Hersh vs Obama


Yesterday, the administration called Sy Hersh’s latest report – turned down by the Washington Post and the New Yorker – “simply false.” Money quote:

“The intelligence clearly indicated that the Assad regime and only the Assad regime could have been responsible for the 21 August chemical weapons attack,” Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence, said in a statement to The Hill. “The suggestion that there was an effort to suppress intelligence about a nonexistent alternative explanation is simply false.”

Count me unsurprised that the US intelligence establishment refuses to accept that its findings might have been cherry-picked by those in the administration who had long wanted to go to war in Syria anyway. Count me also unpersuaded by the push-back.

Check out, for example, this blog on the circumstances surrounding the August 21 attack. It really does what the new media does best: it takes you through the evidence, with links, to a conclusion that the al Nusra front might very well have been the instigator. It convinced me, at the very least, that this remains an open question. Liberal internationalists are just as likely as neocons to see things they want to see and ignore those things they don’t. The need to meddle in other countries finds its justifications as it goes along. A reader adds:

If you look at the Russian presentation of facts and evidence, especially as put out by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, it was far more accurate and more candid than was the American presentation of facts and evidence.

In the end the Russians played a key positive role in defusing the situation. But what’s really remarkable, they were also consistently far more honest about what they were up to, and what was going on on the ground in Syria, than was the United States. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

I come away from this thinking very poorly of our intelligence establishment. They’re bloated, lazy, stupid and increasingly dangerous to the United States and the world. It’s a clear demonstration of the fact that throwing billions of dollars at it doesn’t get you better intelligence.

The GOP rails on about this moronic Benghazi “scandal.” But this is a real scandal. Watch official Washington just ignore it.

(Photo: An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by the Local Committee of Arbeen on August 21, 2013 allegedly shows Syrians covering a mass grave containing bodies of victims that Syrian rebels claim were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta and Zamalka, on the outskirts of Damascus. The allegation of chemical weapons being used in the heavily-populated areas came on the second day of a mission to Syria by UN inspectors, but the claim, which could not be independently verified, was vehemently denied by the Syrian authorities, who said it was intended to hinder the mission of UN chemical weapons inspectors. By DSK/AFP/Getty Images.)