Seymour Hersh: Bush “has accepted ethnic cleansing”

Spiegel Online has a powerful and terrifying interview with legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the man who won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the story of the My Lai massacre and cover-up, and more recently broke the story about the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison. The interview covers a lot of ground, so let’s just look at some key parts, and then you must go read it!

On Iran:

(I)t’s been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA’s best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they’ve been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere. Of course the US and Israel are going to say you have to look at the worst case scenario, but there isn’t enough evidence to justify a bombing raid.

As Hersh explains- and I love this phrasing:

We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we’ve had about 20 of them.

Yes- Godwin is a staple of American political life. Hersh points to Kruschev, Mao, Stalin, and Gadhafi, and now Ahmadinejad. Of course, we’re now on friendly terms with the apparent ex-Hitler, Gadhafi- if a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, Bush need not worry, because he appears to have no mind at all. 

Hersh also points out that Ahmadinejad is not actually in control, in Iran, so whatever rhetorical blather he blithers is not necessarily related to actual Iranian policies.

And then, there are these comforting words, about the real intent, behind Bush’s warmongering:

We’re going to build democracy. The real thing in the mind of this president is he wants to reshape the Middle East and make it a model. He absolutely believes it. I always thought Henry Kissinger was a disaster because he lies like most people breathe and you can’t have that in public life. But if it were Kissinger this time around, I’d actually be relieved because I’d know that the madness would be tied to some oil deal. But in this case, what you see is what you get. This guy believes he’s doing God’s work.

Worse than Kissinger. Worse than Reagan. Worse than Nixon. In American history, it just doesn’t get any worse. Or any more dangerous!

Hersh makes clear that there is only one answer, in Iraq: get the hell out! As soon as is possible! Our presence there fuels the violence. Yes, we all know that, but it’s rare to see someone in print actually say it.

And the “surge”?

Hersh: The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he’s talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He’s not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You’re going to have a Kurdistan. You’re going to have a Sunni area that we’re going to have to support forever. And you’re going to have the Shiites in the South.

Now, it needs be clarified: Hersh does not seem to be saying that Bush is actively pursuing genocide; it’s that he knows that the different Iraqi factions will pursue it against each other, and he doesn’t care. To Bush, no amount of human suffering matters. He is without human conscience. He seriously believes he is doing God’s work, so demonstrable facts do not matter. Nothing in this world matters. It is all an illusion, while his own delusions are of a higher reality. If Kissinger was the personification of the sinister abuse of power, Bush is simply deranged.

Hersh says comparisons to Vietnam are absolutely valid, and that we don’t learn from our mistakes. He also excoriates the media, for having failed to prevent the war, and for having failed the Constitution. He says that the damage from those failures, and the damage from the war, will be much worse than that from Vietnam.

In case you didn’t know it: we’re going to be living with the consequences of this disaster for a very long time.


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  1. TRUTH that nobody seems to hear

  2. with Hersh’s claim that Bush is doing God’s work.

    There was a documentary on how Bush Jr. came to power.  He had a disdain for religious leaders and only met with them as a favor for a friend.  The religious leaders eagerly allied themselves with the son of George Sr. right there at that meeting.

    After the meeting Bush Jr. was quoted as saying: “I can do this.”

    In my mind that meant, he could pull the wool over the eyes of the religious leaders in order to earn their support.

    Bush’s only goal is to make those people rich that helped him along the way.  The “provisional government” was created on purpose as a way to avoid any and all US laws by contractors and corrupted military officials.

    Republicans want to break government and this is how they are doing it.  Which is why Democrats that don’t get it should be removed from office at the earliest point possible.

    • srkp23 on September 29, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    To Bush, no amount of human suffering matters. He is without human conscience.


    He is without human conscience. He seriously believes he is doing God’s work, so demonstrable facts do not matter. Nothing in this world matters.

    I dunno. Agree that he’s delusional, but I don’t know if it’s because of his “faith.” He could just be a psychopathic, malignant narcissist.

    OK. Off to read the interview now.

    • kredwyn on September 29, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    not working to protect the Constitution. Those NSA seminars were problematic at best.

    • pfiore8 on September 29, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    from DAY ONE, i don’t for one minute believe he thinks he’s doing god’s work. he’s the power… he’s the rule… it’s about him, not god. god is a way to talk about his delusions; it is his way of explaining it in a way people will accept and/or understand it.

    he never talks about people or the human costs… he doesn’t even pretend, really.

    no, he is in the tradition of Stalin et al…

    but the worst thing about this all? not one person in the Senate or Congress or anywhere has stood up to call this EVIL… to call it depraved… it’s not enough to say impeachment, the words need to become harder, more defined, and darker(military persons who retire are the only ones to speak against Bush… hellooooooo… it is unprecedented)

    that’s where my heart breaks to the point of shattering beyond repair…

    yellowgreen said what’s worse: spinelessness or evil and i’ve been thinking about it all day

    spinelessness allows the evil

    it’s far worse… and that’s why i will never vote for hillary or anyone who has not stood up and against this man

    that is why i think we need to look beyond 2008 to 2010 and really find people to fill congress who have an American and planetary agenda

    • nocatz on September 29, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    which maybe not everyone is happy about


    Hersh believes that that is going to happen anyway.

    You’re going to have a Kurdistan. You’re going to have a Sunni area that we’re going to have to support forever. And you’re going to have the Shiites in the South.

    • Temmoku on September 29, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    it frees you from taking responsibility. It is all God’s will. So, if a million or so people die, then that is his will too. Bush cannot question the whys and wherefores of the divine. The dead were not worthy, were not really human, were called home, etc….there is a reason for each death and it is not Bush who needs to decipher it. God has allowed him to become president twice, so that is his mandate (Goddate if you will)and whatever he does is directed by God who does all the choosing. In a sense, yes, this is very amoral, but it is also a symbol of his devoutness. So we are caught between the devout belief in God’s will an Bush’s messianic purpose and the immense perversity and amorality of what is being done. Now, remember, if this venture fails, it is also God’s will, not Bush’s. Maybe the people, Americans and iraqis are not worthy or don’t deserve God’s kingdom on earth or maybe his hand-picked instruments of his will were not true believers and thus the mission was doomed. Just remember that the Lord God LOVES you…!

    So all of the above are right! Especially Bush….we are so F**ked!

  3. Since his inauguration two years ago, Mr. Ahmadinejad has grabbed headlines around the world, and in Iran, for outrageous statements that often have no more likelihood of being put into practice than his plan for women to attend soccer games. He has generated controversy in New York in recent days by asking to visit ground zero – a request that was denied – and his scheduled appearance at Columbia University has drawn protests.

    But it is because of his provocative remarks, like denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel to be wiped off the map, that the United States and Europe have never known quite how to handle him. In demonizing Mr. Ahmadinejad, the West has served him well, elevating his status at home and in the region at a time when he is increasingly isolated politically because of his go-it-alone style and ineffective economic policies, according to Iranian politicians, officials and political experts.

    link (reg required)

    Ahmadinejad has never had even close to the amount the power the warmongers attribute to him.  That power has always remained firmly in the hands of Khameini and the clerics.

    And now that Ahmadinejad’s star in Iran is on the wane, the West’s incessant obsessing about his latest outrageous statement merely helps prop him up, ensuring he will last longer that he should.

    • timber on September 30, 2007 at 2:38 am

    Things that they said will happen if we leave–like ethnic cleansing is happening right now under US presence in Iraq. 

    Thus, we need to leave now–because US looks so impotent about not being able to prevent a civil war or ethnic cleansing.

    • fatdave on September 30, 2007 at 4:43 am

    as the almighty, the supreme entity if you like. I am forced to question why God would be moved to delegate any portion of his earthly schedule to a bedwetting, yellow-backed little shit such as junior.

    I will concede that there is the remotest of chances that God has in fact spoken to him in some way. I suspect that had anybody of sound mind been there to witness this dialogue, it would have been somewhat one sided:

    ” You there! Bush. That’s right. You. Stop snivelling lad! I cannot make my mind up whether you are a lunatic with tendencies toward war criminality, or a war criminal with tendencies toward lunacy. You decide!”

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