Sunday, April 09, 2006

Loose Lips

U.S. Forces to Storm Beaches at Normandy
"Insides Sources" Tell of Plan to Fool Nazis

Sunday, April 8, 1944

New York- The Roosevelt administration has been carrying out secret reconnaissance missions to learn about German fortifications, airfields, and troops strengths in the French province of Normany in preparation for a possible amphibious assualt there, journalist Seymour Hersh said Sunday.

The effort has been under way at least since last summer, Hersh said on Walter Winchell's radio show.

In an interview on the same program, General George S. Patton said the story was "riddled with inaccuracies."

"I don't believe that some of the conclusions he's drawing are based on fact," Patton said. "That &%$#@* is nothing but a $%@*&% *&^%#$. But don't quote me on that."

Nazi Germany has refused to dismantle its massive fortifications along the French coast facing the English Channel, which it insists are legal and are intended solely for civilian purposes.

Hersh said U.S. officials were involved in "extensive planning" for a possible attack -- "much more than we know." Although the exact timing of the attack is unknown, Hersh said "it looks good for early June."

"The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets that could be destroyed by bomber raids and short-term commando raids," he wrote in "The New Yorker" magazine, which published his article in editions that will be on newsstands April 17th. "Meanwhile the Allies are engaged in a plan to fool Hitler into believing that the attack will come at the Pas de' Calais, rather than further south at Normandy."

Hersh is a veteran journalist who was the first to write about many details of the Army's secret plan to build a "super bomb" in the Nevada desert capable of destroying an entire city.

He said his information on the Normandy invasion came from "inside" sources who divulged it in the hope that publicity would force the administration to reconsider.

"I think that's one of the reasons some of the people on the inside talk to me," he said.

Hersh said the government did not answer his request for a response before the story's publication, and that his sources include people in government whose information has been reliable in the past.

Hersh said Roosevelt, Vice President Henry Wallace and Secretary of War James V. Forrestal view Roosevelt's re-election as "a mandate to continue the war on fascism," despite problems with the U.S.-led war in Italy.

Last week, the effort to find concentration camps in Italy -- the Roosevelt administration's stated primary rationale for the war -- was halted after having come up empty.


portia said...

Very clever.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I found little in Hersch's claim that the Bush administration is studying options for military strikes against Iran to be either startling or even new. The administration has been engaged in sabre-rattling with Iran for months...for years. Cheney warns of "meaningful consequences" if Iran does not give up its nuclear aspirations. Rice repeatedly says all options are on the table. Bolton announced last month that if Iran’s government continues seeking nuclear weapons there will be "tangible and painful consequences."

Bush said recently "The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally, Israel. That's a threat, a serious threat. . . . I'll make it clear again that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel." And we've known since 2004, after Iranian civilains mistook our drones for UFOs, that the US has been flying secret surveillance drones over Iran to detect nucelar activity.

Maybe if Hersch had reported that the Administration is not considering action against Iran, I might find that more damning or even newsworthy.

But even if Hersh's article does includes nuggets of "classified" information or some state secret, how do we know that this isn't a planned "leak?" We need look no further than Scooter Libby's leak--alright, let's call it a "disclosure"-- to Judith Miller in early July 2003 (when he suggested that she attrtibute the NIE story to a "former Hill staffer") to appreciate that information can come from sources wearing all types of sheep's clothing. Call me skeptical.

spd rdr said...

Okay, Skeptical.
But I sure hope we're planning something short of nuclear conflict. I'm too old for "duck and cover" drills.

portia said...

I'm too old for "duck and cover" drills.

Speak for yourself:)

Cassandra said...

The most important sentence in that whole article:

The news escalated tension between Tehran and Washington.

The one thing everyone on the right and left agrees upon?

Armedejad or whatever the hell his name is (I'm too tired to look up the spelling) is an unstable nutjob.

Which leaves me with just one question:

Just what in the hell do people like Seymour Hersch mean to accomplish by little stunts like this?

I am sick and tired of so-called "whistleblowers" who feel appointed by God almighty to meddle in everything our government does. Who blows the whistle on the whistleblowers - thats what I want to know? To whom are these sons of b**ches accountable?

portia said...

I don't know Cass. After months of Iran's rhetoric and last week's release of its "war game" photographs, I'm not sure how troubled the US is by Iran believing that we have military plans we are seriously considering. It's another form of pressure, and if it takes reporting by Sy Hersh to help drive home that possibility, maybe it ain't such a bad thing. My big fear is that we're playing a game of "chicken" with a madman. My big fear is that spd is correct: We're too old for "duck and cover." But that's a different issue.

You can blame Sy Hersh for printing comments made by Pentagon and senior intelligence officials. Many do. But I approach this from a different angle: Hersh is an investigative reporter-- not a PR arm of the White House--and everyone with whom he speaks knows that. So why are so many named and unnamed high-level "officials" willing to go "on background" with him? Because they should, or because they can? Hmmm.

Not all "leaks" are bad, and it certainly wouldn't be the first time an administration "exploited" the press to get its "message" out. The story of Eisenhower tapping James Reston, the noted NYT's reporter, to send a "non-official" signal to the Chinese that Ike was losing patience with the Korean peace talks and threatening to use nuclear weapons unless an armistice was reached is particularly instructive.

So is James Reston's quote that: "A government is the only vessel known to leak from the top." I dare say, it still is.

Cassandra said...

Anyone "can" do a bad thing. That doesn't mean they ought to be provided assistance when they do it.

The Pentagon is an absolutely enormous institution full of people with different agendas. Many of them have overblown egos. All too many of them are fools.
You can walk down the halls and find someone who will tell you just about anything if you try hard enough. Reporters spin this fable of the Pentagon as some monolithic org that indulges in groupthink, with only a few courageous whistleblowers willing to buck the system and speak truth to powah. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. I call it the five-sided funny farm: it is a Byzantine place with more factions than you can shake a stick at.

That a man like Hersch is able to find a few "officials" willing to talk out of school and tell him what he wants to hear is always touted as "proof" that something sinister is going on, when in fact it is only proof that people are still astonishingly predictable.

I am sick and tired of reporters who check their nationality at the door. Any rational person would ask themselves a few questions before writing an article like this:

1. Is Iran a friend or an enemy?

Hmmm. Let's see. An enemy.

2. Now that we've established we're dealing with an enemy, will printing this article increase my country's options in dealing with this nation, narrow them, or have no effect?

Well this one is pretty predictable: I've just handed them a stick to beat my country over the head with, even if it isn't true and even if it's totally predictable, just by saying it openly. When a major newspaper comes out and says "officials" say the US is planning to attack another country, that country now can claim injury and use that claim, if they wanted to, as a pretext for whatever they want to, especially if they are irrational to begin with. Countries have, in the past, slid into war on much slighter grounds than that. *Maybe a responsible reporter shouldn't do that.*

Oh, but he knows better, doesn't he?

The point being this: it is one thing for the government to say what our plans are. That is diplomacy during a sensitive time.

It is entirely another for people like Jimmy Carter or idiot reporters to meddle and engage in amateur diplomacy by journalism. They can rationalize however they wish. It is still wrong. If, as you say, he reported nothing surprising or new, then where was the news value?

You're afraid we're playing a game of "chicken" with a madman?

Well your boy just ratcheted the game up another notch. Unnecessarily.

portia said...

If, as you say, he reported nothing surprising or new, then where was the news value?

Canvas for debate? Outcry for restraint?

I still hold to the possibility that these stories--and Hersh's article is only one of several that have been published in the past weeks-- on war plans, nuclear options, and "tangible and painful consequences" comments from named Admin. officials, etc., are part of the US's disinformation and psychological strategy to squeeze Iran.

If not, may our children forgive us.

Cassandra said...

Pretty expensive canvas, if it ends up being used by the other side as a pretext for some irrational act, wouldn't you say?

Just where does this man get off playing the brinksmanship game with the lives of our servicemen, or our lives (or those of the Israelis, for that matter) just because, in his uninformed judgment (and he does not know as much as the administration unless he is sitting in on all the top-secret briefings with the President) things are not going as he thinks they ought to?

Would you be just as approving, Portia, if someone on the far right, say Pat Buchanan, "leaked" info because they *wanted* to provoke a war and didn't think the administration was being forward enough? That is precisely the type of end-justifies-the-means diplomacy-by-journalism you are approving here. You just happen to applaud it because the ends are *you*.

The difference between you and I is that I don't approve of it no matter who does it, or for what reason. Seymour Hersch was not elected by the voters of this nation and is not accountable to us, and he has no business interfering in matters of State.

I find it highly unlikely that Seymour Hersch is a tool of the White House. And according to the news accounts I've read, Cheney was not directed by Bush to leak anything to the press.

The lawyer knowledgeable about the case said Bush instructed Cheney to "get it out" and left the details about disseminating the intelligence to him. The lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case for the White House, said Cheney chose Libby and communicated the president's wishes to his then-top aide.

"I don't think there's any evidence that the president told the vice president to go leak information to the press," said Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz.

So that little theory, while interesting, loses a lot of currency.

Anyone who's been watching Bush for the past 5 years has got to have a great deal of difficulty thinking that man would use the press for anything. I have been laughing myself silly for the past week watching the madness, but I have been content to wait because I do not pretend to know everything. But some things just do not add up, and this did not add up.

Now it does. In spades, sadly. Bush is a lot of things, but one thing the man is not, is backhanded or overly Byzantine. If he's going to come at you, he's going to come at you head on. He also has a bad tendency to rely on a few trusted advisors - it's (frankly) his worst tendency as a leader. I have never believed idiots who think he doesn't make his own decisions: I've read too many inside accounts for that to square, and the leadership style doesn't add up either.

But he doesn't always know when to cut his losses with close advisors and cut them loose. Loyal to a fault, I believe it is called, and it is becoming a liability.

And now you may faint. You just heard me criticize my husband's commander in chief. And yes, it was painful, because I like the man.

Cassandra said...

And I'm sorry for sounding so heated Portia :) You know how I get sometimes.


I hope I didn't sound angry, because I'm not. Just a very long day at work, I am fighting off a sore throat my husband keeps trying to give to me (I don't want it) and as usual I just typed the words as they came out of my oh-so-fried-brain and hoped you'd understand what I meant.

And then, being me, I started to worry. Women.

Sheesh. Please forgive me if I sounded obnoxious. I didn't mean to be. I'm just very tired.

spd rdr said...

How the hell do I find friends like you two? How the hell do I deserve to do so? If nothing else, I am not dumber for reading your remarks, something (as you know) of which I have been accused.

Well argued, both of you. Somebody could use your services in Washington.

Me? I'm just waiting on the next opportunity to skewer a self-important asshole on his own schtick.

Cassandra said...

And me, I'm just cowering in hopes Portia doesn't come back and bury me in links... heh. I always say I want an opponent who can make a logical, forceful, coherent argument and back it up with facts. Arguing with Portia, I'm often reminded of two things:

1. The old maxim, "Be careful what you wish for.", and

2. That famous quote from St. Augustine:

"Dear Lord, Give me chastity and continence... but not yet."

*running away*

portia said...

No need for apologies, Cass. As one of my nutjo....I mean, conservative friends quipped to me yesterday: At least Bush has a plan to start WWIII. I don’t see the Democrats with any plan. Heh.

Lucky for you guys, I'm short on time these days. I'm been busy tieing up loose ends before I start a new job on Monday; in the meantime, today is OPENING DAY, and I have a date with a Team in the Bronx! Yahoo.

I trust that we'll have a chance to trade links often. I expect too that new "leaks" will catch one or both of us "with our pants down" now and again:)

I can hear spd, now: And the bad news is?

spd rdr said...

And the bad news is?
The Yankees win thier home opener!

Have fun today!

Cassandra said...

I'll be wishing you luck! My little nieces are attending the Nats' opener. I'd be more jealous if I were more optimistic about their chances... heh.

And congrats on the new job :) You are probably President of something, knowing you.

*slinking back to my lowly cubicle*

Cassandra said...

As one of my nutjo....I mean, conservative friends quipped to me yesterday...

Ummm... we prefer the term "whackjob", thank-you-very-much, missie.

spd rdr said...

Didn't you know, Cass? Portia is the new token conservative on the New York Times Editorial Board. We've been training her for months!

Cassandra said...

Oh my dear Lord. For that I would even pay for TimeSelect. It would be worth it to see an intelligent female writer up there.

portia said...

Portia is the new token conservative on the New York Times Editorial Board. We've been training her for months!

For that I would even pay for TimesSelect....

I thought about applying for that position but after the guy at the WaPo was run out of town for his questionable credentials, I was worried that my conservative "training" at Heigh Ho might not pass the NYT's oh-so-strict- background check:)

I opted instead for a job working along side several hundred panty-wearing, bed wetting, Volvo driving, Shrub-hating, ACLU-loving, Upper West Side Jewish attorneys. I'm not saying they're liberals but if they are....

Thanks for the good wishes and vote of confidence, guys. I promise not to let any of those &$%# moonbats tarnish the affection I hold for my #)&$) wingnut friends at spd's place.

Um spd, I am welcome here...still? Yes?
Good answer:)

Cass, I may not have a job at the NYT but I'll be happy to e-mail you my TimesSelect log-in. Heh. As long as we're going to exchange "links" we should be reading the same "leaks."

Kisses all around.

Cassandra said...

Actually, that sounds wonderful Portia.

I got the biggest surprise about six weeks ago. One of my closest friends from high school emailed me out of the blue - I'd lost touch with her for 30 years. Turns out she lives in Manhattan! Don't know about the Volvo, but I suspect that, tongue in cheek, the rest of the description is pretty apt except that she owns her own art business. She's tons smarter than I am and figured out VC was me in short order, so we've been happily discussing various topics via email on and off for weeks :)

So y'all have me surrounded. Surrender is only a matter of time.

portia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
portia said...

She found you by reading VC? Wow, that's very cool. So when are you coming to NY, Cass? spd is dying for us to meet:)

Not one to beat dead horse--except when I'm right:)--but more to my earlier point re: Hersh/WaPo revelations:

But if [Iranian bomb talk] also has the added effect of persuading Tehran's mullahs that the U.S. is serious about not letting them get the bomb, then maybe this "speculation" will have done some good.

portia said...

Note to self: Finish reading all the morning paper's before you engage in beating that dead horse:)

It is partly for that reason...that President Bush and his aides see some benefits in the increasing public discussion about what the White House may do if diplomacy fails to persuade Iran to halt what they suspect is a nuclear weapons program....[and serves] as one senior official called "a reminder" to the Iranian government and to Europe, Russia and China "of where this could go one day."

Cassandra said...

Actually she found me b/c our tiny HS insists on posting our email addresses w/out our permission on an 'opt-out' basis and yours truly the procrastinator never opted out. But she was smart enough to figure out after that, that VC was me. Amazing. But we shared a love of writing in HS so that may not be too surprising.

And yeah, I'm sure mr rdr just can't *wait* for that to happen :)

Actually I am supposed to be coming up there twice in the coming months. Once with the spouse, youngest son, and his fiancee (so that's probably right out) and once by myself (so that's a definite possibility if my fiendish plans don't fall through :).

spd rdr said...

Would you ladies kindly understand that every single thing you say...

Oh shut me up.

portia said...

goes down on your permanent record?

spd rdr said...

Empress Matilda: Oh, if I were a man!

King Henry II: Thank God, madam, He gave you breasts! An asset from which I derived not the slightest benefit.

-Becket, 1964

portia said...

Ah, Mathilde. Can one desire too much of a good thing?