Seymour Hersh's Other Reality

Seymour Hersh reportedly has claimed  at a recent speaking event in Montreal that,

'In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,' he said. 'It isn't happening now, but I will tell you — there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.'

To make his point he, tells of an incident regarding US forces under an IED attack, a common accordance in Iraq. Only this time according to Hersh, the soldiers got out of the vehicles and started mowing down innocents on a soccer field:

He described one video in which American soldiers massacre a group of people playing soccer.

'Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids,' he began. 'Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming. Sixteen soldiers come out of the other vehicles, and they do what they're told to do, which is look for running people.'

'Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,' Hersh continued. '[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a soccer game.'

'About ten minutes later, [the soldiers] begin dragging bodies together, and they drop weapons there. It was reported as 20 or 30 insurgents killed that day,' he said. 

Now in researching his other recent allegations about our soldiers in the stylistic vain of John Murtha, I stumbled upon another description of this event by Hersh. In a New York Magazine profile subtitled "Sy Hersh's Loose Relationship with the Literal Truth," Hersh describes his writing ethics versus his public speaking ethics.

'Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people,' Hersh told me. 'I can't fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.'

And

'I find that totally not inconsistent with anything I do professionally. I'm just communicating another reality that I know, that for a lot of reasons having to do with, basically, someone else's ass, I'm not writing about it.'

I must say he certainly can fudge what he says. For in this same article he describes the same soccer field incident as he did Wednesday in Montreal.

He tells me a long tale of the ghastly killing of some Iraqi civilians by U.S. soldiers. He frames his account as a hypothetical set piece,

'You're a soldier on a patrol . . . and you see people running, and you open fire, okay? . . . Maybe they were bad guys, but then they run into a soccer game.' He gradually modulates the story to its climax: 'You're a bunch of young kids. And so maybe you pull the bodies together and you drop RPGs [rocket—propelled grenades] and you take some photographs about it because you're afraid you're gonna be investigated. And maybe somebody there tells me about what happened.'

Now let's compare the two stories both centered on a soccer field atrocity and accompanied by the planting of weapons, obviously the same incident unless soccer players are just staggeringly unlucky in Iraq.

'Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids...Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming...Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,'

Versus:

'You're a soldier on a patrol . . . and you see people running, and you open fire, okay? . .

Where's the IED? We have gone from an ambush to just seeing bad guys running. How do we know they are bad guys Hersh? Oh that's right, it is a hypothetical so it is okay to call our soldiers baby killers.

How about this Hersh:

And so maybe you pull the bodies together and you drop RPGs [rocket—propelled grenades] and you take some photographs about it because you're afraid you're gonna be investigated

Versus:

He described one video in which American soldiers massacre a group of people playing soccer.

Now which is it Hersh, video or photographs? Both? Where are they Hersh? Where is the video and pictures you keep talking about? Why is your repeated telling of the obviously same incident so disparate when you say there is video and photographs of the incident? If you have seen them, why can't you get the story straight?

Maybe we should be asking Hersh what ever happened to the Abu Ghraib rape video he claimed to have existed. Hersh spoke at a conference in 2004 and told the audience that US soldier's video taped Iraqi guards raping little boys. Has anybody seen that video? Is any media organization going to start holding Hersh responsible for backing up his ludicrous claims?

Well if that is the game, here is what I was told by a former employee at Abu Ghraib who shall remain anonymous. While not excusing the abuse that occurred there (obviously there were a few sadistic personalities involved), the media did not report that the reason the abuse started is because the prisoners had associates smuggle in weapons along with the food. The prisoners then started shooting up the place, killing at least one person (another prisoner thankfully) that my source watched die.  That is when the abuse started. According to my source the guards had been relatively polite until then. That incident changed everything.

The New York Magazine article adds this:

Did this event happen? Who knows? Hersh never subjects these sorts of stories to any kind of public truth test, but he bandies them in his lectures, as part of the ongoing effort to bring his speaking audiences closer to that other reality of the Iraq War.

That other reality? When did hypothetical stories of US soldiers murdering innocents become 'that other reality of the Iraq War'? This is not some Princeton class room with a crotchety old professor throwing around thought experiments in Einsteinian fashion. This is a senior journalist claiming that your sons, daughter, husband and wives are cold blooded murderers. Giving moral sustenance to the same enemy that is already trying to kill our soldiers. The soldiers take the bullets and the IEDs while this man gets romanticized in New York Magazine articles.

That is the other reality.

Is this what we have become? Is this who we are now? Is this our value system? This guy gets to be a hero to a significant portion of our society as journalism mythologizes him, while the soldiers who defend him get their legs blown off?

Hersh says he can fudge the truth. Well, Hersh can go fudge himself,  but he should leave our service people alone.

Ray Robison is the proprietor of Ray Robison: Pointing Out the Obvious to the Oblivious, and an occasional contributor to American Thinker.

Seymour Hersh reportedly has claimed  at a recent speaking event in Montreal that,

'In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,' he said. 'It isn't happening now, but I will tell you — there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.'

To make his point he, tells of an incident regarding US forces under an IED attack, a common accordance in Iraq. Only this time according to Hersh, the soldiers got out of the vehicles and started mowing down innocents on a soccer field:

He described one video in which American soldiers massacre a group of people playing soccer.

'Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids,' he began. 'Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming. Sixteen soldiers come out of the other vehicles, and they do what they're told to do, which is look for running people.'

'Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,' Hersh continued. '[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a soccer game.'

'About ten minutes later, [the soldiers] begin dragging bodies together, and they drop weapons there. It was reported as 20 or 30 insurgents killed that day,' he said. 

Now in researching his other recent allegations about our soldiers in the stylistic vain of John Murtha, I stumbled upon another description of this event by Hersh. In a New York Magazine profile subtitled "Sy Hersh's Loose Relationship with the Literal Truth," Hersh describes his writing ethics versus his public speaking ethics.

'Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people,' Hersh told me. 'I can't fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.'

And

'I find that totally not inconsistent with anything I do professionally. I'm just communicating another reality that I know, that for a lot of reasons having to do with, basically, someone else's ass, I'm not writing about it.'

I must say he certainly can fudge what he says. For in this same article he describes the same soccer field incident as he did Wednesday in Montreal.

He tells me a long tale of the ghastly killing of some Iraqi civilians by U.S. soldiers. He frames his account as a hypothetical set piece,

'You're a soldier on a patrol . . . and you see people running, and you open fire, okay? . . . Maybe they were bad guys, but then they run into a soccer game.' He gradually modulates the story to its climax: 'You're a bunch of young kids. And so maybe you pull the bodies together and you drop RPGs [rocket—propelled grenades] and you take some photographs about it because you're afraid you're gonna be investigated. And maybe somebody there tells me about what happened.'

Now let's compare the two stories both centered on a soccer field atrocity and accompanied by the planting of weapons, obviously the same incident unless soccer players are just staggeringly unlucky in Iraq.

'Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids...Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming...Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,'

Versus:

'You're a soldier on a patrol . . . and you see people running, and you open fire, okay? . .

Where's the IED? We have gone from an ambush to just seeing bad guys running. How do we know they are bad guys Hersh? Oh that's right, it is a hypothetical so it is okay to call our soldiers baby killers.

How about this Hersh:

And so maybe you pull the bodies together and you drop RPGs [rocket—propelled grenades] and you take some photographs about it because you're afraid you're gonna be investigated

Versus:

He described one video in which American soldiers massacre a group of people playing soccer.

Now which is it Hersh, video or photographs? Both? Where are they Hersh? Where is the video and pictures you keep talking about? Why is your repeated telling of the obviously same incident so disparate when you say there is video and photographs of the incident? If you have seen them, why can't you get the story straight?

Maybe we should be asking Hersh what ever happened to the Abu Ghraib rape video he claimed to have existed. Hersh spoke at a conference in 2004 and told the audience that US soldier's video taped Iraqi guards raping little boys. Has anybody seen that video? Is any media organization going to start holding Hersh responsible for backing up his ludicrous claims?

Well if that is the game, here is what I was told by a former employee at Abu Ghraib who shall remain anonymous. While not excusing the abuse that occurred there (obviously there were a few sadistic personalities involved), the media did not report that the reason the abuse started is because the prisoners had associates smuggle in weapons along with the food. The prisoners then started shooting up the place, killing at least one person (another prisoner thankfully) that my source watched die.  That is when the abuse started. According to my source the guards had been relatively polite until then. That incident changed everything.

The New York Magazine article adds this:

Did this event happen? Who knows? Hersh never subjects these sorts of stories to any kind of public truth test, but he bandies them in his lectures, as part of the ongoing effort to bring his speaking audiences closer to that other reality of the Iraq War.

That other reality? When did hypothetical stories of US soldiers murdering innocents become 'that other reality of the Iraq War'? This is not some Princeton class room with a crotchety old professor throwing around thought experiments in Einsteinian fashion. This is a senior journalist claiming that your sons, daughter, husband and wives are cold blooded murderers. Giving moral sustenance to the same enemy that is already trying to kill our soldiers. The soldiers take the bullets and the IEDs while this man gets romanticized in New York Magazine articles.

That is the other reality.

Is this what we have become? Is this who we are now? Is this our value system? This guy gets to be a hero to a significant portion of our society as journalism mythologizes him, while the soldiers who defend him get their legs blown off?

Hersh says he can fudge the truth. Well, Hersh can go fudge himself,  but he should leave our service people alone.

Ray Robison is the proprietor of Ray Robison: Pointing Out the Obvious to the Oblivious, and an occasional contributor to American Thinker.