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US helped Israel plan Lebanon offensive
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Christian Science Monitor/New Yorker

Christian Science Monitor/New Yorker, August 14, 2006
Posted: November 11th, 2006

A special report in The New Yorker says the Bush administration was closely involved in the planning of Israel's retaliatory attacks against Hizbullah in Lebanon, and US officials hoped that by helping Israel destroy or disarm the militant Islamic group, it would make it easier for the US to launch a preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. The report, written by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who also helped break the story about abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison and in the 70s broke the story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, alleges Israeli officials travelled to Washington to talk to US officials, in particular Vice President Dick Cheney, about the plan. A Pentagon consultant said that the Bush White House "has been agitating for some time to find a reason for a pre-emptive blow against Hezbollah." CBS News reports that Israeli officials "fiercely denied" that it had sought a "greenlight" from Washington, and that it had no advance plan to attack Hizbullah. Yesterday Mr Hersh told CNN: "July was a pretext for a major offensive that had been in the works for a long time. They really want to go after Iran." Last month the San Francisco Chronicle reported that "Israel's military response...was unfolding according to a plan finalized more than a year ago". The report said that a senior Israeli army officer had been briefing diplomats, journalists and think-tanks for more than a year about the plan. It quoted Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at [Israel's] Bar-Ilan University, who said: "Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared."

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