All we have now


“’All we have now is front-line positions,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘Everything else is missing.'”

That’s from Sy Hersh’s new piece in The New Yorker, now up and on-line. It reads like it was a tad rushed. But sometimes the goods you have are so choice and the story is moving so quickly that it’s well worth pushing ahead into print. This is one of those times. Hersh’s piece is unquestionably today’s required reading.

Also, don’t miss the long, ominous quote from Robert Baer, a former CIA middle east operator (don’t ask) who is the author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the Cia’s War on Terrorism. Though not one of them by any means, Baer used to be one of those guys who the neos would send you to to get a sense of what it was like in Iraq in the 1990s. So he’s not one they can easily dismiss.

And there’s yet another troubling development. We continue to hear that it is only the presence of the fedayeen Saddam that is preventing more Iraqis from rallying to our banner. I have no doubt this is true to some degree. But it is at least partly belied by the apparently substantial number of Iraqis who are leaving Jordan to go back to Iraq to fight against us.

The flacks at the DOD now say they may release new information on Saddam’s repression and human rights violations. But this has the troubling sound of an institution and an argument in a feedback loop. We know Saddam’s a beast. The fact simply doesn’t seem to be leading to the result that some had anticipated. More evidence that he’s a beast is off point. Sure, we may find the Iraqis’ response hard to fathom. But why did Anne Murray ever sell so many records? Why did CNN ever have Talkback Live? Some things are just inexplicable …