We could do with a little less of Seymore. Famed investigative reporter Seymore Hersh has been a long time critic of US military policy and procedures, as far back as the infamous Me Lai Massacre. He broke that story, and in so doing, was also credited for breaking the will of the American public to support the Johnson Administration’s prosecution of the Viet Nam War.
The rest is history.
One wonders if Hersh would like to see a little history repeated. The stakes this time around are higher.
I think criticism can be a good thing, if it results in positive change. Criticism for the sake of being critical, or for the purposes of promoting one’s own view without providing a realistic alternative, is not a good thing. And in some cases, it’s very dangerous. Criticism of some issues during wartime goes over the line into irresponsibility, and I think Hersh is crossing that line.
In Canada last week, Hersh told the crowd at the Media@McGill conference that the good news about the reign of King George II of America is that “tomorrow morning there’ll be one less day." Hardly a sticks and stones kind of comment, but it definitely puts Hersh in the sandbox with The Dixie Chicks and other loud-mouthed Americans with the poor taste to criticize their homeland while away from home.
Unlike the Chicks, Hersh is a serious, credible journalist, having broken stories about the secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia, covert C.I.A. attempts to overthrow Chilean president Salvador Allende, and, more recently, the first details about American soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
In some ways, the Abu Ghraib story needed to be told. But not the way Hersh is relating it—not with his endgame, which is only designed to encourage the enemy and defeat the spirit of our troops.
Hersh recalled during Vietnam, "our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation.” While that's not happening now, but Hersh told the Canadians there "has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”
That’s where Hersh doesn’t get it.
You see, War is not supposed to be a gentlmen’s game. That went out in the French and Indian War, when the traditional ranks and files of soldiers were decimated by a new kind of enemy, using Indian tactics of firing from concealed positions and wearing garments that blended with their surroundings.
The American military needs to be only as violent and lethal as the enemy it is fighting. Anything less will result in failure. Of all the critics and pundits on the War, Hersh should get that concept the best.