Award-winning journalist and author Seymour Hersh presents a horrific portrait of a president and administration gone over the ideological deep end in Chain of Command, a compelling and intricately detailed examination of the last three years of American history, when an event called 9/11 changed the landscape forever.
Known for his riveting and truthful stories in The New Yorker and the New York Times, including his breakthrough story about the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal (why does “scandal” seem too light a word when discussing torture?), the author, an established and respected investigative journalist for over thirty-five years, puts his expertise to work as he shows us the lies, obsessions and manipulations behind the Bush administration’s reactions and responses to 9/11, weapons of mass destruction, the war in Iraq, the forged Niger documents, the war in Afghanistan, the hunt for Al Qaeda and the relationships between Bush and the corrupt Saudis, who were indeed responsible for 9/11.
Using his usual unflinching style backed up with solid facts and research, Hersh draws upon high-level sources and his own harrowing accounts of the Abu Ghraib story (one whole chapter is devoted to the prison torture, with new material added on), as well as many other intelligence-related headline stories that the author feels the public has never gotten the real story on. He takes many people to task over their covert, corrupt and suspicious actions, especially Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and others, blinded, as he says, by an ideology that is as dangerous as the terrorists they claim to be fighting. What makes this book even more impactful is the new reports from Hersh of the true disastrous nature of the Iraq war and the prison torture scandal, hitting newspaper headlines just as this review is being written.
Also discussed at length are the many miscommunications, intentional and unintentional, between the CIA and the Bush administration, as well as the single-mindedness of the Iraq war hawks wholiterally stole the focus from the true perpetrators of 9/11 and had actually planned on going to war with Iraq MONTHS before 9/11 occurred. Of course, throughout this entire time, the public was continually lied to, and in many cases, most Americans are still unaware of the real stories behind the nightly news headlines.
This is not an easy book to read, and mirrors much of what is also being discussed in many other best-selling “anti-Bush” books on the market, but the difference here is that Hersh writes with such command of his material, and we trust him as an investigative reporter to tell us the truth, which he does without hesitation. His knowledge of the world of intelligence lends a credibility to his work that other books often lack, and his use of top level sources serves as the critical mass needed for even the most die-hard skeptic to realize he knows of what he is speaking.
The problem is, can we face the truth about our president and his administration’s goals for the next four years, should Bush win the election? According to Hersh, the quest for hegemony does not stop with Iraq, and the people behind the push for empire will stop at nothing, including deceiving the public and the media at every turn, to accomplish that mission.