Kathy Willens/AP
Seymour Hersh

Journalist Says U.S. Considered Framing Iran to Start War

August 01, 2008 03:59 PM
by Josh Katz
The Bush administration considered disguising Navy Seals as Iranians to fire on American soldiers to spark a war with Iran, says New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh.

30-Second Summary

In early January, the Pentagon released a video of Iranian boats seemingly pestering an American warship in the Strait of Hormuz by Iran. Sailors on the ship heard the message “You will explode.”

On July 7, an article by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh appeared in the New Yorker describing the Bush administration’s efforts to boost covert efforts in Iran. In it, Hersh indicated that a meeting was allegedly held in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office following the Straits of Hormuz incident “to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington.”

Two days later, Hersh spoke at the Campus Progress journalism conference and was asked about the meeting. According to Hersh, the Hormuz episode taught the Bush administration, “if you get the right incident, the American public will support” it. At the meeting, officials bandied about ways to incite a war with Iran, according to Hersh’s source.

Hersh said that one of the ideas was to “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 rejected.

The New Yorker had opted not to include that information because the ploy was ultimately discarded.

In 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s foreign policy advisor indicated that a similar matter occurred before the start of the Iraq War, when Bush proposed ways to stimulate a war with Saddam Hussein if no weapons of mass destruction were found, including painting a U.S. surveillance plane in UN colors and hoping that the Iraqis would fire upon it.

Headline Link: ‘To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal To Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians And Shoot At Them’

Background: The Strait of Hormuz incident; the New Yorker article; interview with Hersh

Opinion & Analysis: ‘Trigger Happy’

Related Topics: Possible instigation of Iraq war; resignation of Fallon


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