Seymour Hersh at UT: “You Can’t Declare War on an Idea”

“Only in America do we declare wars on ideas,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh told a full house at UT’s AT&T Center Thursday night.

“The war on communism, the war on poverty, the war on drugs, and now the war on terror—last I checked, we haven’t won any of those,” Hersh said. “You can’t declare war on an idea. Ideas are hard to kill.”

Hersh is a New Yorker reporter whose coverage of some of the worst military scandals in recent history—from the My Lai Massacre to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal—has earned him many of journalism’s top accolades.

As part of the Julius and Suzanne Glickman Lecture Series, Hersh delivered a talk billed as “Year 10 of GWOT, the Bush/Cheney/Obama Global War on Terrorism, a Progress Report.”

His rambling, unscripted speech focused on his views of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Hersh called President Obama a disappointment, saying he hasn’t followed through on promises. He also said the war in Afghanistan is intractable.

Citing high-level secret sources in the intelligence community, Hersh said the U.S. government knows Iran is not building nuclear warheads.

“There’s no evidence they’ve gone from enriching uranium to making warheads,” he said. “We’re sanctioning Iran to keep them from building nukes we know they’re not building. It’s Looney Tunes, but that’s where it is.”

Hersh said that although he believes Congress, the executive branch, and the military are in bad shape, the idealism of American youth gives him hope.

“Kids in this country still want to help other people,” he said. “They’re signing up for the Peace Corps, they’re going to Haiti, they’re working for nonprofits. It’s not all greed; we’re not morally bankrupt. America is not going anywhere.”

Photo by Matt Valentine.


1 Comment

Post a Comment