Hersh is one of the best investigative reporters in the media, but this response to the interviewer's question reminded me a great deal of the parodies Darrell Hammond of "Saturday Night Live" does of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
Q: You don't have a very high opinion of Condoleezza Rice. What's the basis of your criticism?Here's an example of Hammond as Rumsfeld asking and answering the questions.
...At a meeting in her office in the late summer of 2002, months before the war in Iraq, prisoner abuse at Guantánamo is discussed. Rice brings in Rumsfeld for a meeting, and they all agree they have to do something. Nothing gets done.
Do they see themselves as involved in it? No, they don't. Could they have done something? Of course. Did everybody understand we were going to be as tough as we could be with Al Qaeda and people we thought were Al Qaeda? Of course. Did people know that this was a stupid way to operate when you are trying to extract information from people who are willing to fly airplanes into buildings? If they are willing to die, can we torture them into giving information? No, nobody thinks about that. Is there a better way to get information, get their trust, establish rapport, try to change their views? Nobody wants to think about that. It's just, let's beat them up. And that attitude was widespread throughout the Administration.
Do they see themselves as being personally involved? Oh my God, no. What happened is just horrible to them and they can't believe it. They want an investigation. But of course they had millions of opportunities to stop it. It's the standard stuff, the way you go through life in Washington. People in power are always removed from the consequences.