Saturday, July 05, 2008

Max Boot Applies Analytical Foot to Sy Hersh's Backside

Seymour Hersh became a notable journalist for breaking the story of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War. Since then he's kept himself in beans and cornbread by offering faux insider information that feeds the conspiracy fears of the far left.

Since 9/11 he has presented in the pages of the New Yorker, his most recent journalistic home, various reportages, based always on anonymous sources, alleging all kinds of frightening high jinx amongst the Bush Administration's most evil neocons, always opposed by sensible, righteous folks in the military, of all places.

Most recently Hersh offered the organic-Chardonnay-swilling readership of what was once America's premier weekly magazine more of his alarmist "journalism": the assertion that the Bushies are softening up Iran for an end-of-administration invasion via ramped-up covert operations.

Enter Max Boot--him of the superb name to be what he is, an esteemed military and diplomatic analyst and columnist. Boot, whose competence is most recently demonstrated by his prescient championing of the Iraq surge before the administration even began its own serious consideration of that strategic change, notes just how poorly sourced and poorly reasoned Hersh's conspiracy theories are. At best, Hersh consistently notes that on any matter of global action, there are differences of opinion among government officials. How surprising!

SWNID draws attention to this very lopsided debate for several reasons.

One is to lament again that what was once a favorite SWNIDish read, the literate, apolitical eclecticism of William Shawn's New Yorker, has become wealthy, effete, Upper-West-Side socialist nonsense since the imposition of the execrable Tina Brown and her successors as editors. Even the fact that the magazine continues at an inexpensive price to be a haven of witty cartoons and readable short fiction is not enough to induce us to browse it at the library, let alone subscribe.

Another is to note that the worst fears of the pacifist opposition to military action in the Middle East continue to be unrealized. Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be tougher than anyone wants, but the outcomes continue to be slowly transformative of the global landscape. Guys like Boot, who unlike Hersh remember events before 1968, keep telling us that important truth.

We wrap up with a reminder to the many gentle readers who were born after 1975 and didn't really experience Vietnam and its immediate aftermath. Guys like Hersh, leftovers of the 1960s and 1970s antiwar left sound bold and cool without the full story on their roots and the full examination of their fruits. Those of us who've been watching realize that when their view was ascendant and the United States isolated itself from intervention in global affairs, the world was a significantly worse place to live.

SWNID, having lived on this present earth longer already than we expect to live on it in the future, now listens to the many people younger than himself who seem to perceive a world more conformed to the view of the Hershes than the Boots. Against such, we urge a more careful consideration of history, both recent and not so.

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