(LONDON / Telegraph News) “The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings among the joint chiefs of staff, and some officers have talked about resigning, Hersh has been told. The military chiefs sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran, without success, a former senior intelligence officer said.

The Pentagon consultant on the war on terror confirmed that some in the administration were looking seriously at this option, which he linked to a resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among defence department political appointees.

The election of Mr Ahmedinejad last year, has hardened attitudes within the Bush Administration. The Iranian president has said that Israel should be ‘wiped off the map’. He has drafted in former fellow Revolutionary Guards commanders to run the nuclear programme, in further signs that he is preparing to back his threats with action.

Mr Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official told Hersh. ‘That’s the name they’re using. They say, ‘Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?’ ‘

Despite America’s public commitment to diplomacy, there is a growing belief in Washington that the only solution to the crisis is regime change. A senior Pentagon consultant said that Mr Bush believes that he must do ‘what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,’ and ‘that saving Iran is going to be his legacy’.

Publicly, the US insists it remains committed to diplomacy to solve the crisis. But with Russia apparently intent on vetoing any threat of punitive action at the UN, the Bush administration is also planning for unilateral military action. Hersh repeated his claims that the US has intensified” — Via Drudge Report