September 23, 2004

Trying To Turn Them

In case you missed it, Seymour Hersh was on Hardball Sept. 14th, and he had this to say about the purpose of what was going on at Abu Ghraib [emphasis mine]:

...HERSH: I‘ve been told by people in a special unit, what—let me just finish the sentence.

The underlying theory was, get—and you‘ll hear it. It is not so crazy. Get some of these guys, get the book on them, so we can tell them, we‘re going to send you home to your community. We want to you join the insurgency and start telling us what‘s going on or else we‘re going to spread these pictures out to your neighbors.

MATTHEWS: So they were trying to not just break them and get the truth out of them.

HERSH: They were turning them.

MATTHEWS: They were going to use them as double agents.

HERSH: They were going to turn them. That was one of the underlying intellectual ideas. ...

Good work on that, then. As to the fate of the Iraq enterprise, Hersh had this to say:

MATTHEWS: ...Why can‘t this country focus on the debate, is there a better way to go in Iraq and the rest of the Arab world than we‘re going right now that is costing us all these men and women?

HERSH: Look, if I had the answer to that question, I would put it in a bottle and sell it for a buck and be a millionaire overnight.

I don‘t have the answer. But I have—I can tell you one thing. The 200 octane fuel that drives this is us, the Americans. I had a friend of mine who is a high-tech guy who worked in special ops all his life, very tough-nosed guy, very American, willing to die for his country, did his service, was an officer and a Delta Force-connected kind of guy. He is approached by American companies.

I had lunch with him the other week. He said he is approached by CEOs of major companies to do security in Iraq because he has got some good ideas. And he says to them, are you an American company? And they say yes. He said forget it. It is over. Americans are over. We‘re over. There‘s no—there‘s not—you are not going to make it in the United States. We are not going to make it in Iraq. I don‘t care what they say politically, what the White House says.

And I think until somebody articulates the idea that maybe another thousand lives isn‘t worth what we‘re doing, and God knows how many countless Iraqi lives—and it has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein anymore, whether he was good or bad, or WMD. We‘re looking at, we have put a guy in business, Iyad Allawi...

MATTHEWS: The new prime minister of the interim government.

HERSH: Who has no support. He couldn‘t walk on a street in Baghdad.

MATTHEWS: Well, why do these conservative writers, neoconservative writers I read in the paper and everybody watching reads in the papers, say, give him time; Allawi will put together a government over there? What are they talking about?

HERSH: I would like to smoke what they‘re smoking, because it isn‘t going to happen. Look, we promised democracy. You have got a country where the Shiites are the majority. You‘re not giving the Shiites what we promised. We‘re not giving them democracy.

Anyway, read the rest if you have time. Not only did Hersh have more interesting comments, but it was the night Matthews interviewed Kitty Kelley.

Posted by natasha at September 23, 2004 10:24 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |