Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker’s Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist, writes in a new article entitled “Shifting Targets” that there has been “a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning” for war with Iran inside the Bush administration.
Most significantly, Hersh — who has been warning for months that the administration is seriously plotting for war with Iran — reports the administration has switched its rationale for war. The focus has shifted from a broad bombing attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities to “surgical” strikes again Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere.
On CNN’s Late Edition this morning, Hersh said the administration has adopted what it views as a rationale that can win over the public and international allies, while accomplishing its key objective of initiating a military conflict:
You can sell [this approach]. It’s more logical. You can say to people, the American people, we’re only hitting those people that we think are trying to hit our boys and the coalition forces. And so that seems to be more sensible. Because the White House thinks they can actually pitch this, this would actually work. In other words, you can do a bombing and not have the world scream at us and also get the British on board.
In his article, Hersh writes, “This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran,” emphasizing the shift in rationale. The “shifting emphasis” is “gathering support among generals and admirals in the Pentagon.”
Hersh also reveals:
During a secure videoconference that took place early this summer, the President told Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, that he was thinking of hitting Iranian targets across the border and that the British “were on board.” At that point, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice interjected that there was a need to proceed carefully, because of the ongoing diplomatic track. Bush ended by instructing Crocker to tell Iran to stop interfering in Iraq or it would face American retribution.
The White House has even prepared a “Clinton did it too” defense for attacking Iran, according to Hersh. “If Democrats objected, the Administration could say, “Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives.”