Blogs > HNN > Andrew J. Bacevich reviewed Seymour M. Hersh's Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib (HarperCollins, 2004)

Oct 11, 2004 11:13 am


Andrew J. Bacevich reviewed Seymour M. Hersh's Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib (HarperCollins, 2004)





Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of international relations at Boston University, recognizes Hersh’s past investigative achievements, such as his role in exposing the crimes in Vietnam’s My Lai and more recently, Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. However, he calls Seymour Hersh’s “Chain of Command” “a missed opportunity…little more than a miscellany, a book without a spine”—filled with “unidentified sources” and not enough analysis.


Bacevich is disappointed that Hersh did not pick up and discuss the radical changes by the Bush administration and how it has discarded
traditional practices. Hersh, he writes, might have made a significant contribution to understanding the Bush administration’s international behavior and what its “new kind of war” – Donald Rumsfeld’s phrase—with “no fixed rules” means for the rest of us. “Abandoning old rules means chucking out old inhibitions” about allies, treaties, the use of the armed forces, and “morality and the rule of law.”


“[T]his imperfect book,” Bacevich concludes, “provides an oblique but timely reminder of why rules exist in the first place: to guard against the failings to which human beings are prone and for which, in public life, others –19- and 20-year-old soldiers- are obliged to pay.”

This review appeared in the Washington Post and also in the Miami Herald, 0ct.10, 2004.



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