Hersh raps Bush, Congress
By Joe Baker, Senior Editor
Acclaimed investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the man who uncovered the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, has unleashed a volley of criticism at Congress and the Bush administration.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Hersh was sharply critical of the conduct of both entities during a talk at the Westminster Town Hall Forum.
He charged the Bush administration with obsessive secrecy and scare tactics for political gain. Theyve got to keep us scared and theyve got to keep us jacked up on Iraq, Hersh said, because national security and terrorism are the only issues where most Americans back Bush.
Hersh went on to add: Their definition of national security and mine are different. In this White House, disagreement is not dissentits disloyalty. Dissent is treason.
He said the Democratic Party seems to have disappeared. He said he finds the Democrats position astonishing. He described that as: If the war turns out to be a disaster, its good for us because were not responsible.
We didnt elect them to take a dive on this issue, Hersh said.
The celebrated journalist said he believes he knows why the administration is making so much noise about Iraq. If were not talking about Saddam were talking about Enron and Tyco. Its the best issue he (President Bush) has, and hes playing it hard.
Hersh also said he doesnt believe an attack on Iraq is imminent. There is no execute order for war, he said. Theres no agreement on who the next leader would be. Theres no agreement in the military how to carry out the war … Its not going to happen in the short run.
He added that with this administration political expediency is more important than informing the American public. He pointed to the belated revelation that Bush had been briefed in August 2001 that a terrorist attack was very possible. The possibility the president may have known something in advance would have been politically dangerous, he said.
Asked about his impressions of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Hersh called him this administrations Woody Allen. Rummy is funny. Hes also on a very hard path for America.
Hersh said anyone reading newspapers these days is likely to be frightened. But Im just as scared as all of you, he said. I dont know what theyre doing.