By Gareth Porter
"WASHINGTON - Israel has argued that the war against Hezbollah's rocket arsenal was a defensive response to the Shi'ite organization's threat to Israeli security, but the evidence points to a much more ambitious objective - the weakening of Iran's deterrent to an attack on its nuclear sites.
In planning for the destruction of most of Hezbollah's arsenal and prevention of any resupply from Iran, Israel appears to have hoped to eliminate a major reason the US administration had shelved the military option for dealing with Iran's nuclear program - the fear that Israel would suffer massive casualties from Hezbollah's rockets in retaliation for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
It seems likely that Olmert discussed Israel's plans for degrading Hezbollah's missile capabilities as a way of dramatically reducing the risks involved in an air campaign against Iran's nuclear sites, and that Bush gave his approval. That would account for Olmert's comment to Israeli reporters after the meeting, reported by ynetnews but not by US news media: "I am very, very, very satisfied."
Bush's refusal to do anything to curb Israel's freedom to cause havoc on Lebanon further suggests that he encouraged the Israelis to take advantage of any pretext to launch the offensive. The Israeli plan may have given US Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld new ammunition for advocating a strike on Iran's nuclear sites. "