More from that Sy Hersh piece in the The New Yorker (see post below). Hersh says Israeli intelligence had unscrambled "bellicose intercepts" between Hamas and Hezbollah:
For almost a year before its victory in the Palestinian elections in January, Hamas had curtailed its terrorist activities. In the late May intercepted conversation, the consultant told me, the Hamas leadership said that “they got no benefit from it, and were losing standing among the Palestinian population.” The conclusion, he said, was “ ‘Let’s go back into the terror business and then try and wrestle concessions from the Israeli government.’Here we have a group which renounced terrorism in favour of Democracy, won a Democratic election, but ultimately concluded there was no future in it for them. This is as damning an indictment of the Bush administration as anything I have read.
It also hints at a broader war, where Arab nations are united against Israel and the USA. Many Arabs already view the situation this way.
Then there's this little passage, which belies who is really in charge in Washington:
Earlier this summer, before the Hezbollah kidnappings, the U.S. government consultant said, several Israeli officials visited Washington, separately, “to get a green light for the bombing operation and to find out how much the United States would bear.” The consultant added, “Israel began with Cheney. It wanted to be sure that it had his support and the support of his office and the Middle East desk of the National Security Council.” After that, “persuading Bush was never a problem, and Condi Rice was on board,” the consultant said.Hersh indicates the Israeli targetting of civilians was indeed premeditated, for the bizarrely illogical aim of turning civilians against Hezbollah:
Israel believed that, by targeting Lebanon’s infrastructure, including highways, fuel depots, and even the civilian runways at the main Beirut airport, it could persuade Lebanon’s large Christian and Sunni populations to turn against Hezbollah, according to the former senior intelligence official.And this was “the mirror image of what the United States has been planning for Iran”! Have any of these neocons noticed that people in Iraq are STILL not throwing rose petals at the feet of the occupying troops?
Seriously, these guys are nucking futs:
Cheney’s office supported the Israeli plan, as did Elliott Abrams, a deputy national-security adviser, according to several former and current officials. (A spokesman for the N.S.C. denied that Abrams had done so.) They believed that Israel should move quickly in its air war against Hezbollah. A former intelligence officer said, “We told Israel, ‘Look, if you guys have to go, we’re behind you all the way. But we think it should be sooner rather than later — the longer you wait, the less time we have to evaluate and plan for Iran before Bush gets out of office.’ ”Hersh's sources say the Bush administration's long-term goal was to set up a Sunni Arab coalition — including countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt — that would join the United States and Europe to pressure the ruling Shiite mullahs in Iran. But the autocratic leaders of these nations (who were all presumably in on the plot) were quickly forced to change their "no ceasefire needed" positions due to massive anti-Israeli public protests across the Middle East. So much for spreading anything that can remotely be called "Democracy", hunh?
Cheney’s point, the former senior intelligence official said, was “What if the Israelis execute their part of this first, and it’s really successful? It’d be great. We can learn what to do in Iran by watching what the Israelis do in Lebanon.”
The Pentagon consultant told me that intelligence about Hezbollah and Iran is being mishandled by the White House the same way intelligence had been when, in 2002 and early 2003, the Administration was making the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “The big complaint now in the intelligence community is that all of the important stuff is being sent directly to the top—at the insistence of the White House—and not being analyzed at all, or scarcely,” he said. “It’s an awful policy and violates all of the N.S.A.’s strictures, and if you complain about it you’re out,” he said. “Cheney had a strong hand in this.”
So basically, if the Israeli attack had been more successful, Bush would be using it as the blueprint for an attack on Iran right about now. But in reality, the Israeli attack has been a disaster, right? ... Right? Err... Whose "reality" are we talking about?
“There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this,” he said. “When the smoke clears, they’ll say it was a success, and they’ll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.”What can you say? Hersh's closing quote is a doozey:
In the White House, especially in the Vice-President’s office, many officials believe that the military campaign against Hezbollah is working and should be carried forward.
"The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result."