This paragraph by Mark Bowden, defending his version of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, is the loveliest expression of the pres bubbleI have seen in a long time:
“While Hersh’s story (and Mahler’s) suggests that mine was, in effect, handed to me by administration spokesmen, it was (as the book notes) based on dozens of interviews with those directly involved, including President Obama. One wonders where else the story might come from, since the hunt for bin Laden and the mission to kill him were conducted by government officials, right down to the enlisted men who conducted the raid. Basing a story on those government sources directly involved makes it “official” in some sense, I suppose, but I have never been in the employ of the government, and have carved a fairly extensive career working with complete journalistic independence.”
Yes, one does wonder where a story about an event in fucking Pakistan would come from if not from American officials, including the President. Pakistanis? Oh please. Those guys don’t even speaka the English. They couldn’t possibly know anything about what happened on their soil. No, it was enlisted American men – enlisted – the U.S. Army – heroes! – who filled my ears. Enlisted men, not draftees. Of course, there are no uh draftees, but I thought I ought to mention that they were enlisted. Heroes!
This is how the press works, as a not very subtle propaganda machine.
His list of sources doesn’t include one Pakistani. Not one! Not even an enlisted one! Cause they aren’t heroes, I guess.
“I interviewed J.S.O.C. commander Admiral William McRaven, who helped plan and who oversaw the mission, and members of his staff. Some of the others (without listing their job titles) were Tony Blinken, John Brennan, Benjamin Rhodes, James Clark, Thomas Donilon, Michèle Flournoy, Larry James, Michael Morell, William Ostlund, David Petraeus, Samantha Power, James Poss, Denis McDonough, Nick Rasmussen, Michael Scheuer, Gary Schroen, Kalev Sepp, Michael Sheehan, and Michael Vickers. These sources—and others—worked on the case in various capacities for years and were present and often involved in the key decisions that led to the mission.”
Why, how somebody would look at that list and say that it was an official government version is just beyond me.
Oh, and here is the telling series of grafs from the Mahler piece that Bowden is replying to:
“Eleven days after the raid, an unbylined story appeared on GlobalPost, an American website specializing in foreign reporting. The dateline was Abbottabad; the story was headlined: ‘‘Bin Laden Raid: Neighbors Say Pakistan Knew.’’ A half-dozen people who lived near bin Laden’s compound told the reporter that plainclothes security personnel — ‘‘either Pakistani intelligence or military officers’’ — knocked on their doors a couple of hours before the raid and instructed them to turn the lights off and remain indoors until further notice. Some local people also told the reporter that they were directed not to speak to the media, especially the foreign media.
When I contacted the chief executive of GlobalPost, Philip Balboni, he told me he considered trying to aggressively publicize this narrative when he first posted it. ‘‘[B]ut that would have required resources that we did not possess at the time, and the information against it was so overwhelming that even we had to wonder if our sources were right,’’ he wrote me in an email.
Balboni put me in touch with the reporter, Aamir Latif, a 41-year-old Pakistani journalist. Latif, a former foreign correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, told me that he traveled to Abbottabad the day after bin Laden was killed and reported there for a couple of days. I asked him if he still believed that there was some level of Pakistani awareness of the raid. ‘‘Not awareness,’’ he answered instantly. ‘‘There was coordination and cooperation.’’
Understandably Latif, being Pakistani, wouldn’t know anythng about it. I mean, enlisted Americans! Samantha Power!
It would be totally silly to actually go to Abbottsford and interview the inhabitants. Which is why, thankfully, our American reporters don’t do such things. Imagine there was a fire in say, Chatanooga, and one interviewed Chatanoogans about it… uh, oh, sorry, bad example, since Chatanoogans are Americans, many have enlisted, and all are heroes!
It is so sad that Sy Hersch doesn’t, once, admit how Americans are heroes. He must be violently attacked by all the right people. This will not stand, this act of aggression!