MotherJones.com: How did you come to write these columns?
Terry Jones: I think it was rage. It was just blind rage (laughs). This was after 9/11, and I just couldn't believe what our great leaders were doing. It seemed like every action they took was designed to have exactly the opposite effect of what they said they were going to do.
Like Bush, after 9/11, says the right thing: "We're going to catch the evil perpetrators of this evil deed." But if you're going to catch the perpetrators of an evil deed, what you need is secrecy and speed to nab them red-handed. What you don't do is say when you're going to look for them -- "we're going to look in two months' time." Or where you're going to look -- "we'll look in Afghanistan." Or what you're going to do -- "we're going to bomb you." I mean, by that time, all the evil perpetrators would leave the country, I would've thought. Now, as a result, they haven't caught the evil perpetrators, and the whole thing's a joke.
Instead of treating it as a crime -- which is what they should have done, getting the FBI and Interpol and everybody onto it -- they've elevated it into a war. So they've elevated the status of the evil perpetrators like Osama bin Laden. He's put up as of an equal footing with the United States itself. They've increased his prestige and reputation to no end, the perfect way of recruiting more people to his agenda.
When the State Department releases its annual report on terrorism later in April, it will be missing specific numbers. Last year's report undercounted terrorist attacks, and the department had to put out an embarrassing correction......
Anything to keep Condi and her husband from looking like fools.
"[W]e will have to work much, much harder to win back our credibility with the public."
...that realization... priceless.
The rest of the article is filled with other such deep epiphanies by St. Nick, but this one caught my eye:
"I think we're nuts not to regulate handguns more strictly, but I also think that gun owners have a point when they complain that gun issues often seem to be covered by people who don't know a 12-gauge from an AR-15."
This, of course, also means that reporters have no business reporting on any part of military operations without a complete understanding of how to retro-fit a humvee for body armor.
Nick, you do your colleagues no favors by being an advocate for them.
With his article titled "Sy Hersh Says It's Okay to Lie (Just Not in Print)" and subtitled "Sy Hersh's Loose Relationship With the Literal Truth" you would think that he would have used some of those 3500+ words to document actual lies told by Sy Hersh, yet all I could find was an exaggeration of numbers used to pull actual numbers out of a uncooperative source. Hardly the same thing. He attempts to use the fact that in speeches Sy Hersh will sometimes use unverified numbers while working on a story to hopefully get other reporters off their asses as Hersh's "problem with the truth".
"There are two Hershes, really. Seymour M. is the byline. He navigates readers through the byzantine world of America’s overlapping national-security bureaucracies, and his stories form what Hersh has taken to calling an "alternative history" of the Bush administration since September 11, 2001.
Then there's Sy. He's the public speaker, the pundit. On the podium, Sy is willing to tell a story that’s not quite right, in order to convey a Larger Truth. "Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people," Hersh told me. "I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say."
No, Chris, there's actually just one Sy Hersh, and you and the majority of journalists in this country should be damn glad we have him as an example of the way it should be done. The reason his writing IS so great is that it IS researched and facts are verified. That's what great writing and editing is, Chris. Try it sometime.
These are the money quotes:
"See, the right isn't like us. They think that the so called liberal media is irretrievably biased but believe what they see, read and hear on their own media. We on the left, on the other hand, have no faith in any mainstream media, really, or any alternative media either for that matter. We have developed the habit of culling from various sources and analyzing the information ourselves as best we can. Even then we are very skeptical. Nothing that the media could do would particularly shock or disappoint us. No so with the other side."
"For instance, a conservative doctor of my acquaintance was stunned by the Schiavo matter. This man watches nothing but Fox news and could not believe the anti-intellectual religiosity of their coverage. This is a matter that he knows intimately and he could see clearly that the coverage wasn't "fair and balanced." Indeed, it wasn't true. It's as if a veil fell from his eyes."
As inevitable as this realization would appear, I thought this day would never come. It's debilitating to sit back day after day and hear the rants of the more radical on the right (Randal Terry, Tom DeLay, etc) and believe that true conservatives are buying into this new radicalism. It's somewhat reassuring to see that some are attempting to fight back before the lot of them go over a cliff together. Stopping this run-away train, however, might not be so easy when the tracks are greased with the effluence pouring out of Fox News, Limbaugh, and new books like "Men in Black:. How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America".
DeLay and company need fresh meat to throw to the true believers to keep them fed, active and fighting to keep them in power. This means constantly creating new evil doers to battle against. The next on their list are not just activist judges anymore but the entire judiciary.
When they come knocking on my door, cross in hand, I just hope there's someone left to speak up for members of the reality-based community.