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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lies, deception and incompetence on a grand scale, 17 July 2007
This review is from: Chain of Command (Paperback)
Investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh has been revealing the underbelly of United States politics since the 1960s. In Chain of Command, he takes us inside the U.S. "war on terror," interviewing countless former and serving government, military, intelligence and technical officials, both within the U.S. as well as Europe and the Middle East.

Hersh reveals how the usual intelligence channels of analysis were deliberately bypassed by George W. Bush's White House, so that raw (and quite often, dubious) information was `stovepiped' from highly unreliable sources, such as Ahmad Chalabi's London-based exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, directly to Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. This material, though of little credibility, meshed perfectly with the ideology of the neoconservative `crazies' that made up the inner sanctum of Bush's White House. As a consequence, ridiculous propaganda became widely disseminated, such as (amongst others) stories about Saddam Hussein's ability to active weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of an order being given.

Hersh details many, many other disturbing facets of the Bush administration: how the torture at Abu Ghraib was not an isolated incident perpetrated by a few rotten apples but rather part of a Rumsfeld-initiated Special-Access Program (Copper Green) to engage U.S. Special Forces in information retrieval through intimidation (often sexual) and torture, a program that ran out of control, much like the Vietnam era Phoenix Program; how other SAPs were created to engage in `manhunts' of high value targets - manhunts that often ended in assassinations; how the war in Afghanistan was mismanaged from the outset, whereby deals with warlords which allowed them to escape across the Pakistani border, also allowed senior Al Qaeda members to be shuttled out, virtually under U.S. protection; how the Bush administration has looked the other way whilst its ostensible ally, General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, has allowed nuclear weapons technology to be proliferated throughout the region; how the U.S. has contingency plans to invade Pakistan in the event of a fundamentalist Islamist takeover, to ensure that nuclear weapons do not fall in to the 'wrong hands'; how former Bush advisor and Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle, vigorously promoted the idea of a war against Iraq, whilst at the same time being a member of a company (Trireme) that stood to directly benefit from military-industrial contracts.

Highly readable and yet crammed with vital information and a wealth of first hand interviews, Seymour Hersh has written a book that will become a corner-stone of an alternative history of 9/11 and the so-called "war on terror." Comprehensive and compelling stuff.
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