December 09, 2003

The Pheonix (Project) Rises Again

The Pheonix (Project) Rises Again

Sy Hersh has yet another New Yorker piece up in what seems an interminable series on the nefarious going-ons at the Pentagon, the myriad Iraq faux pas commited by Doug Feith and gang, and how we've pretty much descended into something of a Tet-on-the-Tigris.

It, like much other commentary recently, makes the point that the U.S. is adopting Israeli tactics in Iraq. Hersh, with some justification, isn't too happy about that.

He also reports, and this is something that I haven't seen before, that:

"According to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers—again, in secret—when full-field operations begin. (Neither the Pentagon nor Israeli diplomats would comment. “No one wants to talk about this,” an Israeli official told me. “It’s incendiary. Both governments have decided at the highest level that it is in their interests to keep a low profile on U.S.-Israeli coöperation” on Iraq.) The critical issue, American and Israeli officials agree, is intelligence. There is much debate about whether targeting a large number of individuals is a practical—or politically effective—way to bring about stability in Iraq, especially given the frequent failure of American forces to obtain consistent and reliable information there."

Of course, if this were true, it would provide fresh fodder for conspiracy theorists and Americo-Zionist bashers from Tangier to Jakarta. But I'm not quite sure this has legs. The U.S. has always done its utmost to keep the Israelis out of Iraq related military operations (directly or indirectly) precisely because, as the Israeli diplomat puts it, such charges would indeed be highly "incendiary."

But let's put that theme to the side for a moment. Instead, let's focus on how, as usual, Hersh tends to overstep and criticize the Administration too harshly in his New Yorker pieces by tapping into mostly anti-Bush sources:

"A former intelligence official said that getting inside the Baathist leadership could be compared to “fighting your way into a coconut—you bang away and bang away until you find a soft spot, and then you can clean it out.” An American who has advised the civilian authority in Baghdad said, “The only way we can win is to go unconventional. We’re going to have to play their game. Guerrilla versus guerrilla. Terrorism versus terrorism. We’ve got to scare the Iraqis into submission.” [emphasis added]

We can debate the merits of targeted assassinations and other such so-called "Israeli" style counter-insurgency tactics. But from whom did Hersh fish out this "terrorism versus terrorism" quote from?

Doubtless an Administration critic looking to serve Hersh up a nice soundbite. It's, of course, evocative of unvarnished relativism that doesn't fairly reflect the situation on the ground.

I mean, does this mean that G.I.'s will now be blowing up Red Cross and U.N. headquarters as part of our ramped up "terrorist" counterinsurgency campaign?

Posted by Gregory at December 9, 2003 10:16 AM
Comments

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Posted by: Cialis at October 8, 2004 08:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Posted by: Levaquin at October 12, 2004 07:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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