April 26, 2008

Did DC Authorize Syrian Bombing?

Great Al Jazeera interview with Seymour Hersh. The "DC" referred to above is Richard [Dick] Cheney, who appears to have authorized the bombing of Syria last September, without a whiff of notice in the press, Congress, anywhere. 10 minutes reading this should put things into a much clearer perspective. Now, gydieyap, Bushie!
: Seymour Hersh, By Sarah Brown
[...] Al Jazeera spoke to [Seymour Hersh] about the [Syria] bombing, why he feels the media failed on the story, and what it means for the Middle East.
Q: Why did Israel bomb a target in Syria? A: Well I don't have the answers to that direct question - one thing that is terribly significant is that the Israel and its chief ally the US have chosen to say nothing officially about this incident and that's what got me interested - whoever heard of a country bombing another one and not talking about it and thinking they had the right somehow not to talk about it?
[...] Syria of course compounded the problem by being hapless and feckless in response. It took them, I think, until October 1, almost four weeks after the incident before the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, acknowledged it had actually been bombed.
[...] A raid takes place, they announced rather quickly there was an intrusion by the Israelis, they initially say after a couple of days that munitions were bombed, then the foreign minister says in Turkey four or five days after the incident that nothing was bombed however, bombs fell but nothing was hit.
Then, three weeks later, the president says: "Oh, well actually a building was destroyed". You can't programme something that inept and that's a reality. They just weren't very good.
Q: Didn't some of your sources tell you there was evidence to support the theory that the US wanted Israel to test Syria's air defences because they are similar to those of Iran?
A: In the beginning. This plan was staffed – by that I mean it was staffed by the US joint chiefs of staff, it was staffed by people in the vice president’s office.[...] It seems clear from what I've learned from my American friends and the Syrians that the Israelis came right in and the only target they had was the one they bombed.
They weren't looking at any radar site, they just went in and whacked it.
So, then you really get to the next level of questions that I didn't really deal with in the article because it's so hypothetical – who authorised it?
Who did they talk to? I mean Israel does not do a raid like this without talking to the White House and I can't find anybody that knew they were going to hit the facility beforehand.
That could be that just I can't find it, and if not that doesn't mean it's not there, and it could also be that somebody like Dick Cheney, who has done this before, overrode the chain of command.
So in other words, normally all this information about an Israeli attack would soak through to the joint chiefs, but he undercut that process perhaps - he's done it before in other incidents - but I just can't tell you for sure what happened here.
Q: Was the raid's purpose to act as a potential deterrent to Iran?

A: Of course that was the idea for the US, to let the Iranians know that despite the national intelligence estimate "We're ready to ... we have a proxy and the Israelis will go bang for us if we need."
[...] And the [result] was terrific for them, because it gave Olmert a big jump, a big boost of support.
[...] For me the US press - I don't think they've come face to face with what happened here.... the newspapers missed without question the biggest moral story of the last decade, which is the illegal road to war in Iraq and we missed it.
And that's not our job, it's not our job to miss that, our job is not to listen to the president. There were elements of the same pattern of "kiss-up" going on and that's very disturbing.
Somebody I know wrote a wonderful essay making the point that Iraq is a dead body, and David Petraeus, the general, and our ambassador Ryan Crocker they're the undertakers, and their job is to keep up with the rouge and the makeup on the body for the next six months until we get past the election - that's their goal.
[...]I just wish many American Jews would read the Israeli papers - particularly Haaretz - more carefully and they would see there's really a vibrant criticism of the Israeli government ... and you just don't see that today.[...]

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