found the May 15 NPR news very even-handed – as always. The host interviewed
Seymour Hersh, who wrote for the May 22 New Yorker Overwhelming Force, an expose
on General Barry McCaffery’s Gulf War conduct. Hersh interviewed soldiers and
officers and reviewed relevant documents that call into question McCaffery’s
the morning of March 2nd, Hersh writes, "McCaffrey reported that, despite
the ceasefire, his division had suddenly come under attack from a retreating
Republican Guard tank division.” Officers assigned to McCaffrey’s headquarters
disagreed about the significance and strength of the Iraqi attack and indeed
about whether any attack had occurred. The officers heatedly argued over the
appropriate level for response. McCaffrey, after a delay, "ordered an
assault in force — an all-out attack,” Hersh writes. The strike destroyed some
seven hundred Iraqi tanks, armored cars, and trucks, said Hersh.
March 1 and 2, 1991, one and two days after President Bush declared a
cease-fire, US soldiers shot Iraqis who apparently posed no threat to them. On
February 27, US troops dispatched a group of Iraqis who had already surrendered.
The Army "investigated these episodes and, shockingly, found no wrongdoing.
Hersh, as he did three decades ago when he reported about the covered up My Lai
massacre in Vietnam, found witnesses and information the Army missed or ignored.
NPR interviewed McCaffery, who condemned Hersh for waging a vendetta against him
and for filing an outrageous assertion that he, McCaffery had ordered a virtual
massacre of defeated Iraqi soldiers after the Gulf War had ended. McCaffery
dismissed Hersh’s massive amount of evidence as lies and the NPR host threw a
few softballs at the powerful general before summing up and cojncluding nothing.
news reports stand on the political equivalent of the fifty yard line. NPR
treated reporter Hersh and Drug Czar McCaffery as equal combatants. Hersh
suggesting McCaffery may have committed a war crime; McCaffery calling Hersh a
liar. Then, Daniel Schorr opined. Hersh, he said, had taken on the powerful, the
Pentagon, Kissinger, the Kennedys, but had goofed by reporting in his last book
– THE DARK SIDE OF CAMELOT — that President Kennedy had paid for a Marilyn
Monroe abortion that didn’t happen. Hersh, you recall, had admitted that he’d
fallen for a bogus document and before publication had excised that part from
his book. Schorr also cited the Pentagon for its history of covering up war
crimes — like the My Lai massacre in Vietnam that Hersh had uncovered three
decades ago. Who’s right and who’s wrong? I don’t know.
have known Hersh for twenty five years. I have seen him scrutinize the evidence.
He interviewed more than two hundred enlisted men and officers over a six month
period doing research on these incidents. . And, The New Yorker also has the
world’s best fact checkers.
before the article appeared, Drug czar McCaffery called in the media to accuse
Hersh of launching a personal vendetta. An intimidating move! Hersh doesn’t know
McCaffery, but he does have the nose to sniff out the odors that reek of high
level corruption. Most reporters inhale the perfumed aromas emitted by official
sources. If not for Hersh — and a few other reporters and free media outlets –
only Congress and the Courts would protect the public against the power of the
national security state and the corporation.
mainstream media has portrayed Hersh’s revelations of war crimes as a battle
between two gladiators, rather than as a reporter who represents public virtue
and a powerful government bureaucrat whose present operation — drug Czar — and
history during the Gulf War have escaped scrutiny.. So, thanks Sy Hersh for
investigating subjects too dangerous for most reporters to ponder. Young
journalists have you as a model.
O. La Bounty Chair of Applied Interdisciplinary Knowledge, California State
Polytechnic University, Pomona mailto:[email protected] http://www.csupomona.edu/~slandau