Hersh Describes Contingency Plan to Attack Iran

Almost a year ago, Seymour Hersh warned of the Bush administration's "intensified planning" for an attack on Iran. Other voices have sounded the same alarm. The White House has consistently denied that it plans to invade Iran. The president said:

"Some are trying to take my words and say what he is really trying to do is go invade Iran. Nobody is talking about that."

Nobody except the president's war planners, who are developing a contingency plan to execute just such an invasion, according to a Hersh story in today's online New Yorker. As distilled by Reuters:

Despite the Bush administration's insistence it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W. Bush, The New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue. The special planning group was established within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent months ...

It sounds like people actually are "talking about that," Mr. President. Or do they communicate only by email and memo?

The panel initially focused on destroying Iran's nuclear facilities and on regime change but has more recently been directed to identify targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants in Iraq, according to an Air Force adviser and a Pentagon consultant, who were not identified.

Americans have crossed into Iran to gather intelligence, Hersh reports.

The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Here's a shocker (not):

While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney.

Hersh describes how the administration's policy choices in the Middle East have empowered Iran's course of hostility toward the United States. The article is lengthy and detailed. This post hightlights a small part, but it's all worth reading. In fact, it's essential reading.

< Sunday Open Thread | The Road To War With Iran Runs Through Iraq >
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    "A screaming comes across the sky." (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Madison Guy on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 02:05:18 PM EST
    I want to scream -- or is it that I'm hearing a scream echoing back to us from the future? The latest Seymour Hersh story in the New Yorker has more to do with the world of Thomas Pynchon than with the world of last week's cover kid Eustace Tilley. "A screaming comes across the sky."  Is Bush trying to bluff and threaten the Iranians into submission? Maybe. Who knows? But as we saw in the buildup to the Iraq war, the threat of force by these guys has a way of turning into the use of force. We're rapidly approaching an apocalyptic future that has a screaming written all across the sky -- unless there's a real screaming right here, at home, on the ground.

    Say Cheney shadow gov't, not Cheney (none / 0) (#1)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:58:21 PM EST
    Because that's what's happening -- What Hersh is really saying is that it's it's Iran-Contra all over again. (And what's going on is so vile, and so harebrained, that even Negroponte wants no part of it.)

    Remember Cheney's bizarre theory that the Vice President is really a fourth branch of government, so that any constraints on "the executive" don't apply? (Josh's scoop). 10 to 1 they're applying that here, and in a context, Iraq, where literally billions of loose cash is just floating around. No more of this "selling arms for hostages" nonsense...

    Bill Richardson (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 02:10:02 PM EST
    stated the obvious in a WAPO article yesterday:
    No nation has ever been forced to renounce nuclear weapons, but many have chosen to do so. The Iranians will not end their nuclear program because we threaten them and call them names. They will renounce nukes because we convince them that they will be safer and more prosperous if they do that than if they don't. This feat will take more than threats and insults. It will take skillful American diplomatic leadership.

    Cheney & Bush are not looking for a 'renouncing' from Iran though, IMO. They are looking only for an excuse to attack.

    Did the TL official candidate (none / 0) (#4)
    by bx58 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 03:20:01 PM EST
    recently say "nothing is off the table" regarding our dealings with Iran? That was in front of an enthusiastic standing O AIPAC audience.

    How do you get the chutzpa and cajones to endorse Hillary Clinton and then go ahead and post a thread like this?

    If it wasn't so deadly serious it would be funny.

    What are you talking about? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Dadler on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 04:00:25 PM EST
    Hersh's story is about the de-facto secret U.S. funding of...terrorists -- in the Iran/Contra mold.  As Hersh says in the article:

    "A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda."

    That's the worst, core point of this.  That in carrying out some cockamamie new "strategy", they are arming the same people who are killing us.  Illegally.  Skimming money from who knows where.  Earth to bx58: this is the same moronic "strategy" that had us funding Islamic extremists in Afghanistan in the 80's, which ultimately resulted in...9/11.  And liberals are the ones emboldening terrorists???  

    For heaven's sake, I'm no Hillary fan, she still can't just say she was wrong in the first place to even GIVE Bush any authority in Iraq, but she has as much to do with the issue Hersh examines as Martians do.  As much as I despise the talk, she's talking about military action sanctioned by congress in the constitutional manner, not subverting the constitution and the will of the American people -- whom, it should be a tad more than painfully obvious, would not exactly go along with plan to fund Islamic terrorists, much less a Bush plan to do so, or do anything for that matter.  Congress is not informed here.  Hillary is not applicable.

    This is huge.  


    Iran-Contra Redux (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 05:53:30 PM EST
    Skimming money from who knows where.

    Afghan bumper crop of heroin?


    Agreed, Dadler (none / 0) (#9)
    by Kevin Hayden on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 07:41:28 PM EST
    At the moment, it's clear that the funding of terror groups, possibly Al Qaeda itself, is being done. We are thus ruled by traitors with one Constitutional remedy for that.

    That is the central issue the nation must contend with. Who gets elected next is secondary, after we make certain our nation will outlast these criminals and survive till Election Day.


    Hillary is not applicable (none / 0) (#6)
    by bx58 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 05:50:25 PM EST
    The latest poll numbers: America loves Hillary and Rudy! It get's people thinking "why don't I?"

    Of course there's nothing not to love. Rudy getting a lap-dance from his loving "lady" or Hillary beaming in the midst of jovial yokels?

    Sean Hannity and his ilk hump for Rudy while they trash Hillary. They can't lose.

    They said the same thing in 2002, (none / 0) (#8)
    by Che's Lounge on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 06:10:17 PM EST
    while Tommy Franks was submitting repeated alterations the the  Iraq war plan that they denied they were developing. Woodward's stenography comes in handy sometimes.

    I read what Bush said. There's lots to plan that doesn't mean an invasion per se. Not that I believe him in the first place. You have to read every single word he says. He's not as stupid as he looks (no one could be that stupid).