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Hersh didn’t just tell his story at Berkeley. He also told it on “The Diane Rehm Show,” which NPR syndicates. The day Hersh was on the show (Friday, October 1) it was guest hosted by Steven Roberts.
Roberts, of course, is a contributing editor at US News & World Report as well as the husband of Cokie Roberts. So you’d assume that when he heard this, as a journalist he’d immediately think: god, I’ve got to find out more about this, from Hersh or any other way I can. And maybe I’ll even tell my wife about it, so ABC News can use its gigantic resources to cover this.
But no. When Hersh told the story, Roberts barely batted an eyelid. I’d say it’s beyond belief, except it’s not. But it really is an incredible indictment of Roberts, as well as Washington journalists generally.
Here’s a transcript of the exchange. It starts at about 12:25
HERSH: Two days ago, let me just tell you this, I got a call. I got this call, I’ve been getting these calls since My Lai. Guy in the field, officer he’s got a unit, and they’re near a village, and they were told the village was occupied by the insurgents. They were told to do something about it. So there was a group of Iraqis, they’d been very friendly with the guards around the granary. His men had gotten very friendly with these Iraqis. They were paid a few bucks each to protect the granary. It’s in the rural area on the way to Syria from Baghdad. When they were told to do something about it, another unit came in and began to kill all the guards who were very friendly with the Americans in front of this other unit. And this soldier’s an officer, tried to stop it. Couldn’t stop it. Tried to complain about it. Was told, “No, we’ve got a great kill, we’ve killed a lot of insurgents.” Remember body counts?
His concern was, he was so shocked and disillusioned he didn’t know what to do. Do you know what my advice I give him? Do nothing. You’ve made your complaint. Everybody knows you’re hot about. You’ve got a lot of guys there with a lot of weapons. Just keep it cool.
And that’s where we are. It’s so much like Vietnam.
ROBERTS: Probably the other thing you said to him was, “And call me regularly.”
HERSH: No “when you get back.”
ROBERTS: Seymour Hersh. His new book is called “Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib”…