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Monday, May 16, 2005

seymour hersh's "the price of power: kissinger in the nixon white house"

when i read the price of power i become even more skeptical about what the bush administration wackjobs are doing in irak and elsewhere.. i become more distrusting... i begin to think things like newsweek is retracting not because what they said was not true but rather due to political pressure in the face of increasing rioting in afghanistan...... now i know seymour hersh has never been a republican favorite...he was the person by the way that did some great reporting on the abu ghraib prison scandal in irak and sorta blew the door off the hinges on that one (and he also wrote about the american massacre at my lai).. but seymour hersh is a well reputed journalist who worked for the new york times and won pulitzer prizes... he's no loony... well i'm in the midst of his book the price of power, published in 1983, and its depressing reading how nixon and kissinger came up with a system to centralize foreign policy decisionmaking in the white house and cut out anyone else including the departments of state and defense... when i read the passage on the bombing of cambodia i began to think that if that could have happened- and there is no disagreement that it did- then there is no guarantee whatsoever that anything i'm hearing now is true at all.. in essence everything we are told about the war in irak could be a lie...check out this snippet describing the bombing of Cambodia- a country by the way friendly to the United States- which began in 1969 and were unknown about til 1973..its chilling:

Despite the brave talk about standing up to the New York Times, Nixon and Kissinger were obsessed, of course, about Congress and the media. The B-52 bombings, whose early justification had been the need to respond immediately to the North Vietnamese challenge, were delayed long enough for Colonel Sitton to perfect a reporting procedure that would insure secrecy. And in the meantime Nixon ordered a top-secret cable sent to Ambassador Bunker in Saigon, explaining that all discussions of B-52 bombings of Cambodia had been suspended. Such a cable, despite its classification, would routinely be read and filed by dozens of senior officers and military clerks. At the same time he had a backchannel message sent directly to General Creighton W. Abrams, commander of the American forces in Vietnam, telling him to ignore the message to Bunker and continue planning for the B-52 missions.

Sitton went back to the drawing board and soon devised a plan that seemed foolproof. Sixty B-52 aircraft would be sent on the mission. Twelve of them would drop their bombs on legitimate targets inside South Vietnam; the others would be bombing Cambodia.
Sitton's process was to become known as the dual reporting system. The B-52 pilots would be briefed en masse before their mission on targets that were in South Vietnam- that is, the cover targets. After the normal briefing, some crews would be taken aside and told that shortly before their bombing run they would receive special instructions from a ground radar station inside South Vietnam. The radar sites, using sophisticated computers, would in effect take over the flying of the B-52s for the final moments, guiding them to their real targets over Cambodia and computing the precise moment to drop the bombs. After the mission, all the pilots and crews would return to their home base and debrief the missions as if they had been over South Vietnam. Their successes and failures would then be routinely reported in the Pentagon's secret command and control system as having been in South Vietnam.
The small contingent of officers and men who worked inside the four ground radar sites in South Vietnam were to be provided with top-secret target instructions for the Cambodian bombings by special courier flights from Saigon that arrived a few hours before each mission. The men on the ground knew Cambodia was being bombed, but none of them reported that fact until the Watergate investigations of 1973.

quote from pages 61 and 62 of Seymour Hersh's "The Price of Power"

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