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Seymour Hersh: Military Waging War With White House

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

By Neil Offen
The Herald-Sun

DURHAM — The U.S. military is not just fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s most renowned investigative journalist says.

The army is also “in a war against the White House — and they feel they have [President] Obama boxed in,” Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh told several hundred people in Duke University’s Page Auditorium on Tuesday night. “They think he’s weak and the wrong color. Yes, there’s racism in the Pentagon. We may not like to think that, but it’s true and we all know it.”

In a speech on Obama’s foreign policy, Hersh, who uncovered the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War and torture at Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraqi war, said many military leaders want Obama to fail.

“A lot of people in the Pentagon would like to see him get into trouble,” he said. By leaking information that the commanding officer in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says the war would be lost without an additional 40,000 American troops, top brass have put Obama in a no-win situation, Hersh contended.

“If he gives them the extra troops they’re asking for, he loses politically,” Hersh said. “And if he doesn’t give them the troops, he also loses politically.”

The journalist criticized the president for “letting the military do that,” and suggested the only way out was for Obama to stand up to them.

“He’s either going to let the Pentagon run him or he has to run the Pentagon,” Hersh said. If he doesn’t, “this stuff is going to be the ruin of his presidency.”

Hersh called the “Af-Pak” situation — the spreading conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan — Obama’s main challenge....(Remainder.)

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