"The Target Is Destroyed" (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
Several books have endeavored to unravel the mystery of Korean Airlines (KAL) flight 007, the airliner shot down by Soviet air defenses on September 1, 1983, which accounted for the loss of 269 lives. The authors of two recent studies—Shootdown: Flight 007 and the American Connection, by R. W. Johnson (1986), and KAL Flight 007: The Hidden Story, by Oliver Clubb (1985)—believe that the flight was on an American espionage mission. Seymour Hersh does not. His account, no less disturbing, deals with the vulnerability of existing military mechanisms and the extent to which human biases and frailties can subvert them. In providing a context for the incident, he goes far beyond the parameters of the actual tragedy, exploring the history of United States reconnaissance on Soviet borders, analyzing Soviet behavior on previous intrusions, and explaining the political ramifications. The most fascinating aspect of his book is the description of the use and abuse of intelligence data in the political arena, where distortions and omissions readily displace reasoned analysis in order to manufacture a crisis. Many of Hersh’s assumptions are not substantiated by direct reference to sources. Since the material underpinning his conclusions remains mostly classified, those who deal with it communicated with him off the record. Even so, he furnishes a wealth of notes containing verifiable information and enough names of individuals to render his story credible....
(The entire section is 2218 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
Chicago Tribune. September 14, 1986, XIV, p. 1.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXVIII, October 3, 1986, p. 22.
Commentary. LXXXII, December, 1986, p. 68.
Library Journal. CXI, December, 1986, p. 118.
The London Review of Books. VIII, October 23, 1986, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. September 28, 1986, p. 2.
The Nation. CCXLIII, September 6, 1986, p. 163.
The New Republic. CXCV, October 13, 1986, p. 33.
The New York Times Book Review. XCI, September 21, 1986, p. 3.
Progressive. L, November, 1986, p. 40.
U.S. News and World Report. CI, September 1, 1986, p. 69.
Washington Post Book World. XVI, September 14, 1986, p. 1.
(The entire section is 75 words.)