Creating people's geographies
The US government was closely involved in planning the Israeli campaign in Lebanon, even before Hizbullah seized two Israeli soldiers in a cross border raids in July. American and Israeli officials met in the spring, discussing plans on how to tackle Hizbullah, according to a report published yesterday.
The veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh writes in the current issue of the New Yorker magazine that Israeli government officials travelled to the US in May to share plans for attacking Hizbullah.
Quoting a US government consultant, Hersh said: “Earlier this summer … 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 Israeli action, current and former government officials told Hersh, chimed with the Bush administration’s desire to reduce the threat of possible Hizbullah retaliation against Israel should the US launch a military strike against Iran.
“A successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign … could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American pre-emptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations,” sources told Hersh.
Yesterday Mr Hersh told CNN: “July was a pretext for a major offensive that had been in the works for a long time. Israel’s attack was going to be a model for the attack they really want to do. They really want to go after Iran.”
An unnamed Pentagon consultant told Hersh: “It was our intention to have Hizbullah diminished and now we have someone else doing it.”
Officials from the state department and the Pentagon denied the report. A spokesman for the National Security Council told Hersh that “The Israeli government gave no official in Washington any reason to believe that Israel was planning to attack.”
Hersh has a track record in breaking major stories. He was the first to write about the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and has written extensively about the build-up to the war in Iraq. He made his name when he uncovered the massacre at My Lai during the Vietnam war. Most recently he has written about US plans for Iran, alleging that US special forces had already been active inside the country.