Oh, this is pathetic -- from Joel Mowbray's latest syndicated column, an attack on Seymour Hersh's article in the current New Yorker:
The article is quite damning, that is, until the reader gets to the obligatory disclaimer.
Buried 3,300 words inside a 4,500-word article is the following exoneration: "Rumsfeld may not be personally culpable." And farther down near the end was another: "The former intelligence official made it clear that he was not alleging that Rumsfeld or Gen. (Richard) Myers knew that atrocities were committed."
"Rumsfeld may not be personally culpable"? Yes, Hersh says that. Is this exoneration of Rummy and the Bushies? Er, not exactly. Here's that statement in context:
In a separate interview, a Pentagon consultant, who spent much of his career directly involved with special-access programs, spread the blame. "The White House subcontracted this to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon subcontracted it to [Undersecretary of Defense Stephen] Cambone," he said. "This is Cambone's deal, but Rumsfeld and Myers approved the program." When it came to the interrogation operation at Abu Ghraib, he said, Rumsfeld left the details to Cambone. Rumsfeld may not be personally culpable, the consultant added, "but he’s responsible for the checks and balances. The issue is that, since 9/11, we've changed the rules on how we deal with terrorism, and created conditions where the ends justify the means."
"The former intelligence official made it clear that he was not alleging that Rumsfeld or Gen. (Richard) Myers knew that atrocities were committed"? Yes, Hersh says that, too. But here's the context for that:
The former intelligence official made it clear that he was not alleging that Rumsfeld or General Myers knew that atrocities were committed. But, he said, "it was their permission granted to do the SAP, generically, and there was enough ambiguity, which permitted the abuses."
("The SAP" is the "special-access program" set up to conduct clandestine operations against al-Qaeda and unsavory interrogations of captured prisoners, a program Hersh says was extended to Iraq by Rumsfeld's Pentagon.)
Come on, Joel -- can't you do better than that?