seymour hersh was on “to the point” with warren olney today to discuss his piece in the new yorker analyzing the situation in the middle east. the complete article is a must-read, but here are a couple excerpts. the bold is mine:
According to Richard Armitage, who served as Deputy Secretary of State in BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first termÃ¢â‚¬â€and who, in 2002, said that Hezbollah Ã¢â‚¬Å“may be the A team of terroristsÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬â€IsraelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign in Lebanon, which has faced unexpected difficulties and widespread criticism, may, in the end, serve as a warning to the White House about Iran. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If the most dominant military force in the regionÃ¢â‚¬â€the Israel Defense ForcesÃ¢â‚¬â€canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t pacify a country like Lebanon, with a population of four million, you should think carefully about taking that template to Iran, with strategic depth and a population of seventy million,Ã¢â‚¬Â Armitage said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The only thing that the bombing has achieved so far is to unite the population against the Israelis.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[…]CheneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We told Israel, Ã¢â‚¬ËœLook, if you guys have to go, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re behind you all the way. But we think it should be sooner rather than laterÃ¢â‚¬â€the longer you wait, the less time we have to evaluate and plan for Iran before Bush gets out of office.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬Â
CheneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s point, the former senior intelligence official said, was Ã¢â‚¬Å“What if the Israelis execute their part of this first, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really successful? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be great. We can learn what to do in Iran by watching what the Israelis do in Lebanon.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The surprising strength of HezbollahÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resistance, and its continuing ability to fire rockets into northern Israel in the face of the constant Israeli bombing, the Middle East expert told me, Ã¢â‚¬Å“is a massive setback for those in the White House who want to use force in Iran. And those who argue that the bombing will create internal dissent and revolt in Iran are also set back.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Nonetheless, some officers serving with the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain deeply concerned that the Administration will have a far more positive assessment of the air campaign than they should, the former senior intelligence official said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“When the smoke clears, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll say it was a success, and theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.Ã¢â‚¬Â
judging from president bush’s remarks today, i would say that is exactly what has occurred. it sounded to me, and to hersh as well, as if bush regards the israeli campaign against hezbollah as a success. UPDATE: yep, i was right.