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Posted at 5:10 PM ET, 01/21/2011

Sy Hersh's loopy crusade

By Charles Lane

It's getting more attention than his previous rants, but there's really not much new in Seymour Hersh's diatribe against the "crusaders" who supposedly "hijacked" U.S. foreign policy during the Bush administration, with the purported intent, as Hersh put it in a speech in Doha, "to turn mosques into cathedrals."

Yes, he's freshened it up a bit by falsely calling Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal and other officers of being "members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta," But Hersh has been banging the same drum about "eight or nine neoconservatives" who "grabbed" the U.S. government for at least half a dozen years.

What I find bizarre about Hersh's latest iteration is how blatantly it flies in the face of the tragic facts about Christianity in Iraq since the U.S. invasion. Specifically, and as reported just two days ago in the New York Times, Iraq's Christian population has plunged: by about half since March 2003.

Far from securing the Middle East for Christians, the U.S. has done little or nothing to stem or reverse the exodus, which is due in large part to harassment and violence by Muslim extremists.
Hersh says: "We're gonna change mosques into cathedrals. That's an attitude that pervades, I'm here to say, a large percentage of the Joint Special Operations Command."

You would have thought these covert warriors would have tried to keep some Christians around to attend mass in their newly converted houses of worship. But apparently their crusade has been a failure. Or maybe it's all just a part of the cover-up.

At least Hersh has switched targets from the days when he was blaming "Jewish money from New York" for inducing Hillary Clinton to support a U.S. war with Iran.

I sure hope Hersh's editor at The New Yorker, David Remnick, is doing a careful cost-benefit analysis of the decreasingly lucid Hersh's impact on his magazine's reputation.

By Charles Lane  | January 21, 2011; 5:10 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
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Comments

Invading Iraq and threatening Iran have far more to do with Israel and almost nothing to do with U.S. national security. The fact that you're not satisfied with merely disagreeing with Seymour Hersh but advocate silencing him expose you for the cowardly party line simp you really are.

Posted by: DJ_Spanky | January 21, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

The persons Hersh refers to are accomplished practitioners of the most dangerous specialty of the most dangerous profession in the world. Many are highly educated and are quite capable of understanding the implications of different world views and they increasingly give weight to the world views of those in the host nation. They hardly have the luxury of the childish attitudes Hersh attributes to them.

Posted by: observer92 | January 21, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Israel is the real issue here, and in the Middle East. Israel has a blank check to do anything they want, and that is what lies behind the Islamic targeting of America for terrorist attacks. I would suggest some of the posters here read some of the writings of Noam Chomsky.

Posted by: samsara15 | January 21, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Israel is the real issue here, and in the Middle East. Israel has a blank check to do anything they want, and that is what lies behind the Islamic targeting of America for terrorist attacks. I would suggest some of the posters here read some of the writings of Noam Chomsky.

Posted by: samsara15 | January 21, 2011 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Sy Hersh journalistic integrity and record of accomplishment over your smear piece that does not even attempt at sincere refutation.

Try to be at least half the journalist Hersh is. It will better yourself as well as your readers.

Posted by: Amminadab | January 21, 2011 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure George III thought The Declaration of Independence was a "rant" too. Just because you don't agree with someone's conclusions doesn't make the argument a rant.

Posted by: mullingitover1 | January 22, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

There is no word from you about the delibrate lies spread by people like Rush Limbaugh, Palin, Beck, the folks at Fox News etc

Posted by: kms123 | January 22, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Another of the Post's lyin' right-wing bots. Yawn.

Posted by: kstack | January 22, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

It appears Sy has a new book coming out and he's got to gin up the crowd.
Good luck with that.

Posted by: steve_real | January 22, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Hersh's theory is actually correct but is rendered invalid by the incompetence of Americans who demand that christianity overwhelm all others. Currently the military academies are rife with evangelicals who punish anyone who declines to worship a dead jew whose disciples were all Jews but whose current followers are intellectual scum who believe that when this dead Jew comes back to life he will love all those christians who have spent the past 20 centuries murdering and harrassing anyone who failed to toe their pagan inspired beliefs.

Posted by: kalpal | January 22, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Charles Lane and the guy at FP are bloggers, desk jockeys recycling content they come across online in a pathetic attempt to drive traffic. They are not even on the same field as Hersh.

Posted by: mmo78 | January 22, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane, when you have half the experience, recognition and awards of Hersh, you still don't get to insult him with words like "loopy." The man has been right on more major stories than you can hope for. You come across like a wet behind the ears newbie trying to take down an icon. It was a whiff.

Posted by: mimetz | January 22, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Lane has no idea what he's talking about. Hersh can name names, and so can I.

The Neocons are part of the Israel-first crowd whose goal is to make the Middle East safe for Israel. They were worried that Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear program underground where Israeli planes could not hit it (again). The only way to be sure was to invade.

If Lane wants to track the Neocon position, he should look at Paul Wolfowitz's leaked memo from 1992 (on the Web), the Neocon letter to Netanyahu in 1996, the Neocon letter to Clinton in 1998 urging regime change, and Gen. Wes Clark's comments in "Winning Modern Wars" about his visit to the Pentagon after 9/11. Clark found that the Pentagon was planning to invade six Muslim countries in succession, starting with Iraq.

To show how deluded the Neocons were/are, Somalia and Sudan were among the countries on their hit list.

Go do some homework, Mr. Lane. And let me give you a pointer to start with: it was not a coincidence that the six countries were all Muslim countries. North Korea, which was actually developing nuclear weapons that could threaten allies was not among them.

Posted by: tmaertens | January 22, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Many of these commentors are wrong. Mr. Lane is right on the money, and he points out that Mr. Hersh is essentially delusional in his views. First of all, he does not try to "silence" Mr. Hersh, only to point out how incorrect Mr. Hersh is. Secondly, when others point out to Mr. Hersh's awards and accomplishments - they fail to acknowledge that Mr. Hersh won not one, but two Pulitzer Prizes - amazingly, both for stories that were largely debunked later (in fact, the second Pulitzer Prize was won while his story was already in the process of being debunked. Mr. Hersh is not, and hasn't been a serious journalist, and policymakers from both political parties dismiss him. One reason he's not engaged by others in serious debate is that he doesn't have a serious position - how can one debate when Mr. Hersh essentially makes up facts and writes about the world in a way that it is not. As for other commentor's - referring to the writings of other deluded or fact-free writers, hardly supports their being taken seriously by the rest of us.

Posted by: Daniel_Canales | January 22, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

chuck, you're a tool. sy hersch has more journalistic integrity in his little toe than you'll ever have. whenever an actual journalist follows the truth wherever it leads, we can count on self-satisfied establishment cfr lackeys like yourself calling them "loopy".
hersch has spent his life investigating the pentagon and intelligence services and hence has a much deeper understanding of these topics than you do, so i'll definitely take his word over yours.
if he ever weighs in on the colfax massacre i'll defer to you, but on the current machinations of the war machine, he's an authority. you're not.
anyway, thanks.

Posted by: okeeheepkee | January 22, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not endorsing Seymore Hirsh's views when he's presented no evidence, but Iraqi Christian "collateral damage" isn't evidence against his Crusader claim about Gen. McChrystal and other officers.

For one thing, the "Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta" are subordinate to the Catholic Church, whereas Iraq's Christians are largely members of Chaldean Syrian Church.

Sectarianism is not unknown among Christians, and the deaths of innocents as collateral damage generally does not disturb the serenity of professional soldiers.

You'll need to do better than that, Mr. Lane.

Posted by: stephendclark | January 22, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Ann Coulter" We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and forceably convert them to Christianity." Unless and until we have a leader like Ann its foolish for anyone to claim the U.S. has been on a crusade. The first day we hit Iraq, we should have hit Iran and Syria, topped off with a nuclear Tomahawk to the Kaba. That's a crusade worthy of the name.

Posted by: ThinPancake | January 22, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Lane: "But apparently their crusade has been a failure."

-----------------------------------------

The reason to invade might not have been to "turn mosques into cathedrals."

But here's the resons the chickenhawks gave:

1. Iraq had WMD
2. Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks.
3. A democratic Iraq would lead to a domino effect in the Middle East.


...and the verdict is in:

1. No WMD (it's been 9 years, and there never was any evidence to begin with)

2. Bush and Rumsfeld have admitted that Iraq had no connection to 9/11

3. After 9 (NINE!) years, Iraq is unstable and violent, and no trust between shiites and sunnies. There's not anyone who wants to build their nation based on the current Iraqi model. (But many are inspired by the revolution in Tunisia, a revolution by the people, not an invasion by a country on the other side of the globe).


So yes Lane, you're right about one thing;

It was a FAILURE!

Posted by: Supertzar | January 22, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

samsara says: "I would suggest some of the posters here read some of the writings of Noam Chomsky. "

Hahahahaah. Seriously?
Chomsky is a complete and total hack who could not tell the truth even under torture. Anyone who gets their history from Chomsky or Howard Zinn has been thoroughly misled.

Sy Hersch's major stories have not only been debunked conclusively over the years, even his journalistic ethics and techniques have been shown to be disreputable. The guy lies and then attributes his nonsense to 'un-named sources' that later turn out to be his own ideas that he cannot find any evidence for.

Posted by: ksm12009 | January 22, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

What I find bizarre about Hersh's latest iteration is how blatantly it flies in the face of the tragic facts about Christianity in Iraq since the U.S. invasion. Specifically, and as reported just two days ago in the New York Times, Iraq's Christian population has plunged: by about half since March 2003.

==========================================

Facts like this just make Hersh even more an idiot.

I also see the anti-Semites, which in Britain I believe are called the Usual suspects, are in force.

Posted by: bbface21 | January 22, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea that the readership of the Post was filled with hateful left wing, anti-Semites. Quite frankly, you writers sound like the crazy gunman in Tucson. I would not bring my conservative Jewish friends near you for fear you would hurt them. Your rantings show ignorance and anger, the true components of hate.

Posted by: Christopher18 | January 23, 2011 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Just when you think the loony left hit bottom...

For everyone else, whether on the rational left or the right, there's no point debating with these people. If Hersh and Noam Chomsky are their heroes, they are dealing with an alternate universe, much like the Tuscon shooter. They'll tell you a lie is a truth and an injustice is a bologna sandwich. And they will accuse you of being part of a grand Jewish conspiracy if you fail to see the connection between injustice and a processed-meat concoction.

Posted by: shecallsmemoe | January 23, 2011 1:03 AM | Report abuse

After readin this hit piece it looks like Hersh has come too close to the truth again. I'd take his word over anyone in the military & the right wing "journalists" anyday.

Posted by: fedupinnh1 | January 23, 2011 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Looking at the comments.....

...I'd say Sy Hersh has a lot of screen names.....

Posted by: georgedixon1 | January 23, 2011 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Nobody is in any way asking that Noam and Sy be silenced; their own words are the greatest defense against the hypocrisy of the far left. What I enjoy most is watching as all of the uberleft come out in defense of the indefensible with their frantic conspiracy theories. It is all so indicative of the decline in the theology of the left.

Posted by: ReluctorDominatus | January 23, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Nobody is in any way asking that Noam and Sy be silenced; their own words are the greatest defense against the hypocrisy of the far left. What I enjoy most is watching as all of the uberleft come out in defense of the indefensible with their frantic conspiracy theories. It is all so indicative of the decline in the theology of the left.

Posted by: ReluctorDominatus | January 23, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@ ReluctorDominatus

It's pretty ironic that your post accusing the 'uberleft' of having 'frantic conspiracy theories' follows another post accusing Hersh of inventing screen names to defend himself.

@ Charles Lane

The exodus of Christians from Iraq is evidence of the *failure* of the neoconservative agenda and is not in any way an indication of what that agenda might actually be.

Posted by: mmyotis | January 23, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Fascinating that Catholic military officers and civilians have taken over US foreign policy. Well, maybe under Bush. But surely Obama's anti-Catholic brigades would have rectified that problem.

But look: The big point is that the USA and indeed the non-Arab, non-Iranian, world economy needs reliable flows of moderately priced oil from the Middle-East -if only to make Voltas, Volvos and chardonnay for the West's New Left.

When Saudia Arabia threw out the US miltary bases on demands from Arabia's Muslim hard-core, then the US had to base its military somewhere else, close-by. And so, the invasion of Iraq. As for Afghanistan, well, there are many training bases there for bombers-of-the West. And, let's remember, China is looking to pipe oil from the Middle-East. It is in US -and Western- interests generally, to have some control over any real-estate in the vicinity of ME-China. All this makes sense -unless you prefer to get by on a much, much lower disposable income, and have Muslims and Chinese deciding your life for you.

Posted by: Germaine2 | January 23, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Blather.

The USA wins.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | January 24, 2011 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Hersh has been practicing "draw the curve, then plot the data" journalism since being an apologist for the genocidal Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Whether he is a kook or just a committed anti-American writer, or a combination of both, is up to the reader to decide. A "journalist", however, he is not.

Posted by: barban37 | January 24, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Charles Lane isn't fit to lick the dog do off Hersh's feet, much less criticize his work. Hersh was one of the very few journalists telling us of the corruption of the Bush administration while they ramped this country up to "defend" itself against Iraq. We know that all of Bush's plans for Iraq failed, which included stealing their oil to pay for the illegal and immoral invasion, but failure of their plans doesn't translate to a lack of plans.

Posted by: fingersfly | January 24, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Hersh's theories are lame and could damage his periodical. Just like the Post's editors trying to convince us that Sarah Palin caused Tucson is eroding any remaining credibility the Post has.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 24, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Long live Sy.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 24, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

It would be nice if Mr. "I hate Jews" Hersh could provide us with a list of Mosques that have been changed into Cathedrals. This guy exists in an Alice in Wonderland world of hidden motives, conspiracies and government black ops. He was something during the 1970s but like many "old goats" he has become tedious. All his old followers and supporters themselves have slipped into the odd world of the "X Files." Too much uninformed, fantastical opinion better left to overnight talk radio. Next it will be Sy Hersh reporting from Roswell, N.M. Anyone who takes this guy seriously risks their own creditability and being labeled a bigot to boot.

Posted by: Gorbud1 | January 24, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I think Hersh was a serious journalist back in the '60s and '70s, but he seems to have become a crackpot.

Why on earth does the New Yorker continue to run his rants?

Posted by: hambya | January 24, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

.
Charles Lane is a blatant cheer leader for Israel.

This stupid article strives to smear and demonize Sy Hersh, a top reporter and interpreter of GeoPolitics. Mr. Hersh is a totally independent researcher; not answerable to AIPAC or any Media-Press-Barons.

Israel, with its Mossad Agents causing havoc; is almost as dangerous as, these Christian Crusaders of Opus Dei.

//

Posted by: JAMadison4 | January 24, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

If one high-level religious wacko (Boykin ring a bell?)is not enough to start a person to wonder about our military, how about military chaplains giving soldiers copies of the Bible in foreign languages to hand out to Afghans and Iraqis? Or, how about the Pentagon fundamentalist Christian group that filmed generals and colonels in uniform 'witnessing' to Jesus? Do you think their subordinates don't know where they are coming from and might feel intimated to find religion too?

Pay attention too to what's been going on at the Air Force Academy, and make sure to read about the "Family" and the undercurrent of religious righteousness infiltrating government and military.

Crusade might just not be too strong a word.

Posted by: hrobert02 | January 24, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I never thought I would see the words "Sy Hersh", "journalistic integrity" and "record of accomplishment" in the same post. What is next? Glowing recitals of the virtues of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky?

Oh, wait...

Now the liberal bed-wetters are posting there were no WMDs in Iraq, Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11 and that Iraq was/is a complete disaster.

Oh, how little libs appreciate history.

Do not worry bed-wetters! There are real adults that will protect you. Real men, and women, who will shelter you from all of life's evils and darkness which will allow you to continue dreaming of unicorns and rainbows.

Oh, and did I miss the anti-semite/liberal seminar sometime? You folks seem to have that market cornered.

Do not worry, though...your multi-cultural and Arab "friends" will gladly discuss and reason things out with you over a cappuccino at your local coffee shop.

Posted by: churchill99 | January 24, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Seymour Hersh is the I.F. Stone of our times. He seems to have hit a nerve by speaking truth to power. It's well-known that the neo-cons in the Office of Special Plans drove the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, and -- if the next part of their wet dream comes true -- Iran.

WaPo constantly permits low-paid, bed-wetting "bloggers" like Chuck Lane and Jennifer Rubin to spew character assassinations against anyone who connects the dots. Hey, Chuckie, read Bamford's "Pretext to War" instead of pretending you have any expertise on the topic.

In your own words:
I sure hope Lane's editor at WaPo, Fred Hiatt, is doing a careful cost-benefit analysis of the increasingly illiterate Lane's impact on his newspaper's reputation.

Posted by: ConscientiousObjector1 | January 26, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Seymour Hersh is the I.F. Stone of our times. He seems to have hit a nerve by speaking truth to power. It's well-known that the neo-cons in the Office of Special Plans drove the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, and -- if the next part of their wet dream comes true -- Iran.

WaPo constantly permits low-paid, bed-wetting "bloggers" like Chuck Lane and Jennifer Rubin to spew character assassinations against anyone who connects the dots. Hey, Chuckie, read Bamford's "Pretext to War" instead of pretending you have any expertise on the topic.

In your own words:
I sure hope Lane's editor at WaPo, Fred Hiatt, is doing a careful cost-benefit analysis of the increasingly illiterate Lane's impact on his newspaper's reputation.

Posted by: ConscientiousObjector1 | January 26, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

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