Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Monday, May 11, 2015

Strangely Blogged Cannot Fact Check Seymour Hersh

I have a pretty good estimation of my limitations as a blogger--I am not a journalist, and I am not a public intellectual. The best I can claim to be is a semi-anonymous weisenheimer. So, while I feel like some opinion of mine regarding Sy Hersh's assertions regarding the details of the raid on OBL's Abbottabad residence could have a limited use, the simple and obvious fact is, I don't have my hands on anything that says him "nay". But he isn't exactly presenting a story with a lot that says him "yea".

My resources are what they are. Given the location where OBL was holed up, it always seemed pretty plausible to me that Pakistan intelligence had to know where he was, but if so, I couldn't understand why he wasn't turned over before unless the Pakistani government found it very politically inconvenient to do so, on the general grounds that their folks wouldn't see OBL's capture or death in the same positive light that Americans would. There's no conspiracy afoot at all--just the Pakistan government not feeling like openly being the US's lackey in any kind of way. It's face-saving and ass-covering for them to play it like they never knew, and for the US to go ahead and stage a--what would you even call that? A wet extraction?

But what Hersh serves up in detail upon detail can't be pinned down. I don't like lots of details with no pinning. It's sort of like when I couldn't figure out what to do with Hersh's assertions that other operatives in Syria might have had chemical warfare capabilities--if there were other WMD capable groups, I'm not sure how any different outcomes would be served. The narrative is pretty much irrelevant to the policy. States can be impelled to do this or that, random militias are harder to deal with. Or take his assertion after so much todo that the Benghazi CIA annex was part of a ratlines system of delivering weapons to Syria, and that this is somehow to blame for the Benghazi attack on 9/11/12. I'm not sure that anyone should be shocked that anti-Assad militias were being armed in this period. I'm just not seeing what that intelligence had to do necessarily with the attack, or whether anyone should have thought it in the US interests to be pro-Assad. Maybe these ratlines existed. Their relevance to the attack on the embassy and subsequent deaths of four people is a non sequitur--how likely is it the terrorists knew that? The terrorists are still unpardonable. Nothing justifies what they did. Additional detail might be interesting, but relevant?

I'm not saying that some kernel of truth doesn't in exist in Hersh's alternative narrative of the assault that took down Bin Laden. But I do say Bin Laden dead however the details stacked up answered something that went beyond the accuracy of the narrative.

My basic view of things isn't much changed. And I don't really see how the details of the narrative particularly contribute or detract from the major events sufficient to any flack preferring to massage them.

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