While the American media underplayed the recent tussles between Fatah and Hamas in Palestine – after all, the US couldn’t be to blame, surely! – and the black blogosphere is starting to find its voice in the world’s leading super-power, the country’s finest investigative journalist Seymour Hersh argues that the Bush years have been unlike any other in his life-time:
The bottom line is nobody in this government talks to me. I’ve been around for 40 years – in Bush I, in the Reagan years, certainly in Democratic regimes, but even in Republican regimes where I am more of a pain – I’ve always had tremendous relationships with people. This is the first government in which in order to get my stories checked out to make sure I’m not going to kill some American, I have to go to peoples’ mailboxes at night, people I talk to and know, and put it in their mailbox before turning it into The New Yorker, to get them to read it and say, “Oh, Page 4, you better not say that, Hersh.” I can’t do that with the government. I used to always go and sit down and talk with the heads of the CIA and heads of other agencies. These guys are just really quantitatively different. You are either with us or against us across the board. And this is why I count days [til Bush leaves office].
Hersh also talks about his Jewish identity:
I like a lot of the historical stuff; I’m agnostic about the religion. But I certainly understand the power of faith, and I wish the American Jews could talk more to some of the Israelis I know and see how open-minded they are about many issues American Jews are not. There is tremendous diversity in Israel. Here the stuff of conversation ends up in a bloody fight; there you can discuss anything. My [three] children chose: Some went through the bar mitzvah process; some did not. I’m a believer in you do what you want to do. For me, my Jewish heritage comes mainly in literature. I identify very strongly with the Saul Bellows and Philip Roths of this world. But it’s so irrelevant that I am Jewish when I write about Jewish issues. It really is for me. It’s just like it is irrelevant what my personal opinion is on things.
And he comments on the Mearsheimer/Walt book on the Israel lobby:
You can’t touch them in terms of being anti-Semitic. They are realists. They are from the realists’ school. I haven’t read the book, but it’s not either/or, either support Israel or don’t. It’s: try and use the tremendous support and relationship we have to modify their behavior more than we do. But this government and that relationship [with Israel] is really profound, and it is just very secretive between us and Israel. It is not transparent, and that is not healthy for anybody.