Hersh: Bush has accepted “ethnic cleansing” in Iraq

AELX WONG/Getty Images News Famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who has a new piece in the New Yorker, had some very interesting things to say in an interview with Der Spiegel last week. Topics ranged from Hitler to the First Amendment in the United States, but his most interesting comments were on Iran and Iraq. ...

598962_071001_hersh_05.jpg
598962_071001_hersh_05.jpg

AELX WONG/Getty Images News

Famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who has a new piece in the New Yorker, had some very interesting things to say in an interview with Der Spiegel last week. Topics ranged from Hitler to the First Amendment in the United States, but his most interesting comments were on Iran and Iraq. On how much the West knows about Iran's nuclear program:

A lot. And it's been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA's best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they've been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere.

AELX WONG/Getty Images News

Famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who has a new piece in the New Yorker, had some very interesting things to say in an interview with Der Spiegel last week. Topics ranged from Hitler to the First Amendment in the United States, but his most interesting comments were on Iran and Iraq. On how much the West knows about Iran’s nuclear program:

A lot. And it’s been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA’s best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they’ve been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere.

On Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s status inside Iran:

The reality is, he’s not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.

On the “surge” in Iraq:

The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he’s talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He’s not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen.

Unlike a lot of journalists, Hersh will publicly state what’s he thinking, even if it shows political bias. What he said might not be that surprising, but it’s telling because it provides an indication of what some journalist think about what’s going on in the Middle East. It should be noted, however, that Hersh himself has admitted to fudging the truth a bit. So take what he says with a large grain of salt. 

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.