“There has never been an American army as violent and murderous
as the one in Iraq”
Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh slams
Bush at McGill address
By Martin Lukacs
McGill Daily" -- -- “The bad news,” investigative
reporter Seymour Hersh told a Montreal audience last Wednesday,
“is that there are 816 days left in the reign of King George II
The good news? “When we wake up tomorrow morning, there will be
one less day.”
Hersh, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and regular
contributor to The New Yorker magazine, has been a thorn in the
side of the U.S. government for nearly 40 years. Since his 1969
exposť of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, which is widely
believed to have helped turn American public opinion against the
Vietnam War, he has broken news about the secret U.S. bombing of
Cambodia, covert C.I.A. attempts to overthrow Chilean president
Salvador Allende, and, more recently, the first details about
American soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in
During his hour-and-a-half lecture – part of the launch of an
interdisciplinary media and communications studies program
called Media@McGill – Hersh described video footage depicting
U.S. atrocities in Iraq, which he had viewed, but not yet
published a story about.
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
“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.
If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they
would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam
veterans, Hersh said.
“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
Hersh came out hard against President Bush for his involvement
in the Middle East.
“In Washington, you can’t expect any rationality. I don’t know
if he’s in Iraq because God told him to, because his father
didn’t do it, or because it’s the next step in his 12-step
Alcoholics Anonymous program,” he said.
Hersh hinted that the responsibility for the invasion of Iraq
lies with eight or nine members of the administration who have a
“neo-conservative agenda” and dictate the U.S.’s post-September
11 foreign policy.
“You have a collapsed Congress, you have a collapsed press. The
military is going to do what the President wants,” Hersh said.
“How fragile is democracy in America, if a president can come in
with an agenda controlled by a few cultists?”
Throughout his talk Hersh remained pessimistic, predicting that
the U.S. will initiate an attack against Iran, and that the
situation in Iraq will deteriorate further.
“There’s no reason to see a change in policy about Iraq. [Bush]
thinks that, in twenty years, he’s going to be recognized for
the leader he was – the analogy he uses is Churchill,” Hersh
said. “If you read the public statements of the leadership,
they’re so confident and so calm…. It’s pretty scary.”
Copyright 2006, Daily Publication Society
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