"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
By Martin Lukacs
10/31/06 "The 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 of America."
The good news? "When we wake up tomorrow morning, there will be one
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 exposé 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 Iraq.
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 people."
"Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control," Hersh
continued. "[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a
"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
"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."
Hersh came out hard against President Bush for his involvement in the
"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
"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
. It's pretty scary."
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