Wednesday, October 27, 2004
There's a new interview with Seymour Hersh in The Boston Pheonix. Here's a good part:
Q: Is the Abu Ghraib story drawing to a close?
A: [Laughs] Sure, it is. It’s one of the great successes of the Bush administration. They had a bunch of phony-baloney investigations, and they were all leaked to the New York Times and the Washington Post in the week before the Republican convention. And then John Warner’s Senate Armed Services Committee had hearings. Here’s how they have hearings: the guys who wrote the report come in and talk about it with senators who haven’t read it until that morning or haven’t read it at all. There’s no investigation of the procedures involved. The only report worth its salt was the first one by [Major General Antonio] Taguba, which said, right away, this all started in Afghanistan, and it’s much bigger.
[ ... ]
There is a special unit that was set up by Rumsfeld in December 2001 or January 2002, I don’t know the exact date. They’ve been "disappearing" people for three years. I wrote this first for the New Yorker, and I added much more detail in the book. Reporters from major newspapers have told me independently that they’ve learned quite a bit about it, but nobody’s managed to write about it yet. We were snatching and running, grabbing anyone around the world Rumsfeld thought was possibly knowledgeable of 9/11, throwing them into Egypt or Singapore, getting their information. And that policy was brought into Abu Ghraib. It’s a scandal that newspapers haven’t picked up more on it. Planes still flying. The people involved are not identified as Americans — they carry foreign passports, and the aircraft is unmarked. The planes stopped flying from May to the middle of June, after the Abu Ghraib story broke, and it started again by July. Bush got away with it. Score one for the propaganda machine.
Q: You’re a reporter, not a policymaker. But if you had to offer some advice on how to wage the war on terrorism more effectively, what would it be?
A: You’ve got to go back to work on the Middle East, on being an interlocutor between Israel and the Palestinians. Go back to square one. If Bush is re-elected, I think one of the things the Europeans will do is, they’ll set up another group whose whole purpose will be to combat the United States, because they really don’t like us. They really don’t like us, particularly the Germans and the French. And I think one of the things they’ll do is start talking about developing their own solution to the Middle East. I can guarantee that there’ll be a sense that they have to mobilize against America. They’ve had it with Bush, big time.