‘I don’t know why Obama thinks what he does’ – Seymour Hersh exclusive interview
RT: What do you think is the real US stance on the Assad government and Syria in general?
Seymour Hersh: They seem to be backing away from their hard line about Assad staying in power, and that seems to be correct. [John] Kerry met in Moscow with [Vladimir] Putin and also later with [Sergey] Lavrov and said we’re not talking about regime change anymore. And they’ve said that quite a bit since. They said it again when the terrible attacks took place in France...
But the reality is they always have a clause that says: “But we don’t think that he can stay in power during the negotiations.” So it is really just like a game of cards. They are softening the line about Assad, because many people around the world and even a few here in America, where the hatred of Bashar Assad is almost irrational. People keep on talking about him as if everybody killed was killed by him in a war in which two sides are killing each other. If you really look at it, they are still not saying that Assad can stay, and when we have a negotiated settlement - he can stay, and once we get it resolved we can have an election or something like that...
RT: Michael Flynn, in your piece, it was almost as if the Obama administration didn’t want to hear the truth and that if the public had the intel on Syria that they would go ballistic.
SH: I don’t know why people think anything. I can’t get into their minds. I don’t know why the president thinks what he does. I do know that the intelligence – the report that I mentioned in the article – the major sort of assessment that included everything, from satellite and human intelligence and intercepts – a hot report - was certainly given to the White House, and they certainly had other intelligence I guess saying the same thing all along. That is what Michael Flynn said to me – that there has been a steady stream of reporting going on.
I have no way of explaining why the White House wasn’t interested in that intelligence. But that was the perception that the Joint Chiefs had – that the President wasn’t responding to very important intelligence and continuing to carry on with a policy that they saw as disastrous in the long run.
... There was an ambassador named Robert Ford who was a really I thought sort of crossed the line as an ambassador, because when ... he was the ambassador for the US to Syria in Damascus, and when the demonstrations began in early 2011, he actually would go to rallies where the opposition was and urged them to carry on.
RT: Thanks to WikiLeaks, we know the American Embassy had been actively working to support the opposition.
SH: Although most Americans don’t know about that. I did write about it, but most Americans still don’t know about it...
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