Scorpy*cough* but Extended Entry doesn’t seem to be working.... /aside

“Part of winning this war .. is to understand the nature of the enemy.” GWB 1/22/05

“Would it be ill-timed of me to question the timing of this?” Charlie McCarthy

‘Sy’ Hersh: Hersh described video footage depicting U.S. atrocities in Iraq, which he had viewed, but not yet published a story about.

“Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids,” he began. “Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming. Sixteen soldiers come out of the other vehicles, and they do what they’re told to do, which is look for running people.”

“Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,” Hersh continued. “[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a soccer game.”

“About ten minutes later, [the soldiers] begin dragging bodies together, and they drop weapons there. It was reported as 20 or 30 insurgents killed that day,” he said.

If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.

“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”

on an earlier version of the above story: “It was stupid, it was wrong, it was terrible, but it wasn’t murder. Do I write that? No. I don’t write that. Because then six, eight, ten American kids who did nothing but panic, and did what anybody would, would get in trouble. Do I have some photographs that are interesting? Yes. Do I publish those? No.”

But he talks about it.  And because he has a name—for reasons most folk don’t know or remember, people repeat what he says.  Maybe they add a few details of their own, cuz that’s what folks do.  Told often enough, the story becomes just another bit of cultural background noise, like the JFK/Marilyn affair and the words to the Barney song. 

Question it?  Verify it??  But my cousin told me, and he heard from his mechanic’s brother whose friend went to Iraq—o’course it’s true.  And the picture in the mind of the nation is of “panicked kids” in uniform walking the streets of Iraq instead of clear-eyed, highly trained men and women making tough decisions on a hourly basis.

“Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people, ... I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.... I’m just communicating another reality that I know, that for a lot of reasons having to do with, basically, someone else’s ass, I’m not writing about it.”

No Sy.  You’re doing something more insidious.  If you wrote about it we could fact-check your ass right out onto the street.  But you only talk and story tell and pose ‘hypotheticals’ which you can later amend, re-weave or even take back.  But you can’t take them back; you’ve simply filed off the ID numbers so there is no possible way to ascertain validity or origin.

So the story become a meme—a viral idea that takes on a life of its own and spreads.

Because there are no real names, no dates or times or places, the stories aren’t really maligning any individual.  Those stories just float around and, if I don’t think too hard about them, every soldier I see in Starbucks or the bank, every Marine I run into at the airport or on the street, I have a little moment when I think, “Is that the one?  Was he there for the soccer thing?  Was she holding a camera?”

And if someone is there to whisper in my ear, “Yeah!  That’s the one!  Or someone just like him...” how far away are we from the days of Viet Nam?  Is that your goal, Sy?  Is that what you think this country would be best served to re-produce and re-live?

Yanno, If I had a job I wanted done, I would consider myself very fortunate if I had at my disposal a group of people who had already done this kind of job before—and been successful.

“I don’t know if [President Bush is] in Iraq because God told him to, because his father didn’t do it, or because it’s the next step in his 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program,” ... 

“How fragile is democracy in America, if a president can come in with an agenda controlled by a few cultists?”

Hey… It’s only a word.  It’s only a story.  It’s only a guy’s opinion.  An opinion I hear quite a lot, come to think about it.  And I hear so little of substance to counter it.

Oh, and for those who don’t consider it a priority to follow the careers of folks like Sy, the first story that put him on the map was the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

Post Script

Given the above, I think the best gift we could give to our military members overseas is to spread specific, fact-laden stories about the real job they do every day.

And mebbe find ol’ Seymore Buts Hersh a nice career in retail handbags.  Something where he can’t do so much harm… Maybe fertilizer sales; that’s something he knows more than a little bit about.

goldstar.jpg Allah the Nuance Pundit

Claire, Ideologically Stubborn Heatist Ruralite Claire, Ideologically Stubborn Heatist Ruralite
11/01 at 07:27 PM •
(12) Say it, don't spray it...*link*
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