Seymour Hersh is the undisputed king of green. He recycles everything. Especially his stories.
In a series of public statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and Iran. “Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people,” Bush told the national convention of the American Legion in August. “The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased. . . . The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And, until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops.” He then concluded, to applause, “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”
The President’s position, and its corollary—that, if many of America’s problems in Iraq are the responsibility of Tehran, then the solution to them is to confront the Iranians—have taken firm hold in the Administration. This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants. The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.
That's Today's entry. Here's March 5, 2007:
A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee told me that he had heard about the new strategy, but felt that he and his colleagues had not been adequately briefed. “We haven’t got any of this,” he said. “We ask for anything going on, and they say there’s nothing. And when we ask specific questions they say, ‘We’re going to get back to you.’ It’s so frustrating.”
The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney. (Cheney’s office and the White House declined to comment for this story; the Pentagon did not respond to specific queries but said, “The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran.”)
Yeah, right, Seymour. I won't bother going back through the annals – Hersh has been recycling the same stuff for quite some time now. And the left always rises to feed on the bait he dangles. Every, single time. Jason Steck, posting over at The Van Der Galien Gazette, has this to say about Seymour's effect on the left:
What they overlook in this political equivalent of telling horror stories around a campfire is the real effects of irresponsible speculation.
By focusing on Bush as the real enemy, many of the administration’s harsher critics minimize and cover-up the very real concerns about Iran’s behavior. In essence, they act as Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s public relations firm, instantly converting any report of actual Iranian threats, abuses, or attacks into a conspiracy theory starring the malevolent “neocons”. Seeing so many in the American political culture willing to run interference for him, how can Ahmadinejad help but be emboldened to press on?
There is much truth to the administration’s accusations against Iran. They cannot be merely dismissed as administration propaganda designed to start another war. Iran actually does provide weapons, training and personnel to anti-U.S. groups in Iraq, Iran actually does repress and abuse its own people, and Iran actually does send signals that are at best mixed regarding its international intentions regarding Israel and nuclear weapons. These are not mere figments of a “neocon” fantasy.
Sometimes green isn't good. Like when things get moldy. As Hersh's (and his fellow travelers) histrionics are. (You know, if I was a New Yorker editor, I'd really be wondering why we were paying for the same old myths repackaged over and over. Just saying.)