Seymour M. Hersh: US helped plan Lebanon invasion


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Washington¹s interests in Israel¹s war.
Issue of 2006-08-21
Posted 2006-08-14

In the days after Hezbollah crossed from Lebanon into Israel, on July 12th, to 
kidnap two soldiers, triggering an Israeli air attack on Lebanon and a 
full-scale war, the Bush Administration seemed strangely passive. ³It¹s a moment
of clarification,² President George W. Bush said at the G-8 summit, in St. 
Petersburg, on July 16th. ³It¹s now become clear why we don¹t have peace in the 
Middle East.² He described the relationship between Hezbollah and its supporters
in Iran and Syria as one of the ³root causes of instability,² and subsequently 
said that it was up to those countries to end the crisis. Two days later, 
despite calls from several governments for the United States to take the lead in
negotiations to end the fighting, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that 
a ceasefire should be put off until ³the conditions are conducive.²

The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of 
Israel¹s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were
convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, 
that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah¹s heavily
fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could
ease Israel¹s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential 
American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran¹s nuclear installations, some of 
which are also buried deep underground.

Israeli military and intelligence experts I spoke to emphasized that the 
country¹s immediate security issues were reason enough to confront Hezbollah, 
regardless of what the Bush Administration wanted. Shabtai Shavit, a 
national-security adviser to the Knesset who headed the Mossad, Israel¹s 
foreign-intelligence service, from 1989 to 1996, told me, ³We do what we think 
is best for us, and if it happens to meet America¹s requirements, that¹s just 
part of a relationship between two friends. Hezbollah is armed to the teeth and 
trained in the most advanced technology of guerrilla warfare. It was just a 
matter of time. We had to address it.²

Hezbollah is seen by Israelis as a profound threat‹a terrorist organization, 
operating on their border, with a military arsenal that, with help from Iran and
Syria, has grown stronger since the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon 
ended, in 2000. Hezbollah¹s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, has said he does 
not believe that Israel is a ³legal state.² Israeli intelligence estimated at 
the outset of the air war that Hezbollah had roughly five hundred medium-range 
Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets and a few dozen long-range Zelzal rockets; the 
Zelzals, with a range of about two hundred kilometres, could reach Tel Aviv. 
(One rocket hit Haifa the day after the kidnappings.) It also has more than 
twelve thousand shorter-range rockets. Since the conflict began, more than three
thousand of these have been fired at Israel.

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. ³It¹s not that the Israelis had a trap that Hezbollah walked 
into,² he said, ³but there was a strong feeling in the White House that sooner 
or later the Israelis were going to do it.²

The Middle East expert said that the Administration had several reasons for 
supporting the Israeli bombing campaign. Within the State Department, it was 
seen as a way to strengthen the Lebanese government so that it could assert its 
authority over the south of the country, much of which is controlled by 
Hezbollah. He went on, ³The White House was more focussed on stripping Hezbollah
of its missiles, because, if there was to be a military option against Iran¹s 
nuclear facilities, it had to get rid of the weapons that Hezbollah could use in
a potential retaliation at Israel. Bush wanted both. Bush was going after Iran, 
as part of the Axis of Evil, and its nuclear sites, and he was interested in 
going after Hezbollah as part of his interest in democratization, with Lebanon 
as one of the crown jewels of Middle East democracy.²

Administration officials denied that they knew of Israel¹s plan for the air war.
The White House did not respond to a detailed list of questions. In response to 
a separate request, a National Security Council spokesman said, ³Prior to 
Hezbollah¹s attack on Israel, the Israeli government gave no official in 
Washington any reason to believe that Israel was planning to attack. Even after 
the July 12th attack, we did not know what the Israeli plans were.² A Pentagon 
spokesman said, ³The United States government remains committed to a diplomatic 
solution to the problem of Iran¹s clandestine nuclear weapons program,² and 
denied the story, as did a State Department spokesman.

The United States and Israel have shared intelligence and enjoyed close military
coöperation for decades, but early this spring, according to a former senior 
intelligence official, high-level planners from the U.S. Air Force‹under 
pressure from the White House to develop a war plan for a decisive strike 
against Iran¹s nuclear facilities‹began consulting with their counterparts in 
the Israeli Air Force.

³The big question for our Air Force was how to hit a series of hard targets in 
Iran successfully,² the former senior intelligence official said. ³Who is the 
closest ally of the U.S. Air Force in its planning? It¹s not Congo‹it¹s Israel. 
Everybody knows that Iranian engineers have been advising Hezbollah on tunnels 
and underground gun emplacements. And so the Air Force went to the Israelis with
some new tactics and said to them, ŒLet¹s concentrate on the bombing and share 
what we have on Iran and what you have on Lebanon.¹ ² The discussions reached 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he said.

³The Israelis told us it would be a cheap war with many benefits,² a U.S. 
government consultant with close ties to Israel said. ³Why oppose it? We¹ll be 
able to hunt down and bomb missiles, tunnels, and bunkers from the air. It would
be a demo for Iran.²

A Pentagon consultant said that the Bush White House ³has been agitating for 
some time to find a reason for a preëmptive blow against Hezbollah.² He added, 
³It was our intent to have Hezbollah diminished, and now we have someone else 
doing it.² (As this article went to press, the United Nations Security Council 
passed a ceasefire resolution, although it was unclear if it would change the 
situation on the ground.)

According to Richard Armitage, who served as Deputy Secretary of State in Bush¹s
first term‹and who, in 2002, said that Hezbollah ³may be the A team of 
terrorists²‹Israel¹s campaign in Lebanon, which has faced unexpected 
difficulties and widespread criticism, may, in the end, serve as a warning to 
the White House about Iran. ³If the most dominant military force in the 
region‹the Israel Defense Forces‹can¹t pacify a country like Lebanon, with a 
population of four million, you should think carefully about taking that 
template to Iran, with strategic depth and a population of seventy million,² 
Armitage said. ³The only thing that the bombing has achieved so far is to unite 
the population against the Israelis.²

Several current and former officials involved in the Middle East told me that 
Israel viewed the soldiers¹ kidnapping as the opportune moment to begin its 
planned military campaign against Hezbollah. ³Hezbollah, like clockwork, was 
instigating something small every month or two,² the U.S. government consultant 
with ties to Israel said. Two weeks earlier, in late June, members of Hamas, the
Palestinian group, had tunnelled under the barrier separating southern Gaza from
Israel and captured an Israeli soldier. Hamas also had lobbed a series of 
rockets at Israeli towns near the border with Gaza. In response, Israel had 
initiated an extensive bombing campaign and reoccupied parts of Gaza.

The Pentagon consultant noted that there had also been cross-border incidents 
involving Israel and Hezbollah, in both directions, for some time. ³They¹ve been
sniping at each other,² he said. ³Either side could have pointed to some 
incident and said ŒWe have to go to war with these guys¹‹because they were 
already at war.²

David Siegel, the spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said that the 
Israeli Air Force had not been seeking a reason to attack Hezbollah. ³We did not
plan the campaign. That decision was forced on us.² There were ongoing alerts 
that Hezbollah ³was pressing to go on the attack,² Siegel said. ³Hezbollah 
attacks every two or three months,² but the kidnapping of the soldiers raised 
the stakes.

In interviews, several Israeli academics, journalists, and retired military and 
intelligence officers all made one point: they believed that the Israeli 
leadership, and not Washington, had decided that it would go to war with 
Hezbollah. Opinion polls showed that a broad spectrum of Israelis supported that
choice. ³The neocons in Washington may be happy, but Israel did not need to be 
pushed, because Israel has been wanting to get rid of Hezbollah,² Yossi Melman, 
a journalist for the newspaper Ha¹aretz, who has written several books about the
Israeli intelligence community, said. ³By provoking Israel, Hezbollah provided 
that opportunity.²

³We were facing a dilemma,² an Israeli official said. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
³had to decide whether to go for a local response, which we always do, or for a 
comprehensive response‹to really take on Hezbollah once and for all.² Olmert 
made his decision, the official said, only after a series of Israeli rescue 
efforts failed.

The U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel told me, however, that,
from Israel¹s perspective, the decision to take strong action had become 
inevitable weeks earlier, after the Israeli Army¹s signals intelligence group, 
known as Unit 8200, picked up bellicose intercepts in late spring and early 
summer, involving Hamas, Hezbollah, and Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader now 
living in Damascus.

One intercept was of a meeting in late May of the Hamas political and military 
leadership, with Meshal participating by telephone. ³Hamas believed the call 
from Damascus was scrambled, but Israel had broken the code,² the consultant 
said. For almost a year before its victory in the Palestinian elections in 
January, Hamas had curtailed its terrorist activities. In the late May 
intercepted conversation, the consultant told me, the Hamas leadership said that
³they got no benefit from it, and were losing standing among the Palestinian 
population.² The conclusion, he said, was ³ ŒLet¹s go back into the terror 
business and then try and wrestle concessions from the Israeli government.¹ ² 
The consultant told me that the U.S. and Israel agreed that if the Hamas 
leadership did so, and if Nasrallah backed them up, there should be ³a 
full-scale response.² In the next several weeks, when Hamas began digging the 
tunnel into Israel, the consultant said, Unit 8200 ³picked up signals 
intelligence involving Hamas, Syria, and Hezbollah, saying, in essence, that 
they wanted Hezbollah to Œwarm up¹ the north.² In one intercept, the consultant 
said, Nasrallah referred to Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz ³as seeming 
to be weak,² in comparison with the former Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud
Barak, who had extensive military experience, and said ³he thought Israel would 
respond in a small-scale, local way, as they had in the past.²

Earlier this summer, before the Hezbollah kidnappings, the U.S. government 
consultant said, several Israeli officials visited Washington, separately, ³to 
get a green light for the bombing operation and to find out how much the United 
States would bear.² The consultant added, ³Israel began with Cheney. It wanted 
to be sure that it had his support and the support of his office and the Middle 
East desk of the National Security Council.² After that, ³persuading Bush was 
never a problem, and Condi Rice was on board,² the consultant said.

The initial plan, as outlined by the Israelis, called for a major bombing 
campaign in response to the next Hezbollah provocation, according to the Middle 
East expert with knowledge of U.S. and Israeli thinking. Israel believed that, 
by targeting Lebanon¹s infrastructure, including highways, fuel depots, and even
the civilian runways at the main Beirut airport, it could persuade Lebanon¹s 
large Christian and Sunni populations to turn against Hezbollah, according to 
the former senior intelligence official. The airport, highways, and bridges, 
among other things, have been hit in the bombing campaign. The Israeli Air Force
had flown almost nine thousand missions as of last week. (David Siegel, the 
Israeli spokesman, said that Israel had targeted only sites connected to 
Hezbollah; the bombing of bridges and roads was meant to prevent the transport 
of weapons.)

The Israeli plan, according to the former senior intelligence official, was ³the
mirror image of what the United States has been planning for Iran.² (The initial
U.S. Air Force proposals for an air attack to destroy Iran¹s nuclear capacity, 
which included the option of intense bombing of civilian infrastructure targets 
inside Iran, have been resisted by the top leadership of the Army, the Navy, and
the Marine Corps, according to current and former officials. They argue that the
Air Force plan will not work and will inevitably lead, as in the Israeli war 
with Hezbollah, to the insertion of troops on the ground.)

Uzi Arad, who served for more than two decades in the Mossad, told me that to 
the best of his knowledge the contacts between the Israeli and U.S. governments 
were routine, and that, ³in all my meetings and conversations with government 
officials, never once did I hear anyone refer to prior coördination with the 
United States.² He was troubled by one issue‹the speed with which the Olmert 
government went to war. ³For the life of me, I¹ve never seen a decision to go to
war taken so speedily,² he said. ³We usually go through long analyses.²

The key military planner was Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, the I.D.F. chief of 
staff, who, during a career in the Israeli Air Force, worked on contingency 
planning for an air war with Iran. Olmert, a former mayor of Jerusalem, and 
Peretz, a former labor leader, could not match his experience and expertise.

In the early discussions with American officials, I was told by the Middle East 
expert and the government consultant, the Israelis repeatedly pointed to the war
in Kosovo as an example of what Israel would try to achieve. The NATO forces 
commanded by U.S. Army General Wesley Clark methodically bombed and strafed not 
only military targets but tunnels, bridges, and roads, in Kosovo and elsewhere 
in Serbia, for seventy-eight days before forcing Serbian forces to withdraw from
Kosovo. ³Israel studied the Kosovo war as its role model,² the government 
consultant said. ³The Israelis told Condi Rice, ŒYou did it in about seventy 
days, but we need half of that‹thirty-five days.¹ ²

There are, of course, vast differences between Lebanon and Kosovo. Clark, who 
retired from the military in 2000 and unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat for the 
Presidency in 2004, took issue with the analogy: ³If it¹s true that the Israeli 
campaign is based on the American approach in Kosovo, then it missed the point. 
Ours was to use force to obtain a diplomatic objective‹it was not about killing 
people.² Clark noted in a 2001 book, ³Waging Modern War,² that it was the threat
of a possible ground invasion as well as the bombing that forced the Serbs to 
end the war. He told me, ³In my experience, air campaigns have to be backed, 
ultimately, by the will and capability to finish the job on the ground.²

Kosovo has been cited publicly by Israeli officials and journalists since the 
war began. On August 6th, Prime Minister Olmert, responding to European 
condemnation of the deaths of Lebanese civilians, said, ³Where do they get the 
right to preach to Israel? European countries attacked Kosovo and killed ten 
thousand civilians. Ten thousand! And none of these countries had to suffer 
before that from a single rocket. I¹m not saying it was wrong to intervene in 
Kosovo. But please: don¹t preach to us about the treatment of civilians.² (Human
Rights Watch estimated the number of civilians killed in the NATO bombing to be 
five hundred; the Yugoslav government put the number between twelve hundred and 
five thousand.)

Cheney¹s office supported the Israeli plan, as did Elliott Abrams, a deputy 
national-security adviser, according to several former and current officials. (A
spokesman for the N.S.C. denied that Abrams had done so.) They believed that 
Israel should move quickly in its air war against Hezbollah. A former 
intelligence officer said, ³We told Israel, ŒLook, if you guys have to go, we¹re
behind you all the way. But we think it should be sooner rather than later‹the 
longer you wait, the less time we have to evaluate and plan for Iran before Bush
gets out of office.¹ ²

Cheney¹s point, the former senior intelligence official said, was ³What if the 
Israelis execute their part of this first, and it¹s really successful? It¹d be 
great. We can learn what to do in Iran by watching what the Israelis do in 

The Pentagon consultant told me that intelligence about Hezbollah and Iran is 
being mishandled by the White House the same way intelligence had been when, in 
2002 and early 2003, the Administration was making the case that Iraq had 
weapons of mass destruction. ³The big complaint now in the intelligence 
community is that all of the important stuff is being sent directly to the 
top‹at the insistence of the White House‹and not being analyzed at all, or 
scarcely,² he said. ³It¹s an awful policy and violates all of the N.S.A.¹s 
strictures, and if you complain about it you¹re out,² he said. ³Cheney had a 
strong hand in this.²

The long-term Administration goal was to help set up a Sunni Arab 
coalition‹including countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt‹that would 
join the United States and Europe to pressure the ruling Shiite mullahs in Iran.
³But the thought behind that plan was that Israel would defeat Hezbollah, not 
lose to it,² the consultant with close ties to Israel said. Some officials in 
Cheney¹s office and at the N.S.C. had become convinced, on the basis of private 
talks, that those nations would moderate their public criticism of Israel and 
blame Hezbollah for creating the crisis that led to war. Although they did so at
first, they shifted their position in the wake of public protests in their 
countries about the Israeli bombing. The White House was clearly disappointed 
when, late last month, Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, came 
to Washington and, at a meeting with Bush, called for the President to intervene
immediately to end the war. The Washington Post reported that Washington had 
hoped to enlist moderate Arab states ³in an effort to pressure Syria and Iran to
rein in Hezbollah, but the Saudi move . . . seemed to cloud that initiative.²

The surprising strength of Hezbollah¹s resistance, and its continuing ability to
fire rockets into northern Israel in the face of the constant Israeli bombing, 
the Middle East expert told me, ³is a massive setback for those in the White 
House who want to use force in Iran. And those who argue that the bombing will 
create internal dissent and revolt in Iran are also set back.²

Nonetheless, some officers serving with the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain deeply 
concerned that the Administration will have a far more positive assessment of 
the air campaign than they should, the former senior intelligence official said.
³There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about 
this,² he said. ³When the smoke clears, they¹ll say it was a success, and 
they¹ll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.²

In the White House, especially in the Vice-President¹s office, many officials 
believe that the military campaign against Hezbollah is working and should be 
carried forward. At the same time, the government consultant said, some 
policymakers in the Administration have concluded that the cost of the bombing 
to Lebanese society is too high. ³They are telling Israel that it¹s time to wind
down the attacks on infrastructure.²

Similar divisions are emerging in Israel. David Siegel, the Israeli spokesman, 
said that his country¹s leadership believed, as of early August, that the air 
war had been successful, and had destroyed more than seventy per cent of 
Hezbollah¹s medium- and long-range-missile launching capacity. ³The problem is 
short-range missiles, without launchers, that can be shot from civilian areas 
and homes,² Siegel told me. ³The only way to resolve this is ground 
operations‹which is why Israel would be forced to expand ground operations if 
the latest round of diplomacy doesn¹t work.² Last week, however, there was 
evidence that the Israeli government was troubled by the progress of the war. In
an unusual move, Major General Moshe Kaplinsky, Halutz¹s deputy, was put in 
charge of the operation, supplanting Major General Udi Adam. The worry in Israel
is that Nasrallah might escalate the crisis by firing missiles at Tel Aviv. 
³There is a big debate over how much damage Israel should inflict to prevent 
it,² the consultant said. ³If Nasrallah hits Tel Aviv, what should Israel do? 
Its goal is to deter more attacks by telling Nasrallah that it will destroy his 
country if he doesn¹t stop, and to remind the Arab world that Israel can set it 
back twenty years. We¹re no longer playing by the same rules.²

A European intelligence officer told me, ³The Israelis have been caught in a 
psychological trap. In earlier years, they had the belief that they could solve 
their problems with toughness. But now, with Islamic martyrdom, things have 
changed, and they need different answers. How do you scare people who love 
martyrdom?² The problem with trying to eliminate Hezbollah, the intelligence 
officer said, is the group¹s ties to the Shiite population in southern Lebanon, 
the Bekaa Valley, and Beirut¹s southern suburbs, where it operates schools, 
hospitals, a radio station, and various charities.

A high-level American military planner told me, ³We have a lot of vulnerability 
in the region, and we¹ve talked about some of the effects of an Iranian or 
Hezbollah attack on the Saudi regime and on the oil infrastructure.² There is 
special concern inside the Pentagon, he added, about the oil-producing nations 
north of the Strait of Hormuz. ³We have to anticipate the unintended 
consequences,² he told me. ³Will we be able to absorb a barrel of oil at one 
hundred dollars? There is this almost comical thinking that you can do it all 
from the air, even when you¹re up against an irregular enemy with a dug-in 
capability. You¹re not going to be successful unless you have a ground presence,
but the political leadership never considers the worst case. These guys only 
want to hear the best case.²

There is evidence that the Iranians were expecting the war against Hezbollah. 
Vali Nasr, an expert on Shiite Muslims and Iran, who is a fellow at the Council 
on Foreign Relations and also teaches at the Naval Postgraduate School, in 
Monterey, California, said, ³Every negative American move against Hezbollah was 
seen by Iran as part of a larger campaign against it. And Iran began to prepare 
for the showdown by supplying more sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah‹anti-ship 
and anti-tank missiles‹and training its fighters in their use. And now Hezbollah
is testing Iran¹s new weapons. Iran sees the Bush Administration as trying to 
marginalize its regional role, so it fomented trouble.²

Nasr, an Iranian-American who recently published a study of the Sunni-Shiite 
divide, entitled ³The Shia Revival,² also said that the Iranian leadership 
believes that Washington¹s ultimate political goal is to get some international 
force to act as a buffer‹to physically separate Syria and Lebanon in an effort 
to isolate and disarm Hezbollah, whose main supply route is through Syria. 
³Military action cannot bring about the desired political result,² Nasr said. 
The popularity of Iran¹s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a virulent critic of 
Israel, is greatest in his own country. If the U.S. were to attack Iran¹s 
nuclear facilities, Nasr said, ³you may end up turning Ahmadinejad into another 
Nasrallah‹the rock star of the Arab street.²

Donald Rumsfeld, who is one of the Bush Administration¹s most outspoken, and 
powerful, officials, has said very little publicly about the crisis in Lebanon. 
His relative quiet, compared to his aggressive visibility in the run-up to the 
Iraq war, has prompted a debate in Washington about where he stands on the 

Some current and former intelligence officials who were interviewed for this 
article believe that Rumsfeld disagrees with Bush and Cheney about the American 
role in the war between Israel and Hezbollah. The U.S. government consultant 
with close ties to Israel said that ³there was a feeling that Rumsfeld was jaded
in his approach to the Israeli war.² He added, ³Air power and the use of a few 
Special Forces had worked in Afghanistan, and he tried to do it again in Iraq. 
It was the same idea, but it didn¹t work. He thought that Hezbollah was too dug 
in and the Israeli attack plan would not work, and the last thing he wanted was 
another war on his shift that would put the American forces in Iraq in greater 

A Western diplomat said that he understood that Rumsfeld did not know all the 
intricacies of the war plan. ³He is angry and worried about his troops² in Iraq,
the diplomat said. Rumsfeld served in the White House during the last year of 
the war in Vietnam, from which American troops withdrew in 1975, ³and he did not
want to see something like this having an impact in Iraq.² Rumsfeld¹s concern, 
the diplomat added, was that an expansion of the war into Iran could put the 
American troops in Iraq at greater risk of attacks by pro-Iranian Shiite 

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on August 3rd, Rumsfeld was less 
than enthusiastic about the war¹s implications for the American troops in Iraq. 
Asked whether the Administration was mindful of the war¹s impact on Iraq, he 
testified that, in his meetings with Bush and Condoleezza Rice, ³there is a 
sensitivity to the desire to not have our country or our interests or our forces
put at greater risk as a result of what¹s taking place between Israel and 
Hezbollah. . . . There are a variety of risks that we face in that region, and 
it¹s a difficult and delicate situation.²

The Pentagon consultant dismissed talk of a split at the top of the 
Administration, however, and said simply, ³Rummy is on the team. He¹d love to 
see Hezbollah degraded, but he also is a voice for less bombing and more 
innovative Israeli ground operations.² The former senior intelligence official 
similarly depicted Rumsfeld as being ³delighted that Israel is our stalking 

There are also questions about the status of Condoleezza Rice. Her initial 
support for the Israeli air war against Hezbollah has reportedly been tempered 
by dismay at the effects of the attacks on Lebanon. The Pentagon consultant said
that in early August she began privately ³agitating² inside the Administration 
for permission to begin direct diplomatic talks with Syria‹so far, without much 
success. Last week, the Times reported that Rice had directed an Embassy 
official in Damascus to meet with the Syrian foreign minister, though the 
meeting apparently yielded no results. The Times also reported that Rice viewed 
herself as ³trying to be not only a peacemaker abroad but also a mediator among 
contending parties² within the Administration. The article pointed to a divide 
between career diplomats in the State Department and ³conservatives in the 
government,² including Cheney and Abrams, ³who were pushing for strong American 
support for Israel.²

The Western diplomat told me his embassy believes that Abrams has emerged as a 
key policymaker on Iran, and on the current Hezbollah-Israeli crisis, and that 
Rice¹s role has been relatively diminished. Rice did not want to make her most 
recent diplomatic trip to the Middle East, the diplomat said. ³She only wanted 
to go if she thought there was a real chance to get a ceasefire.²

Bush¹s strongest supporter in Europe continues to be British Prime Minister Tony
Blair, but many in Blair¹s own Foreign Office, as a former diplomat said, 
believe that he has ³gone out on a particular limb on this²‹especially by 
accepting Bush¹s refusal to seek an immediate and total ceasefire between Israel
and Hezbollah. ³Blair stands alone on this,² the former diplomat said. ³He knows
he¹s a lame duck who¹s on the way out, but he buys it²‹the Bush policy. ³He 
drinks the White House Kool-Aid as much as anybody in Washington.² The crisis 
will really start at the end of August, the diplomat added, ³when the 
Iranians²‹under a United Nations deadline to stop uranium enrichment‹³will say 

Even those who continue to support Israel¹s war against Hezbollah agree that it 
is failing to achieve one of its main goals‹to rally the Lebanese against 
Hezbollah. ³Strategic bombing has been a failed military concept for ninety 
years, and yet air forces all over the world keep on doing it,² John Arquilla, a
defense analyst at the Naval Postgraduate School, told me. Arquilla has been 
campaigning for more than a decade, with growing success, to change the way 
America fights terrorism. ³The warfare of today is not mass on mass,² he said. 
³You have to hunt like a network to defeat a network. Israel focussed on bombing
against Hezbollah, and, when that did not work, it became more aggressive on the
ground. The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and 
expecting a different result.²

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