This book is an electrifying investigation of White House lies about the assassination of Osama bin Laden . In 2011, a group of Navy SEALS stormed an enclosure in the Pakistani city of Abbotabad and killed Osama Bin Laden, the man the United States had been chasing since before the devastating attacks of 9/11. The news did much to boost Obama’s first term and played a major part in his re-election victory in the following year. Except the story of that night that was presented to the world was a lie, and the evidence of what actually went on has been covered up. At the same time, the true story of the US’s involvement in the Syrian civil wars has been conducted behind a diplomatic curtain. The White House has turned a blind eye to Turkey’s involvement in stirring up the conflict. Meanwhile, open brutality and ruthless subterfuge-such as the Sarin gas attack on Damascus-has been allowed to go on unpunished. As master investigative journalist Seymour Hersh shows in this explosive book, this was just one of many lies that the world’s leaders now tell us with seeming impunity. How far do these lies go? And what are their purpose?
Seymour Hersh established himself at the forefront of investigative journalism with an expose of the massacre in My Lai, Vietnam, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Since then he has uncovered stories that Washington would prefer remained hidden. From Kissinger’s role in the Nixon Government to the expose of the military torture regime at Abu Ghraib prison, Hersh has consistently uncovered the uncomfortable truth behind US power in the world. He has won the George Polk prize five times, the National Magazine Award for Public Interest twice, the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism, the L A Times Book Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He writes regularly for the New Yorker and the London Review of Books.
Despite his reputation, President Barack Obama chose to criticise one of the most preeminently respected journalists of the past century. The White House dismissed the book as “baseless”. “There are too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one,” White House National Security spokesman Ned Price said in a statement to reporters. He took aim specifically at journalist Seymour Hersh’s assertion that the administration collaborated with Pakistani officials to kill the al Qaeda leader, saying that “the notion that the operation that killed Usama Bin Ladin was anything but a unilateral U.S. mission is patently false.”
“As we said at the time, knowledge of this operation was confined to a very small circle of senior U.S. officials. The President decided early on not to inform any other government, including the Pakistani Government, which was not notified until after the raid had occurred,” Price said.
Hersch hit back: “The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll,” Hersh writes in the latest issue of the London Review of Books, referencing the author of Alice in Wonderland.
His piece ends with a broad-based condemnation of the Obama administration’s foreign policy operation.
“High-level lying nevertheless remains the modus operandi of US policy, along with secret prisons, drone attacks, Special Forces night raids, bypassing the chain of command and cutting out those who might say no,” he writes.