"The Bush Administration has decided to put as much pressure as possible on Shiites." "Sinora (elected leader of Lebanon) is putting money into Sunni jihadist groups opposed to Hezbollah." "Nasrullah says he sees this as 'fitna' (arabic word used to mean "insurrection and fragmentation within islam") a kind of civil war... that the US is trying to foment in Lebanon what's been happening in Iraq."Hersh discussed how easy it it to get money, with all of it spilling, by the billions, in Baghdad, to use for covert operations. He reports that Bush and Cheney have been coordinating with Prince Bandar, former Ambassador to the US from Saudi Arabia and Bush buddy, to provide money for covert operations, done by Sunni extremist groups to stop Shiite expansion. The expansion, feared by many Sunni leaders, is called the "Shiite Crescent." Hersh reports that
"Money has gotten into jihadist hands-- groups that want to take on Hezbollah" "America is using money not appropriated, without telling congress... Running covert operations, supporting groups, indirectly that were involved indirectly with 9/11.In the New Yorker article, Hersh cites a former senior intelligence officer,
"...we're financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don't have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we like and avoid the people we don't like. It's a very high-risk venture." American, European, and Arab officials I spoke to told me that the Siniora government and its allies had allowed some aid to end up in the hands of emerging Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hezbollah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with Al Qaeda.The article reports that the majority leader of the Lebanese Parlaiment, Saad Hariri paid tens of thousands of dollars to bail out four members of an Islamic militant group from Dinniyeh-- a group in which "many of the militants 'had trained in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.'" Hersh reports,
In an interview in Beirut, a senior official in the Siniora government acknowledged that there were Sunni jihadists operating inside Lebanon. "We have a liberal attitude that allows Al Qaeda types to have a presence here," he said. He related this to concerns that Iran or Syria might decide to turn Lebanon into a "theatre of conflict." ...The Bush Administration has portrayed its support of the Siniora government as an example of the President's belief in democracy, and his desire to prevent other powers from interfering in Lebanon.Hersh tells Blitzer, "Under Rumsfeld we've been running operations all over the world..." and explains that Bush and Rumsfeld claimed these were military and the president has the war power to do this. The article reports that the US is working closely with Saudis, who see any enemy of a Shia as a friend, even extremist Sunni groups that have terrorist history or even connections with al Qaeda. Hersh also speculated that former spy Chief Negroponte may have left his spy job to become assistant Secretary of State because there is a repeat of the Iran Contra happening and he wanted to avoid trouble-- since he was involved in Iran Contra and knew the risks. The article reports that US military or covert operators have already made repeated excursions into Iran. and that Bush has a new special planning group at the pentagon, gearing up so if Bush orders an attack, within 24 hours the US military can be bombing Iran. On CNN, Hersh told Blitzer that this "project is very far along., that they've been studying this forever. ...It's pretty obvious what's going on. The president has been talking more and more about attacks and threats on American lives (by Iranians.) "For months there has been a lot of aggressive cross border activity--- more than just casual. "The current contingency plans allow for an attack this spring. Fortunately, not everyone in the military leadership agrees, and Hersh reports, "Much of the senior leadership do not think this is a wise thing to do. " Hersh reported that one expert had envisioned a scenario in which an aircraft carrier in the Straits of Hormuz could be attacked by the hundreds of PT boats Iran has, which could be on suicide missions. The Iranians also have more powerful weapons, like the one that did serious damage to the Israeli ship during the war with Lebanon last summer. In response to statement by Secretary of War, Gates, where he denied that US was planning to go to war with Iran, Hersh said, "I guess Mr. Cheney did not get that message. In Australia, he said that all options are on the table." As this article opened, with a description of the early start of the Iraq war, we have to ask the question, is doing a Clinton here, saying, it depends what the meaning of 'war' is. If you are sending in covert missions, sending in overt chase teams, flying into their space, arresting hundreds of Iranians in Iraq, just for being Iranian, and placing a massive war flotilla off the shores, does that count as war? Back in 2003, the same behavior could easily be seen now as early war actions before the big frontal attack. Now, Hersh tells us, "One of the contingency assignments would be to enable the president to be able to say, 'I want a hit,' and within 24 hours, it would be operational." While there has been some speculation that Bush will encourage or authorize Israel to launch an attack on Iran, like it did on Iraq Osirus reactor 25 years ago, Hersh rejects that idea, saying,
"There's no thought of letting Israel bomb nuclear facilities. If Israel thinks they have to do it, then WE will do it. "My own instinct is that this president is not going to leave office without doing something about Iran. And he keeps on refusing to negotiate and keeps talking tough."Ironically, just as Bush and Cheney lied about connections between Saddam and al Qaeda, Bush and Cheney are again ginning the story now, by accusing the Iranians of causing deaths of hundreds of GIs in Iraq. But this is not true. Hersh cites Flynt Leverett, a former Bush Administration National Security Council official,
"The Administration is trying to make a case that Iran is more dangerous and more provocative than the Sunni insurgents to American interests in Iraq, when-- if you look at the actual casualty numbers-- the punishment inflicted on America by the Sunnis is greater by an order of magnitude," Leverett said. "This is all part of the campaign of provocative steps to increase the pressure on Iran. The idea is that at some point the Iranians will respond and then the Administration will have an open door to strike at them."Of course, we know how the Bushes work. His father claimed that Saddam's forces had done horrible things to infants in a hospital ward in Kuwait-- which was a totally fabricated story. That was the emotional trigger that handed Bush senior the support of the American people. It is highly likely that the apple will not fall far from the tree-- Dubya will report some horrific offense, based on a tiny bit of truth, maybe, and that will be stenographically reported by all the media except for a few, like Keith Olbermann and maybe one or two CNN anchors like Lou Dobbs and Jack Cafferty. Depend on Wolf Blitzer and most of the rest of the high pay anchors to fail to ask tough questions and to just echo chamber the Bush version of the story and build the hysteria, fear and anger-- an excuse to activate the 24 hour bombing option. Is it possible to stop this train? In my opinion, we're already at war with Iran, the way Bush and his Iran-Contra buddies do war. Can we stop them from doing a major escalation-- an Iranian "shock and awe attack?" It's possible. Not very, but slightly, if enough people talk about his patterns, and anticipate the use of ploys similar to those used to sell Iraq one and two. If enough people ask tough questions of enough high level generals and Bush appointees, maybe the truth will come out. The Democratic congress has had enough time to get their investigational committees set up. They've begun asking some good questions. It's time for them to tear into Hersh's report and start asking questions on all the details and more. It's time to start jailing Bush adminstration officials who refuse to answer congressional inquiries. These revelations put a whole new light on the levels of unauthorized, illegal, war criminal activities that Bush and Cheney and others have engaged in and cast a bright new light on reasons to impeach. If I were heading a congressional committee (like congressmen Conyers, Rangel, Rockefeller, Waxman,) I'd start with Negroponte, Rumsfeld and all the generals Bush has dumped. Then I'd start talking to members of the diplomatic corps in the middle east and any employee who has ever worked for Cheney. See the full article in the New Yorker.