Only the Shadow Knows, I Guess

Our intensive retreat ended yesterday, but now I have a nasty cold and don’t want to do anything. But I’ll write something.

Today’s buzz is about the new Sy Hersh book, which claims that the “official” story of how Osama bin Laden was found and killed is a cover up for another story, that some Pakistani officials arranged for bin Laden to be offed, and the whole story of the super secret dangerous special ops raid was just for show.

And I confess I haven’t read the Sy Hersh piece in the London Review of Books, mostly because I feel crappy. The basic theory is that because we don’t know absolutely everything about everything, with access to all evidence, there must be a cover up, and Hersh’s account seems compelling to some.  Glenn Greenwald, Marcy Wheeler and the FireDogLake crew have more or less embraced Hersh’s narrative. The crew at Vox say that Hersh’s book is riddled with inconsistencies, and its sourcing is more than flimsy. For what it’s worth, journalists and Middle East experts have expressed huge doubts about Hersh’s claims. I’ll let you guys make up your own minds about it.

The Hersh story poses some surprising difficulties for the Right.  Part of Hersh’s claim is that the “official narrative” was crafted to make it appear use of torture helped bring bin Laden down, when in fact Pakistan knew where he was all along and handed him up on a plate for some quid pro quo. So if they embrace Hersh’s story, the righties have to admit “enhanced interrogation” was useless.

However, I doubt many of them will spin their wheels over this point. Righties are champs at maintaining hugely contradictory beliefs. Who needs consistency? It will be no problem at all for them to believe that the Osama bin Laden raid was a fabrication, but even so the raid proved that torture works. But, frankly, I never bought the claim that the “official” raid story supports torture.

In other news: Somebody shot George Zimmerman. He doesn’t seem to be seriously injured.

18 thoughts on “Only the Shadow Knows, I Guess

  1. Our Reich-Wingers really, really LOOOOOOOOOOOVES them some torture!!!
    Especially, torturing us libtards – usually with a complete lack of knowledge, or “intellectual” consistency.

    Of course, it’s mental torture, not physical.
    But, knowing them, if they get in power, just give them some time, give them some time…

    Another reason that the Reicher’s are pissed, besides Hirsh’s claim that torture wasn’t a part of the raid, is that it was Obama who was in charge of Osama’s execution, and not the Bushies.

    I don’t think they’ll make this story a HUUUUUUGE issue – like they do with everything else – because it’ll remind people that it was Obama who finally got bin Laden.
    They actually might be embarrassed – hard as that is to be believed.
    Usually, they don’t know the meaning of embarrassment.

  2. I would almost “bet the farm” that we are the only couple in our little southern town that has a subscription to the “London review of Books.” But, I have to be honest, I am usually reading something else. I do seem to have more pedestrian sensibilities, but I’ll give it a glance.

    It does seem that we are among the most heavily propagandized people in history, and yet we haven’t cracked the code yet. But, I hope that some day we will.

    Your post reminded me of a story I heard about a woman who contracted a serious gastro-intestinal problem when she was en route to meet the Dalai Lama. She felt moribund, although she was not. Her companion remarked, “Well, this will be good practice for dying.”


    I know you are made of far sterner stuff than the rest of us. Seek your salvation with diligence. We will abide until you return.

  3. Well, Hersh’s narrative uses the phrases, “they must have known” and “more probable” to describe Pakistan’s involvement in the raid on bin Laden. Those phrases lead me to believe that Hersh is grasping at straws to convince listeners that he knows what he’s talking about.. I’d say try it again, Hersh, when you have something concrete, but in the mean time go shit in your hat with your unsupported theory. The Obama administration still controls the narrative.
    Hersh fails to convince..and aside from that, why would he want to besmirch American exceptionalism?

  4. “Among the most propagandized people in history.” I’ll say. While listening to Terry Gross tonight on my way home, she was interviewing a scientist who says Buddhism is the only religion which has similar aspects of science. The teachings encourage followers to seek the truth. Listening to the guys at work during lunch break is like listening to FOX news. Free thinkers are a rare breed.
    I don’t buy much of the official narrative.

  5. “. . .now I have a nasty cold . . .”

    That’s the problem with group practice, someone spreads a virus and it goes contagious. Could be a metaphor or something in there.

  6. When it comes to an operation like this one, do we not take it for granted that the government will not tell us everything that happened? Something that was Top Secret certainly will not be described in a transparent way even when it is over. Bin Laden was living a few blocks from Pakistan’s West Point; no one seriously believed that they were unaware of his whereabouts.

  7. I recommend tea with whiskey, honey and a cinnamon stick. Works wonders. Regarding the conspiracy theory, I’m doubtful. Obama can spin a tall tale with the best of them, even republicans.

    True, if OBL had been outed by the Pakistani gov’t, there had to be a cover story for the snitch…or he wouldn’t live to spend his 30 pieces of silver. OBL, though was able to survive by trusting very few. How much can we believe – after the fact – that folks were in the know who would have divulged the secret.

  8. It has always seemed curious to me that the Pakistani government didn’t know of OBL living right there under their noses. It was an unusual building for that area as I understand it. Also, it does seem that he was living like a hermit and in hiding from someone/something. Watching the video of him (an old man) watching himself on TV was pitiful and makes me think he had no more power over what he used to have. Just an old burned-out whatever. However, what the true story is I will probably never know and frankly don’t give a damn.

  9. “honey and a cinnamon stick”

    Hey wasn’t Huckabuck hawking that as a cure for cancer or diabetes or something?

    “Glenn Greenwald, Marcy Wheeler and the FireDogLake crew have more or less embraced Hersh’s narrative”

    Well there you go then, if it makes Osama, I mean Obama look bad it must be true. Poor old Seymour it must be awful for a once prominent journalist to have to resort to such unsavoriness just to hawk a book, he should run for the GOP presidential nomination!

  10. uncledad – you compared me to Huckabee??!!!! Good for you that I’m under house arrest or I might do a Zimmerman. (Our culture as at the point where a name can describe a variety of virtues or vices)

  11. The news story I read said that the shooter was claiming self defense. If there’s a remote chance that this is true, *since no one was seriously injured*, it would tickle me mightily if Zimmerman found that the cops couldn’t make an arrest.

    (I wouldn’t want even Zimmerman to be hurt and have no legal recourse, unless I was sure he was the assailant. But if I heard a long screed about how *unfair* Florida’s self defense laws were, for letting someone *shoot at him* and then not even have charges brought… well, I’m not sure I’d be able to keep a straight face as I tried to look sympathetic enough to keep him talking to maximize amusement value.)

  12. you compared me to Huckabee??!!!!

    No Doug I would never, even if you are currently shackled inside your palatial Florida estate! I was merely being flippant comparing your advice to maha to a recently topical subject about Huckabuck hawking phony miracle cures. Haven’t you figured out my sense of humor or lack thereof yet?
    I was thinking about your act of protest this morning on my drive to work and what exactly it would take to get congress to take your message seriously. A vision of a hundred or so gyro-copters descending on capitol hill taking anti-aircraft fire popped into my head!

  13. There have been some on the inside of the intelligence industrial complex who have publicly admitted torture does not work, that we are worse off for it, and provided good reasons why any information gained through torture cannot be trusted on its own.

    That being said, there have been too many connections between al Qaeda, Pakistan’s ISI and the Taliban for one to assume that no one in Pakistani government did not know bin Laden was there, at some point.

    What’s despicable about this is that they are pushing back on Hersh to save the torture narrative, and/or the Pakistani government.

    But I’ve always thought that, when it comes to “terror” and the US relationship with Pakistan, when you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas. (and no, I am not referring to Pakistanis as dogs)

  14. uncledad – I’m not offended and I am used to your humor. As in ‘palatial estate’.

    Congress won’t take anything seriously until they see torches and pitchforks. My flight was a summons for that. We’re going to stage into that – it’s not going to happen overnight and not because of me alone. But it is happening.

  15. As near as I can tell, whatever lies are involved don’t make much difference to me. Obama ordered the assassination; this was carried out; the rest is details. So the action-adventure tale was to cover Pakistani derriere? So what. The cover story failed, so they had to spin a new and clumsier web of lies? Yawn. The only issue that may concern me is; where’s the body? Hersh says OBL’s body was obliterated in the gunfire; color me skeptical.

  16. Just a thought, well, not really a “thought,” may almost a thought.

    An automobile can be a deadly weapon. So, if you are making threatening gestures with your automobile and I am afraid for my life. Can I take defensive action?

    Road rage + Stand Your Ground = ?

    Oh, yeah, Road + Stand Your Ground = “more polite society”

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