05 December 2010

The Seymour Hersh Myth of "breaking" the Abu Ghraib Story

Via dailymail.co.uk
A bit of talk radio in the wee hours of the night last night reminded me a recent media myth.  It is striking because it is easily found out, full documentation available on the internet.  Sadly, there was better documentation available a few years ago.

The 2004, Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse in Iraq story is generally credited as "broken by" Seymour M. Hersh.
False.  The US Army Central Command broke the story themselves in January, 2004, long before Hersh wrote a single word about the affair.

Hersh's Chain of Command seems to return to the scene of his first and biggest success: war crimes. But this time facts and logic are rather scarce. Ever since the Pentagon released the news of the investigation of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib in January 2004, Hersh has been taking credit for "breaking" the story. Now, in his new book, he's arguing that since late 2002, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Vice President Cheney, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice have met and made decisions that amounted to ordering the prisoner abuses that later occurred at Abu Ghraib.  

CENTCOM briefed reporters, broadcast live, that an investigation of prisoner abuse was recently initiated.  The announcement was ignored for months as the Army conducted their investigation.  Hersh came along a few months later, with false accusations of a cover-up, and "broke" the story that he and his peers ignored for weeks.

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