I have already posted my take on Sy Hersh’s most recent article, but I wanted to collect what others are saying with respect to Lebanon. So, from first to worst:
1) Easily the best supplement and/or critique has been the anonymous post on the Josh Landis blog (some of the comments might be interesting, too). He hits the mark by saying:
“Just a final note on Seymour Hersh: he may be very good at researching the US side of a story and exposing bureaucratic debates and infighting over important policy issues. His research and analysis on foreign countries is less impressive.”
2) Also serving as somewhat of a supplement is Bilal Saab’s post on the Landis blog and this article from Brookings. Bech finds it intolerable, but I find it interesting if you can hold your breath while reading inanities about the explanatory power of velayat e faqih, a paean to a lesser light known as Nizar Hamzeh, and a slew of rhetorical, syntactical and grammatic devices that while working contrary to the central thrust of the piece remind the reader that Hizbullah is a sinister force in the universe and that the US and Israel are blameless angels in world affairs. Some of this is downright humorous as one learns that: 1) HA is “legitimately” engaged in domestic politics — how long do you think HA has been waiting for Brookings imperial sanction for its activities; 2) HA’s victory during the war was a “self-proclaimed” one — tis funny that Israeli leaders can say they lost the war, but Brookings cannot; 3) HA poses some ill-defined “challenge” to the United States and Israel, even though the “ambitions” of the US and Israel exist only in the mind of HA and thus are always isolated in knowing and nodding “quotes.” Fortunately, the content of the piece actually runs against the form of these devices, but if you cannot stand US think tank groupspeak on strategic affairs (terror), then avoid the article.
3) Most fun is Tony Badran’s take. Tony calls Hersh’s piece “shrill” and “ideologically skewed” in a post that can only be called shrill and ideologically skewed. In fact, it is classic Tony (no, I don’t know him) in that he is right in correcting some of Hersh’s missteps but those corrections are overwhelmed by his blind fury toward any idea or possibility that will impede, even tangentially, a US-led nuclear assault on the Syrian regime. As always, Tony casts himself as a lonely muhajid against the vast Syrian propaganda machine (‘Helena Cobban, Juan Cole, Josh Landis and Imad Mustapha must be stopped before they take over the world!’). Of course, he is only armed with only the “modest” means and “scarce” political and media resources of the FDD and finds ideological concert only with some related groups whom you probably have not heard of (i.e. pro-Israel lobby, the entire US defense lobby, the vast majority of US foreign policy establishment, etc.). In truth, he is a sharp guy, but I just wonder how someone can blog on and on about Syria and Lebanon without ever mentioning the state of Israel, because the last time I looked at a map … Onward, Christian soldier, it’s truly fun to watch.
4) Some blogs, which I refuse to link to as a matter of public health, are relieved that Tony has spoken for them, and will be again when Michael Young says the same thing in the DS in a couple of days.
5) God’s blogger, The Pentagon, had a strange response:
“The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran,” (spokesman) Whitman says. “To suggest anything to the contrary is simply wrong, misleading and mischievous.”
It is strange because of the word “mischievous.” To my paranoid mind that word choice suggests that, as I have joined others in saying before, the Leeden-esque wing of the WH is actually delighted to have media reports of its recklessness in the Middle East. I would also add here that Bush is on record calling Hersh a “liar.”
I will add takes as I find them, unless I get bored with this …