the one in Iraqâ*
*Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh slams
Bush at McGill address*
*By Martin Lukacs
//The McGill Daily//*
Speaking to launch McGillâs interdisciplinary media studies
program last Wednesday, Hersh said he had seen video footage of
atrocities in Iraq.
/Jennifer Bartoli / The McGill Daily/
âThe bad news,â investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told a Montreal
audience last Wednesday, âis that there are 816 days left in the reign
of King George II of America.â
The good news? âWhen we wake up tomorrow morning, there will be
one less day.â
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 exposÃ© 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 â part of the launch of an
interdisciplinary media and communications studies program called
Media@McGill â 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.
âThree U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving
through a village, passing candy out to kids,â he began. âSuddenly
the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming. Sixteen
soldiers come out of the other vehicles, and they do what theyâre told
to do, which is look for running people.â
âNever mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,â Hersh
continued. â[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a
âAbout 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,â 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.
âIn Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby
killers, in shame and humiliation,â he said. âIt isnât happening
now, but I will tell you â there has never been an [American] army as
violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.â
Hersh came out hard against President Bush for his involvement in the
âIn Washington, you canât expect any rationality. I donât know
if heâs in Iraq because God told him to, because his father didnât
do it, or because itâs the next step in his 12-step Alcoholics
Anonymous program,â he said.
Hersh hinted that the responsibility for the invasion of Iraq lies with
eight or nine members of the administration who have a
âneo-conservative agendaâ and dictate the U.S.âs post-September 11
âYou have a collapsed Congress, you have a collapsed press. The
military is going to do what the President wants,â Hersh said. âHow
fragile is democracy in America, if a president can come in with an
agenda controlled by a few cultists?â
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.
âThereâs no reason to see a change in policy about Iraq. [Bush]
thinks that, in twenty years, heâs going to be recognized for the
leader he was â the analogy he uses is Churchill,â Hersh said. âIf
you read the public statements of the leadership, theyâre so confident
and so calmâ¦. Itâs pretty scary.â