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Hersh: Our Military Is ‘Very Loyal to the President, But Theyre Getting to the Edge’

By ThinkProgress on April 9, 2006 at 1:38 pm

"Hersh: Our Military Is ‘Very Loyal to the President, But Theyre Getting to the Edge’"

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This morning on CNN, New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh addressed the uproar at the highest levels of the U.S. military over plans to launch a massive strike against Iran that would include nuclear weapons:

What I’m writing here is that if this [plan to use nukes] isn’t removed — and I say this very seriously, I’ve been around this town for 40 years — some senior officers are prepared to resign. They’re that upset about the fact that this plan is kept in. … [O]ne thing about our military, they’re very loyal to the president, but they’re getting to the edge. They’re getting to the edge with not only Rumsfeld, but with Cheney and the President.

Watch it:

Hersh also addressed claims today by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that the idea of a nuclear strike on Iran is “completely nuts.” Hersh’s response: “He didn’t deny there’s serious planning about the military strike, is the point. He’s absolutely right about a nuclear option, but there is planning for conventional war.”

Full transcript:

HERSH: When the JCS, the Joint Chiefs and the planners then wanted to walk back that option [to use nuclear weapons], what happened is about three or four weeks ago, the White House — people in the White House, in the Oval Office, the Vice President’s office — said “No, let’s keep it in the plan. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.” They refuse to take it out. What I’m writing here is that if this isn’t removed — and I say this very seriously, I’ve been around this town for 40 years — some senior officers are prepared to resign. They’re that upset about the fact that this plan is kept in. Again, let me make the point, you’re giving a range of options early in the planning, to be sure of getting rid of it, you give that option. …

BLITZER: Some senior military officers are prepared to resign?

HERSH: I’m saying if this isn’t walked back and if the President isn’t told that you cannot do it — and once the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, some senior members of the military say to the President, let’s get the nuclear option off the table, it will be taken off. He will not defy the military in a formal report. Unless something specific is told to the White House that you’ve got to drop the dream of a nuclear option, and that’s exactly the issue I’m talking about, people have said to me they would resign.

BLITZER: Do you want to name names?

HERSH: Are you kidding?

BLITZER: I’m giving you the opportunity.

HERSH: No. You know why? Because this is a punitive government right now. This is a government that pretty much has its back against the wall, as you’ve been saying all morning in iraq, and in the military — one thing about our military, they’re very loyal to the president, but they’re getting to the edge. They’re getting to the edge with not only Rumsfeld, but with Cheney and the President.

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