TRANSCRIPT: Seymour Hersh: Was Hezbollah a model for U.S. plans to bomb Iran?

Hello Everyone:

Here is the link to Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article titled "WATCHING LEBANON, Washington’s interests in Israel’s war" from 8/14/06:

Please see the CNN transcript below from 8/16/06 where Hersh claims "I know more than I did three days ago."

Each person will have to decide for themselves the validity of Hersh's claims. But if they are true, the only think that can restrain Bush and Cheney from bombing Iran without sufficient diplomatic efforts is the Democrats controlling at least one branch of Congress!

If Bush has a rubber stamp Congress in both branches after November, what else can stop him from bombing Iran or anyone else who he does not like without sufficient diplomacy?

The use of force should be on the table BUT as a last, last, last resort until ALL possible diplomatic efforts fail and there is some kind of a serious imminent threat!

Please forward this on for people to see that a vote for ANY Bush rubber stamp candidate in November is a vote for a lack of accountability which can possibly allow this to happen if Hersh is right!

Mitch Dworkin 
Listen to Gen. Wes Clark fight for Dems on Sean Hannity's radio program:

An excellent example for all of us to follow and what we all need to be doing to help fight against extreme right wing Neocon smear propaganda which will help our local candidates to win their races! 
Gen. Wes Clark's endorsement of Jim Webb against George Allen



Aired August 16, 2006 - 22:00   ET

BLITZER: Tonight, a bombshell accusation about the war in the Middle East. And it comes from a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist.

Seymour Hersh of "The New Yorker" magazine says the White House wasn't just watching the battle unfold; it may have been helping Israel against Hezbollah. I spoke to Seymour Hersh earlier.


BLITZER: Sy Hersh, you've written a powerful article. It's really generating a huge commotion here in the Middle East and Israel in the Arab world.

For those of our viewers who haven't read it, the bottom line is what, that the United States fully not only cooperated with Israel but was in on it with Israel, the launching of this -- these air strikes against Hezbollah after July 12 when those two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped.

SEYMOUR HERSH, "THE NEW YORKER": Yes. And of course, what happened happened. They were kidnapped, and that was the reason Israel went. But the reason it went so big is that there had been a lot of talk about doing something about Hezbollah in a major way for months with -- in coordination between Israel and the United States.

Both air forces -- Halutz (ph) is a believer in strategic bombing and the American Air Force is a believer in strategic bombing and the Cheney office, the vice president's office, also another believer in strategic bombing.

BLITZER; Here in Israel, what they're saying is -- and I got this from pretty high sources -- that yes, the Bush administration clearly from day one, July 12, supported Israel and provided Israel with military assistance, as they always do, but there was no coordination in advance. That's what they're suggesting.

HERSH: Well, coordination may be too strong. But what there was, was a definite feeling by Cheney and some of this, what we call the neoconservatives, that once Israel smashed Hezbollah with -- by air, and that was the idea, hit the infrastructure first, bomb -- bomb, you know, the runways in Beirut and some of the city structures so that the population of Beirut, the Christians and the Sunnis, would turn against Hezbollah, why that would be a model for what they really think -- the only plan they have for Iran.

Whether they're going to go to Iran or not, I don't know. But I do know there's intensive planning and intensive debate in the Pentagon whether or not you can take out Iran by air.

So this would have been a step in the right direction. As I quote somebody saying, it was seen as a demo.

BLITZER: Let me quote from the article. Because this is a major point in the piece in "The New Yorker". You write that Israel's bombing campaign -- and I'll quote here -- "also served as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran's nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground."

I want you to explain to our viewers what -- the point that you're trying to make, because by all accounts, the Iranians are working to build a nuclear bomb, and by all accounts, the United States, the Europeans, the rest of the world, the Russians, the Chinese, want to impose sanctions to try to convince the Iranian government not to do it. But what you're saying is that there are contingency plans to take out those sites.

HERSH: Absolutely. The problem is, those sites are dug in. Iran's been digging, you know, for a dozen centuries underground, the Persians. They're dug in way underground.

And one of the things our intelligence believes in terms of Hezbollah is this, Wolf. Once Syria was kicked out of Lebanon, under pressure from the United States, the U.N. and France, at that point, it was clear Hezbollah was next.

So for the last 18 months, Iran has been doing an awful lot of high-level technical work with Hezbollah, teaching them how to dig deeper, teaching them how to protect, get their command and control facilities deeper. So they were a very formidable target. Iran was helping a great deal in helping Nasrallah survive. So the idea is if Hezbollah could be gotten by the air, there was a lot of things to learn by bombing Hezbollah and taking out its facilities. And you needed to know how to do it, because to turn to Iran, which is a much more formidable target, this would be an enormous asset.

BLITZER: Despite all the denials coming across the board, you're sticking by your story?

SEYMOUR: I know more than I did three days ago.

BLITZER: The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Sy Hersh. Thanks very much for joining us.

HERSH: Always.


BLITZER: And straight ahead, what police are now looking for as they try to piece together the alleged bomb plot against U.S. airliners.

Submitted by Mitch Dworkin on August 18, 2006 - 12:37pm.

'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for August 14
Read the transcript to the Monday show

Updated: 10:37 a.m. CT Aug 15, 2006

Guests: Seymour Hersh, Mike Barnicle, Michael Smerconish

MATTHEWS: We go now to the man who started the big fight this week, “New Yorker” investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who has a big report, as I said, in this issue of the magazine, “New Yorker” magazine. Here it is, a great quote from it. I think this is a pretty good nut for the whole story.

“President Bush and Vice President Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence officials and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombings campaign against Hezbollah‘s heavily-fortified underground missile and command and control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel‘s security concerns, and also serve as a prelude to a potential American, preemptive attack to destroy Iran‘s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.”

How sound are you, Sy, on the fact that we‘re planning to go into Iran with an attack on their nuclear facilities?

SEYMOUR HERSH, “NEW YORKER” INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, we‘ve been planning this for a year. I mean, there‘s been a fight. I‘ve been writing about it in the “New Yorker” in previous articles. There‘s been a internecine warfare between the Air Force—the American Air Force says we can do it. Strategic bombings can work in Iran.

And, you know, the Iranians have been digging holes for what, eight, nine centuries now. And they‘re deeply buried underground. Most of the—the suspected facilities. We‘re not sure where anything is. We really don‘t know.

MATTHEWS: But these are like the pyramids. These are way down, right?

HERSH: Seventy-five feet under rock.

MATTHEWS: What kind of a bunker buster would you have to use, and how many people would that kill?

HERSH: Well, you know, one of the early thoughts was something attack a nuke, of course. That was ruled out only after the Joint Chiefs protested personally.

MATTHEWS: What‘s our biggest conventional bomb?

HERSH: Five thousand pounder, and we‘ve got a—well, the ones they‘re talking about, that there are bunker busters that are 5,000 pound bombs that the Israelis know quite a bit about. So what happens ...

MATTHEWS: Is that what Israel was asking for last week in the “New York Times”? They leaked something. Somebody leaked. That may be political. They put it in the “New York Times.” They are having trouble getting it from us. I assume somebody was facing some static in getting them the weapon they wanted. I don‘t know what happened.

HERSH: I don‘t know that part of it. I know that Israel has—knows much more about these kind of bombs than we think we have do and we started working with them. What happened is the Air Force plan got into a lot of heat over there.

The Army, the Marine Corps, and the Navy said are you kidding?

Strategic bombing doesn‘t work. Look at Chakano (ph) in Iran—and Iraq.

We‘re going to end up putting boots on the ground and we don‘t have them.

MATTHEWS: Who says that bombing Iran would stop their nuclear production? Who says that? The Air Force?

HERSH: The Air Force pushes it hard.

MATTHEWS: Because they‘re trying to sell a weapons system?

HERSH: Well, because they believe in strategic bombing. You know, bomb them back to the Stone Age, Curtis LeMay. That‘s ...

MATTHEWS: Did that work in the Second World War?

HERSH: Of course not. Studies show that ...

MATTHEWS: Hitler was still fighting when the Soviets got to his bunker.

HERSH: He made more tanks in ‘44 than he did in the previous years after intensive bombings of all the wars that he did. But, nonetheless, you know, McNamara, by the way, Robert McNamara was one of the leaders of the study—the strategic study after World War II, and he, of course, pushed for bombing in Vietnam. Everybody wants to bomb.

MATTHEWS: It doesn‘t work. So Curtis LeMay didn‘t know what he was doing?

HERSH: No, he was a pretty good officer.

MATTHEWS: But he wasn‘t right about this?

HERSH: You know what he said? He said at one point—and I think in February of 1945 -- I actually spent a lot of time looking at this. And he said, “I‘m out of targets, I can‘t bomb anything, I‘ve leveled everything and they‘re still fighting.”

MATTHEWS: In Vietnam.

HERSH: No, Curtis LeMay in 1944 in World War II. His point was that even though we had been bombing everything with B-29s—you know, once we got control over the islands, you know, at Okinawa we got some bases, we could hit Japan. In—three months before, five months before the war that he was out of targets, but the Japanese kept on resisting.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this, because it‘s so critical to the next two years. We‘re not going to have a presidential election for a couple of years now. We won‘t have an election for more than two years. It‘ll begin to be the process by the end of next year.

It looks like we‘ll have a primary up in—we‘ll have a caucus in Iowa probably by this time next year, practically. But we‘re stuck with this president for better or worse. He‘s our leader. Do you believe he wants to bomb Iran before he leaves?

HERSH: Absolutely. No, I should say this. I believe that he does not want to leave his office with Iran still posing a threat. I believe he sees a nuclear arm, Iran as an existential threat to his policies, the policies of Israel, the whole notion he has of making the Middle East, turning it into a democracy, which he still holds onto. I do believe that, and as part, one of the options ...

MATTHEWS: Does he—let me cut you off here, because we always conflate these issues. Does he see Iran as a regional threat to countries who are on our side, like Israel and the other so many Arab countries, or does he see it as a strategic threat?

Because this was the whole fight over Saddam Hussein. Of course he was a regional pain in the butt, of course he was a problem to some tactical extent to Israel—he wasn‘t a strategic threat to Israel—but is Iran a strategic threat to the United States? Does he believe that?

HERSH: I don‘t know what he believes.

MATTHEWS: How could he be a strategic threat to the United States?

HERSH: I don‘t know what he believes. He said today Hezbollah lost the war. I mean, I don‘t know. Is the moon made of green cheese? I don‘t know what he believes.

MATTHEWS: Do you believe the president says what he believes?

HERSH: Oh, yes. I believe he‘s—one of the things ...

MATTHEWS: You think he‘s totally genuine in what he presents to the American people? He believes what he tells us.

HERSH: I think you really have to listen to what he says, and I think one of the problems—you know, one of the reasons this story came about is somebody on the inside said, you know, these guys, here are the—they pushed the Israeli air force for the same reason you said in the intro. They wanted—it‘s sort of a demo for Iran.

They wanted a—there were reasons. You know, he‘s a terrorist, Nasrallah, he has got some missiles and we want to beef up the Lebanese government. The real reality is it‘s a test case for Iran. He pushed them into it. It was a disaster. They ended up sending in ground troops, just like all the guys in the Pentagon would say, and yet guys on the inside tell me there‘s no learning curve there. These guys ...

MATTHEWS: You know what it brings into question? Here‘s an administration that for political or other moral reasons or historic reasons—maybe because his father was pro-Arab—is the most openly pro-Israeli administration in history, in terms of the P.R.

And you have to ask yourself, has the loss of our power brokering ability in that region been a bigger loss for Israel than anything we could have done for them? Seymour Hersh is staying with us from “New Yorker” magazine. He‘s made the big story this week.

Submitted by haypops on August 18, 2006 - 8:32pm.
I would add that the U.S., Israel, France, Egypt, etc. should have all sorts of plans -- even attacks by little green men.
Submitted by Mitch Dworkin on August 18, 2006 - 10:32pm.


Special Edition: Crisis in the Middle East

Aired August 13, 2006 - 12:00   ET

BLITZER: Welcome back to our special "Late Edition: Crisis in the Middle East." Did the Bush administration see the Israel- Hezbollah conflict as an opening for a U.S. strike against Iran? Joining us now from Washington is the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and The New Yorker magazine staff writer, Seymour Hersh. He's got a major article on this subject that is just coming out.

Spectacular suggestions, allegations being made by you, Sy Hersh, allegations now being formally denied by the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department. But let me read to you from your article: "According to a Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking of both the Israeli and the U.S. governments, Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah -- and shared it with Bush administration officials well before the July 12th kidnappings" of those two Israeli soldiers.

Tell our viewers what you say you've learned because, as you know, the denials are coming in fast and furious.

SEYMOUR HERSH, "NEW YORKER" MAGAZINE: Well, one thing there's no question about, that this was known what Israel was going to do, it's attack on Hezbollah, the basically using air, primarily, was known to this White House. And I will tell you also to the State Department. They both had different reasons, the State Department and White House, for wanting Israel to do it, encouraging them to do it, supporting them.

Our Air Force worked very closely with the Israeli air force for months before this, not necessarily with a deadline knowing when it would happen. It was always going to be whenever there was an incident they would take advantage of an incident. The word I used was fortunate timing. When the Hezbollah grabbed some of the Israeli soldiers in early July, that was then a pretext -- I think that's the only word -- for a major offensive that had been in the works a long time.

The State Department always viewed what Israel was going to do, Condi Rice and her colleagues, as a way to stabilize -- going after Hezbollah would stabilize the Lebanese government and give them a chance under 1559 to take control. The White House, I write in this article, talking about specifically about Cheney's office, sort of center for the neocons, their view was different. Israel's attack on Hezbollah was going to be sort of a model, prototype, that is, a lot of air against a dug-in underground facility. Everything in southern Lebanon that Hezbollah had was underground.

For them it was going to be a test run for the bombing and the attack they really want to do, probably next year if they can. I'm not saying they've decided, but they want to go after Iran, and Iran, of course, the Persians have been dug in since, what, the 11th century so we know it's a tough call.

BLITZER: Because they're saying that these Sy Hersh conspiratorial theories so far-fetched they're rejecting them out of hand, especially this notion that what the Israelis have done now in Lebanon against Hezbollah is a prelude, a test run, if you will, for what the U.S. hopes to do against Iranian targets in Iran. And I want you to explain the nature of your sources, if you can -- I know you have confidential sources -- how good these sources are that are making this spectacular accusation.

HERSH: You know, when I did Abu Ghraib, the same kind of stuff was thrown at me, that I'm fantasizing, I'm a fantasizer, and I'll just put, you know -- I'm not writing from some off the wall weekly. The New Yorker is very solid. The editors of The New Yorker, my editor Dave Remnick and others know who my sources are. In many cases, they've talked to my sources. This is one of the procedures that The New Yorker -- very close fact-checking.

It's not about they're denying what I'm saying. It's about what these people have said to me. These are people inside, very much inside who are very concerned about the policy. And something else that was in the story is this, is that this White House will find a way to view what happened with the Israelis against Hezbollah as a victory. And they'll find a way to see it as a positive for any planning that is going on towards Iran.

I'm not saying Iran's a done deal. What I'm saying is, the idee fixe about Iran is almost as it was about in the first couple years after 9/11 in the White House as about Iraq. These guys, the president, Cheney and others, want to go. It's very much on their minds.

The nuclear weapons, whether they're there or not, have existential for this White House. This president does not want to leave the White House with that problem unsolved, and so, therefore, encouraging and abetting the Israelis to go after Hezbollah, after all, you cannot attack Iran as long as Hezbollah has missiles.

You have to get rid of those missiles, a potential deterrent, before you can go after Iran. That's the way they looked at it in the White House. I think it was something that really should be examined by a Congressional committee. It's sort of time to decide whether we're a democracy or not. This president's doing an awful lot of foreign policy without sharing it with the rest of us.

BLITZER: Because what they're criticizing your sourcing, they're saying you're speaking to former government officials, former intelligence officers, consultants to the U.S. government. The sourcing doesn't seem to include any current officials who are intimately involved with this type of planning.

HERSH: Well, it does. I mean, there are current officials talking to me, and if you read the sourcing carefully you'll see there are people, Middle East experts, you know, whether it's in or out of the government. The bottom line is, it's not a question -- you know, you and I have known each other a long time. Long of tooth we both are.

I would not write something, and I understand this is going to be all over the Middle East. It is already as far as I hear. And I understand the implications of the story. All of us do. And nobody is suggesting that Israel wouldn't have done what it did without the Americans. They didn't -- Israel didn't need the White House to go after Hezbollah, but it's the idea that they got tremendous amount of support from this White House.

That's the idea that -- why do you think this president has spent four and a half weeks doing nothing to get an immediate cease-fire, putting no pressure on the Israelis? It's all part of what they view as sort of a plan for what they want to do next. And it's not conspiratorial. It's simply the way...

BLITZER: Sy Hersh. Sy Hersh writing in The New Yorker magazine. And appreciated coming in Sy. Always appreciate speaking with you. Thanks very much.

HERSH: Great to be here.

BLITZER: And to our viewers, that's it for our "Late Edition" this Sunday, August 13. Please be sure to join us again next Sunday and every Sunday at 11 a.m. Eastern. I'm also in "The Situation Room" Monday through Friday, back from Jerusalem tomorrow. Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.