Monday, January 17, 2005

The latest from the New Yorker

Have you read the latest from Seymour Hersh and The New Yorker? He's asserting in the latest issue that President Bush has authorized a series of military expeditions into Iran. Says Hersh:
George W. Bush’s reĆ«lection was not his only victory last fall. The President and his national-security advisers have consolidated control over the military and intelligence communities’ strategic analyses and covert operations to a degree unmatched since the rise of the post-Second World War national-security state. Bush has an aggressive and ambitious agenda for using that control—against the mullahs in Iran and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorism—during his second term....

Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East: the establishment of democracy throughout the region. Bush’s reĆ«lection is regarded within the Administration as evidence of America’s support for his decision to go to war. It has reaffirmed the position of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon’s civilian leadership who advocated the invasion, including Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Douglas Feith, the Under-secretary for Policy. According to a former high-level intelligence official, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the election and told them, in essence, that the naysayers had been heard and the American people did not accept their message. Rumsfeld added that America was committed to staying in Iraq and that there would be no second-guessing.

“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.” ...

The President has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia.
Not surprisingly, the official stance of the White House and the Pentagon is that Hersh got it all wrong. The Pentagon's chief spokesman, Lawrence DiRita, said in a statement that Hersh's article was
"so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed... (his sources fed him) "rumor, innuendo, and assertions about meetings that never happened, programs that do not exist and statements by officials that were never made."
Reuters also reported in the same article,
Asked whether U.S. military forces had been conducting reconnaissance missions in Iran, Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Venable said, "We don't discuss missions, capabilities or activities of Special Operations forces."
Sure, like if there really are black ops going on in Iran, we're going to fess up to it... Not likely...

I don't know much, but I'm pretty sure of this: we're headed for more trouble.

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