Am I Missing Something?


Gasp! Shock! Horror! According to legend turned cautionary-tale Seymour Hersh, the Obama administration “cherry picked” intelligence to justify an attack on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

via Gawker

Writing in the London Review of Books, Hersh explains that various sources in the intelligence community have told him that the Obama administration knowingly ignored valuable intelligence, and even altered past intelligence reports, while moving unilaterally forward with a plan to topple the Assad regime.

Unless I missed something; unless I slept through a war and no one told me; we didn’t unilaterally topple Assad. There was no strike.

What makes this amusing to me is that some of the president’s harshest critics argue that his actions actually strengthened the Assad regime by allowing him to stay in power. Critics who say we gave Assad a “win” by allowing him to look like the good guy.

I don’t agree with any of that, but it does make this nothingburger from Hersh seem all the more ridiculous.

As you may recall, earlier this year Hersh made the accusation that the raid on Osama Bin Laden was all a lie and that the media regularly carries water for the Obama administration.

He’s meandering into crackpot territory.

  • Victor_the_Crab

    ,,,and that the media regularly carries water for the Obama administration.

    I LOLed hard over that one.

  • DHaradaStone

    The problem with the anti-war crowd’s attacks on Obama is that they act as if he was eager to attack Assad. He had shown little interest in getting involved for two years. He would have gotten nothing out of a strike except more headaches at a time when he’s hoping to have most U.S. troops out of the Middle East by the end of next year. As they say in acting school, what’s his motivation?

  • drspittle

    I just that an identical reaction, JM. I just deleted my latest email alert from Robert Parry which contained Hersh’s “scoop”. I respect Robert Parry’s work, but said to self, “Um, did Obama start a war with Syria and I missed it?” Talk about feeling like inhabiting a bizzaro universe.

  • mdblanche

    I always used to read Hersh’s articles in the New Yorker, but I quickly grew suspicious about how all of the sources were almost always anonymous. I grew more suspicious about how the predictions those sources made rarely came true. I eventually gave up reading him.

    Somebody counted and Hersh has claimed to have anonymous sources in at least 30 governments. I’m beginning to think “see what Hersh will print” has become every intelligence agency’s favorite game.

  • Nefercat

    “He’s meandering into crackpot territory.”

    “He’s racing headlong into crackpot territory.

  • blair houghton

    Apparently he hasn’t taken it as a clue that both the New Yorker and the Washington Post told him he wasn’t applying proper journalistic standards in his construction of this piece of “investigation”:

    He eventually got the London Review of Books to fall for it.

    His tinfoil hat is in the mail.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Is it just me, or does it seem that there’s a whole gaggle of crazies who are disappointed that Obama hasn’t started a new war yet?

    • Is not just you.

    • Christopher Foxx

      They’re very much in favor of him starting a new war. They want him to start a new war because nothing makes them feel as good as showing off how big their dicks are.

      They’re very much opposed to him starting a new war. They want him to start a new war so they can attack him for doing exactly the same thing Bush was attacked for. They’ll attack him for doing it because it’s a bad thing while simultaneously using his doing it as proof that it’s not a bad thing when Bush did it.

      It’s all very typical Republican hypocrisy logic.

      • D_C_Wilson

        And instead, they’re stuck attacking him for not starting a new war.

        • Christopher Foxx

          I know. Obama really isn’t playing fair.

  • D_C_Wilson

    This is right in the territory of Erik Rush claiming that Obama wanted to nuke the US but was stopped by a trio of generals.

  • Scopedog

    “Unless I missed something; unless I slept through a war and no one told
    me; we didn’t unilaterally topple Assad. There was no strike.”

    Of course there was a strike against Assad. It just happened in a parallel universe, one that a whole bunch of dudebros and now–sadly it seems, Hersh–are living in.

    Meanwhile, in THIS universe, nothing of the sort happened. But why is Hersh bringing this up _now_? There was no attack on Assad, the regime has given up its chemical weapons stash, and we have not put any boots on the ground in Syria. What’s the purpose behind this?

  • KarenJ

    Like Bill Clinton’s off-the-cuff remarks about the ACA, I’m sure the wingnut right media will grab this nugget and run with it as if it’s a serious, intelligent assessment. Crackpots attract other crackpots.

  • Jon Fox

    He’s drifted deep into the Greenwaldverse.

  • beulahmo

    Weren’t foreign policy wonks already aware that the Obama administration was cherry-picking the evidence to support a strike, back before Putin and Assad decided to be a tiny bit less assholish? That’s a big part of what the hullaballoo was all about — wasn’t it?? Or am I dreaming? But I thought it later become obvious to all but the twistiest-thinking ODS right wing that President Obama’s efforts were always a calculated gamble toward goading Assad/Putin into a desired behavior. The cherry-picking-justification was to support a strike threat. I understand why such a thing (considered in isolation, apart from confounding factors) is problematic, but I don’t understand Hersh’s analysis, given the results we’ve seen. I’m with Bob: what are we missing?

  • Lady Willpower

    He’s done more than just meander into crackpot territory. He’s moved in, set up shop, introduced himself to the neighbors, and had a block party.

    • D_C_Wilson

      It wasn’t evena a meander. He made a straight-arrow bullseye right into the crackpot territory.

    • Those two sentences win the Internet Award today – I giggled and read them three times in a row, just to savour the brilliance.

  • Art__VanDalay

    He’s been predicting a war with Iran “in the next few months” every 6 months for that past 10 years or so.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Well, that’s because Iran has been 6 months away from producing a nuclear weapon for the past 10 years or so.

    • drspittle

      So does the Friedman Unit now become the Hersh Unit?

  • Robert Scalzi

    Meandering through ?? more like stuck in the quicksand of crackpottery

  • missliberties

    Sad pathetic Seymour