Prominent investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh reported that Israel had previously planned to attack Lebanon prior to the Hezbollah's kidnappings on 12 July, which is regarded as the official reason for the Lebanese war, and added that the Bush administration was "closely" interested in the war planning.
Responsible for bringing the Ebu Ghraib scandal to public attention, Hersh in his latest article for the New Yorker wrote that earlier this summer, before the Hezbollah kidnappings, several Israeli officials visited Washington separately in order to gain U.S. approval for a planned bombing operation, and to gauge how much the United States would bear.
Israel began its contacts with Vice President Dick Cheney.
Before going ahead with its planned operation, Israel wanted to be sure that it had his support and that of his office, as well as the Middle East desk of the National Security Council.
According to Hersh's article based on retired government, military and intelligence sources, the Bush administration's plans about Iran were effective in giving the green light to Israel's Lebanon operation.
One of the aims of conducting bombing raids directed against civilian targets was to unite Sunni and Christian communities against Shiite Hezbollah.
U.S. government spokesmen denied Hersh's report; meanwhile, Hersh, in an interview with CNN, said he obtained data from government officials discontent with the government's foreign policy.