"There were a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war [with Iran]," Hersh said.
"The one that interested me the most was why don't we [America] ... build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up."
The plan was dismissed because Americans might die, Hersh said, explaining why the provocative information didn't make it into his most recent story for The New Yorker. But does it really matter that this time Team Torture chose to dismiss the dirtiest option on the table? What makes Cheney so special that he believes he has the right to determine whether or not to turn the American military against Americans to create an international incident and facilitate war?
The answer isn't hard to find. What's perhaps most shocking about this revelation is that we are surprised by it. In the 90's, Cheney signed on with William Kristols Project for the New American Century, a think-tank that advocated for a variety of wars in the Persian Gulf. In 1998, three years prior to the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington D.C., several neoconservatives including Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, and other Cheney associates sent a letter to then President Clinton urging him to invade Iraq. PNAC also drafted a Y2K manifesto titled Rebuilding America's Defenses which declared, "Even a global Pax Americana will not preserve itself ... The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership."
RAD further argued that America could shape circumstances by way of proactive military engagement. The document called for a rigorous defense of the American homeland and advised that we should in essence become the world's police force, capable of fighting and winning wars in many theaters simultaneously.
RAD substituted ideology for historical context and stated, "Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region."
You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to marvel at how convenient it was, so soon after Cheney's elevation to the vice presidency, that terrorist attacks in New York and Washington (followed by weeks of anthrax scares) gave neocons a pretext to do almost everything they wanted to do. They led us into Iraq on a wave of jingoism and the specter of a mushroom cloud. They got torture, multiple wars in the Middle East (well, two), a Department of Homeland Security, a politicized Department of Justicee, and even domestic wiretapping.
Now Hersh contends that Cheney held a meeting to discuss the merits of a terrorist act against Americans to promote a war he's wanted for years.
-- Chris Davis