BERKELEY – The Iraq war is not
winnable, a secret U.S. military unit has been "disappearing" people
since December 2001, and America has no idea how irreparably its torture
of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison has damaged its image in the Middle East.
These were just a few of the grim pronouncements made by Pulitzer Prize–winning
investigative reporter Seymour "Sy" Hersh to KQED host Michael
Krasny before a Berkeley audience on Friday night (Oct. 8).
The past two years will "go down as one of the classic sort of failures"
in history, said the man who has been called the "greatest muckraker
of all time" and (paradoxically) the "enfant terrible of journalism
for more than 30 years." While Hersh blamed the White House and the Pentagon
for the Iraq quagmire and America's besmirched world image, he was stymied
by how it all happened. "How could eight or nine neoconservatives come
and take charge of this government?" he asked. "They overran the bureaucracy,
they overran the Congress, they overran the press, and they overran the
military! So you say to yourself, How fragile is this democracy?"