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June 21, 2004

Hersh's latest NYer article

We won't get our copy until Thursday or so, but the The New Yorker online has Seymour Hersh's latest damning article about the conduct of the Iraq war. (Hersh, of course, broke the Abu Ghraib scandal and is worth, in a professional sense, the next 50 top journos in the country.)

The gist of this article is so frightening as to be pathetic. Basically, when the Israelis can tell you how badly you've fucked up an occupation, you can be sure you're fucked in an absolute, not a relative, sense. To wit:

A former Administration official who had supported the war completed a discouraging tour of Iraq late last fall. He visited Tel Aviv afterward and found that the Israelis he met with were equally discouraged. As they saw it, their warnings and advice had been ignored, and the American war against the insurgency was continuing to founder. "I spent hours talking to the senior members of the Israeli political and intelligence community," the former official recalled. "Their concern was 'You're not going to get it right in Iraq, and shouldn't we be planning for the worst-case scenario and how to deal with it?'"

Ehud Barak, the former Israeli Prime Minister, who supported the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq, took it upon himself at this point to privately warn Vice-President Dick Cheney that America had lost in Iraq; according to an American close to Barak, he said that Israel "had learned that there's no way to win an occupation." The only issue, Barak told Cheney, "was choosing the size of your humiliation." Cheney did not respond to Barak's assessment. (Cheney's office declined to comment.)

In a series of interviews in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, officials told me that by the end of last year Israel had concluded that the Bush Administration would not be able to bring stability or democracy to Iraq, and that Israel needed other options. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government decided, I was told, to minimize the damage that the war was causing to Israel's strategic position by expanding its long-standing relationship with Iraq's Kurds and establishing a significant presence on the ground in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. Several officials depicted Sharon's decision, which involves a heavy financial commitment, as a potentially reckless move that could create even more chaos and violence as the insurgency in Iraq continues to grow.

So far from improving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq war has made Israel less secure (to the extent that they are now running even riskier black ops). Iran, in addition to its likiely nuclear weapons program, now has its spy apparatus deep in "Free Iraq." And the creation of an independent Kurdistan, however much the Kurds deserve one, may create another pariah state that its neighbors will all want to destroy in perpetuity. (Imagine the Middle East with another Israel right in the middle!)

I'm beginning to think W really, truly is trying to bring about the end of the world. I know the saying goes "assume ignorance, not malice," but how much ignorance do we have to endure before assuming the worst?

When, in other words, do we get to "preempt the president"? He launched the war on far shakier evidence than we have against him!

Until now I've giggled at those "Impeach Bush" buttons. But no more. Certainly if he is reelected, I'll be gunning for a repeat of Nixon's second term. Or, perhaps, we could get a taste of Nixon's first term, when VP Spiro Agnew was forced to resign.

Posted by jay at June 21, 2004 01:29 PM | TrackBack
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Just getting Cheney out of office isn't going to be enough. You have to get the whole damn cabal. Plus, even a government run by a re-elected Bush (Now I have to go wash my mouth out, hold please) is going to be run by the same scary apocalypse bent madmen. They'll just run it from the same bunker that currently houses the in-office Cheney. Lord, deliver us.

Posted by: pam on June 23, 2004 09:50 AM
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