Seymour Hersh published a lengthy piece at the London Review of Books on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Long story short, Hersh claims that many elements of the story we were told by the Obama administration about the raid are lies — including how the CIA found bin Laden, how the SEALS killed bin Laden and how the military disposed of his remains.
To summarize, Hersh’s story claims that the CIA didn’t find bin Laden at all but rather figures in Pakistan’s ISI gave him up in exchange for massive piles of cash and basically presided over a premeditated homicide in the guise of a raid. Hersh’s story further claims that many of the details we were told about the raid and aftermath were invented to cover up a series of massive fuck-ups.
I haven’t read the entire piece yet (it’s long), but the reaction to it has been about what you’d expect on the left. But the response on the right has been interesting. You’d think wingnuts would be on a story that boils down to “You lie!” like dung beetles on a cow patty, but the usual suspects have been strangely muted. Steve M at No More Mr. Nice Blog explains why:
One reason the story is unsatisfying to the right is obvious right away: If Hersh’s version of how the U.S. learned about bin Laden’s whereabouts were to prove true, it would end forever the discussion of whether torture had anything to do with bin Laden’s death, and not in the right’s favor… The right loves torture. The next Republican president will openly and unabashedly torture. So if this is true, it’s buzzkill.
That sounds about right to me.
Like I said, I haven’t read the whole piece yet, but I skimmed it. One part that seems made-up to me is the following, about the disposal of bin Laden’s carcass, which Hersh says wasn’t via a burial at sea off a US Navy vessel as officials claimed:
The retired official said there had been another complication: some members of the Seal team had bragged to colleagues and others that they had torn bin Laden’s body to pieces with rifle fire. The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains – or so the Seals claimed.
So, just for kicks, the SEALS randomly flung bin Laden’s body parts out the helicopter door, and for all we know, Osama’s head crashed through some dude’s yurt? I guess stranger things have happened, but that sounds like bullshit to me.