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Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib Hardcover – Sep 13 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (Sept. 13 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060195916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060195915
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #216,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Seymour Hersh has been a legendary investigative reporter since 1969 when he broke the My Lai story in Vietnam. His considerable skill and well-placed sources inside the government, intelligence community, military, and the diplomatic corps have allowed him access to a wide range of information unavailable to most reporters. Chain of Command is packed with specific details and thoughtful analysis of events since the attacks of September 11, 2001, including intelligence failures prior to 9/11; postwar planning regarding Afghanistan and Iraq; the corruption of the Saudi family; Pakistan's nuclear program, which spread nuclear technology via the black market (and admitted as such); influence peddling at the highest levels; and the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib prison, among other topics. The book collects and elaborates on stories Hersh wrote for The New Yorker, and includes an introduction by the magazine's editor, David Remnick, on Hersh's background and his sources.

Part of Hersh's skill lies in uncovering official reports that have been buried because government or military leaders find them too revealing or embarrassing. Chain of Command is filled with such stories, particularly regarding the manner in which sensitive intelligence was gathered and disseminated within the Bush administration. Hersh details how serious decisions were made in secret by a small handful of people, often based on selective information. Part of the problem was, and remains, a lack of human intelligence in critical parts of the Middle East, but it also has much to do with the considerable infighting within the administration by those trying to make intelligence fit preconceived conclusions. A prime example of this is the story about the files that surfaced allegedly detailing how Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger in order to build nuclear weapons. Though the files were soon proven to be forgeries, the Bush administration still used them as evidence against Saddam Hussein and therefore part of the reason for invading Iraq. In these pages, Hersh offers readers a clearer understanding of what has happened since September 11, and what we might expect in the future. --Shawn Carkonen

From Publishers Weekly

Based on previously published articles and supplemented by fresh revelations, this book by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Hersh, who writes for The New Yorker and has authored several books (The Dark Side of Camelot, etc.), charges the Bush administration with being propelled by ideology and hamstrung by incompetence in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas. One former intelligence official observes that the Bush administration staffers behaved "as if they were on a mission from God," while another laments, "The guys at the top are as ignorant as they could be." It’s no surprise, then, that the dissenters want to talk or that the Hersh, who has a reputation for integrity and enviable inside access, ferrets them out, assembling critiques from diverse, mostly unidentified sources at home and abroad. According to Hersh, the dire conditions that "enemy combatants" suffered at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, presaged detainee abuses at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison. Hersh reveals the depravities purportedly occurring at Guantánamo and argues that Donald Rumsfeld wasn’t the only one responsible for what happened at Abu Ghraib: "the President and Vice President had been in it, and with him, all the way." The book also covers some familiar ground, exploring pre-9/11 intelligence oversights and the administration’s misconception that Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Israel, Turkey and the Kurds would jump on the democracy bandwagon after the invasion of Iraq. But Hersh reserves his sharpest words for President Bush, suggesting the "terrifying possibility" that "words have no meaning for this President beyond the immediate moment, and so he believes that his mere utterance of the phrases makes them real." Hersh’s critics may dismiss these explosive, less than objective conclusions. For others, however, this sobering book is the closest anyone without a security clearance will get to operatives in the inner sanctums of America’s intelligence, military, political and diplomatic worlds.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 52 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Seymour Hersch! Read it. Jan. 4 2015
By Wally Leitel - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is Seymour Hersch. Thus, it is worth reading...he is again, clear, tells truth no matter who it is or how high up they are. Oh that we had more reporters like him, for the White House and govt runs/dictates near all news...big business runs nearly all govt...Sooo, we still can find some truth some time with men like Hersch.
I find it hard to believe we will ever have a transparent govt or a press that lessens entertainment and 75% opinion and just gives us news...but for now, whatever the nation is in all its secrecy, spying on its people, aggressiveness towards other nations, etc, we must be grateful for each day we have freedoms we have while we have what we have...treasure truth, treasure men as Seymour H....Great book. Read it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and important book! Jan. 21 2009
By Joseph C. Sweeney - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
American history of the latter part of the 20th century cannot by written without taking the works of legendary journalist Seymour Hersh into account. This is one of his seminal works and should be read by every serious student of history. Nuff said.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sy Hersch Does It Again Oct. 7 2005
By Jon Cudo, Editor of - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the most important journalists of our time has done it again. Hersch uncovers not just the facts, but the motives and issues from pre-9/11, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Abu Grahib. This is more than I expected in terms of breadth, and packed with insight, quotes and revelations. One might question his often used un-named quotes....but they are often backed with additional facts to make them unmistakable in their accuracy.

A very good read...hard to put down....and sad that the information is not more commonly discussed.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars extraordinary Dec 11 2005
By ct reader - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work examines the `War on Terror' with exemplary skill. The author uses a broad range of sources to expose events missing from standard press releases. Subjects include intelligence, policy, `preemptive defense' (targeted killing), Afghanistan, Iraq (advocacy/planning/invasion), torture, Musharraf, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc.

In a masterful example of investigative journalism, Hersh exposes inconsistency that should worry every reader. If we hope to win, it should be pursued to determine full accountability and chart a course for correction.
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece about Our Misguided War in Iraq May 27 2005
By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hersh has written, without getting bodded down in political bias, the definitive indictment against Bush's war in Iraq. With well-founded documentation, he shows in readable prose the Bush Administration's predisposition to invade Iraq. He shows for example how the Administration ignored the International Atomic Energy Agency's report that Iraq did not have WMDs. What's even more disturbing is that the Administration bypassed the vetting process, known as "stovepiping," whereby information is filtered meticulously before it reaches the President's hands. In this manner, the President, in theory, won't make any life or death decisions, such as waging war, based on faulty information, but he shows how Bush dangerously and recklessly ceased using these safeguards.

Over and over, Hersh provides evidence, from both Right and Left sources, including the CIA, that Bush relied on corruption to get us bogged down into the disastrous war in Iraq. And I haven't even touched on the prisoner scandals which are chronicled here. No doubt about it, Hersh has written a masterpiece about highly-organized government deceit and corruption.