Sy Hersh: Cheney Helped Plan Israel's Attack on Hezbollah

The evidence keeps piling up: The Neocons want war with Iran.

Earlier this month, Sidney Blumenthal released information claiming that the NSA has been working with Israel to "monitor whether Syria and Iran are supplying new armaments to Hezbollah" and that Dick Cheney is hoping to use the NSA intelligence to create a "pretext" for expanding the conflict to a "four-front war" involving Syria and Iran.

And now, Sy Hersh has just released information claiming that the Bush administration, especially Dick Cheney's office, was involved in planning Israel's attack on Hezbollah and considers it "a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack" on Iran:

"The Bush Administration... was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations…. Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah—and shared it with Bush Administration officials—well before the July 12th kidnappings."
Hersh then goes on to quote a "Middle East expert" who said that:
"The White House was more focused on stripping Hezbollah of its missiles, because, if there was to be a military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it had to get rid of the weapons that Hezbollah could use in a potential retaliation at Israel."
According to Hersh, the US and Israeli air forces began strategizing and sharing information on Lebanon and Iran in the beginning of the spring and "discussions reached the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld." Hersh then references an early summer meeting between Israeli officials and Dick Cheney:
"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.
The Israeli plan, according to the former senior intelligence official, was 'the mirror image of what the United States has been planning for Iran.' Cheney’s office supported the Israeli plan… 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.'"
And as if all of this is not scary enough, a source has told Hersh that the Bush administration is "mishandling" intelligence on Hezbollah and Iran the same way they did with "intelligence" on Iraq's WMDs.

In this video clip, Sy Hersh discusses these revelations with Wolf Blitzer on CNN's Situation Room.
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