Seymour Hersh on Iran (9/30/07)

The illustration from the the October 7 , 2007 issue of the New Yorker accompanies Seymour M. Hersh’s installment for Annals of National Security, “Shifting Targets: The Administration’s plan for Iran.”

Hersh reports on increased activity and posits that Bush’s change to emphasize “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere,

reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign. The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq.

Hersh reports that a former senior intelligence official told him about a White House meeting with Cheney this summer in which the administration agreed it could fend off criticism of limited strikes by saying

Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives.

The former intelligence official added,

There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, “You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.” But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.

*
Seymour M. Hersh first gained national attention for writing about the My Lai massacre and cover up, winning the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International reporting. According to The People’s Almanac,

Failing to sell the piece to Life and Look magazines, Hersh filed it with the fledgling Dispatch News Service, which peddled it to 36 major newspapers at $100 each.

Hersh first wrote for the New Yorker feature “Reporter at Large” in 1971, at least that’s the first article abstracted on the magazine’s site. His first column for “The Annals of National Security” feature questioned Clinton’s bombing of a pharmaceutical company in Sudan in retaliation for Bin Ladin in “The Missiles of August,” which appeared in the October 12, 1998 issue (p. 34) .

August and September 2007: 34,030
2007 YTD: 126,073
2006 TOTAL: 61,308
Total since 1/1/06: 187,381

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