Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Journalist Hersh Criticizes Bush Administration, Policies

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh sat down to discuss a range of topics from the Bush administration to the Iraq war with New Yorker editor David Remnick in Gaston Hall Wednesday afternoon.

Hersh, the journalist Remnick called “the best and most aggressive investigative reporter in the United States,” answered questions from Remnick and audience members.

Hersh discussed the resignations of Secretary of State Colin Powell and other government officials, saying that President George W. Bush is promoting the “total loyalists” that support him.

“These are not merit appointments,” Hersh said. “This is a president who puts loyalty above all else. He certainly puts loyalty above competence and respect for the Constitution.”

Hersh added that this will not lead to a substantive change in the way things are run, because Powell lost in every disagreement he had with Bush’s policies. Hersh said there will simply be “no more internal debate about anything.”

Though he has covered several different presidential administrations, Hersh said Bush’s administration is very different from the others.

Hersh said Bush’s disregard for the press makes him different from past American leaders.

“You can’t talk to these guys,” Hersh said. “After 9/11, Bush said, `You’re with us or you’re against us.'”

Hersh said those people within the government who disagreed with Bush were replaced by those who were loyal.

“If you agreed with these guys, you were promoted,” he said.

Hersh added that Bush is not willing to receive information.

“My worry about this guy is it’s very hard to get information to him that he doesn’t want to hear,” he said.

He claimed that Bush not only ignores certain facts, but also truly believes what he says.

“This isn’t mendacity,” Hersh said. “It’s what he believes to be the truth, which is what’s scary. He believes he’s doing the right thing.”

Hersh added that the Bush administration is unwilling to cooperate with the press. Though he had a hostile relationship with Henry Kissinger during the Nixon administration, Hersh said he always had access to Kissinger. He said Kissinger was always willing to talk with him.

“Now it’s almost impossible to get any kind of response,” he said.

Remnick said the White House’s lack of response is not unique to Hersh.

“It’s not just because it’s Seymour Hersh,” Remnick said. “We’ve noticed this from the start. It’s not unprecedented that there’s hostility from the White House to the press, but it’s a matter of degree.”

Hersh added that the Bush administration does not care what picture the press paints. He said that he thinks Bush was willing to risk his presidency on the Iraq war.

“And the president won’t care when more body bags come back,” he added.

Hersh also said the situation is worsening in Iraq.

“I don’t know how you could have an election,” he said.

Hersh claimed that the only way out of the war, though he added that it is not likely to happen, is for the United States to find a way to communicate with the people who are fighting against them.

“I would say, in a perfect world, let’s find a way to start talking to the leadership,” he said.

Hersh spoke as part of the The New Yorker College Tour, which was sponsored by the Georgetown Program Board, the Georgetown University Lecture Fund and The New Yorker magazine.

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