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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Pulitzer Prize winner discusses Iraq’s ‘scary situation’

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Seymour Hersh told students and visitors at the University of Wisconsin campus Monday that the war in Iraq is a “scary situation.”

Hersh spoke to a crowd in Humanities about the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and the importance of the November 2004 election.

A large portion of Hersh’s talk centered on the ongoing war in Iraq. He said he believes the United States wants to maintain a position in Iraq by finding a group that will allow the U.S. to keep soldiers and bases in the country after the war, keeping American presence in the Middle East.

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Hersh also said the U.S. government “wings it” when it comes to Iraq — no exit strategy is in place, the war has created more terrorists, and no one seems to know where to go from here, according to Hersh.

A civil war between the Shiites and Sunnis after the U.S. leaves Iraq is also inevitable, Hersh said.

Hersh believes American citizens are uninformed about the issues of Iraq. He said the press is not doing the best job of getting the story to the American public.

“The press really doesn’t get it,” Hersh said.

Hersh said the language barrier between the Iraqi people and the reporters in Iraq presents a major challenge in covering the story of the war.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were also a topic of Hersh’s speech. Hersh pointed out that since the invasion of Afghanistan began more than two years ago, the amount of heroin sold by Afghani people is on the rise once again.

Hersh said non-government groups, such as the terrorist group al-Qaeda, could pose a large threat in five to 10 years because it is becoming easier for such groups to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

Hersh also said the upcoming presidential election is the most important election since 1932. While he did not seem to support a particular party, he did make a few key points about each party.

“If it weren’t for (Democratic hopeful Howard) Dean, the Democrats would not be talking about Iraq,” Hersh said.

Hersh also opined that President Bush would like to find Osama bin Laden before the election because it would help the president clinch another electoral victory.

UW freshman Becky Ford said a poster she saw in Bascom Hall piqued her interest in Hersh’s talk. She said the press needs to be open to coverage of world events, and she does not think it is currently doing a good job. Ford said Hersh raised good points about oil’s role in initiating the U.S. intervention with Iraq, but that Hersh’s talk did not change her views on the war.

UW Law School student Becca Fallon attended the lecture because of her interest in journalism and foreign correspondence. Fallon was hoping to learn more about Hersh’s career as a journalist and wanted to be informed on his perspective on world events such as the war in Iraq.

Hersh was brought to UW because professors in the history department were interested in having him speak, but many other programs such as the International Studies department showed interest in his visit.

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