George Will and Juan Williams Call Bill Kristol Out


For Sunday morning politics show followers, yesterday’s critiques of Israel’s actions and of the neoconservatives in America were heartening.
On both This Week with George Stephanopoulos and Fox News Sunday, two important pundits — one a stalwart conservative and the other a confirmed liberal — attacked Bill Kristol and the neoconservatives for their bleating for an American war against Iran, as response to what is unfolding around Israel.
The Juan Williams episode has been posted by Think Progress.
You can watch the segment by clicking here, but here is the Fox News Sunday transcript:

KRISTOL: Look, our coddling of Iran — if I can use the neutral term like that — over the last six to nine months has emboldened them. I mean, is Iran behaving like a timid regime that’s very worried about the U.S.? Or is Iran behaving recklessly and in a foolhardy way?
WALLACE: But isn’t that the result of what’s happened in Iraq?
KRISTOL: No, it’s a result of our deducing from the situation in Iraq that we can’t stand up to Iran. I mean, when we stand up over and over and say Iran is shipping Improvised Explosive Devices into Iraq and killing U.S. soldiers, and Syria’s providing a line for terrorists to come into Iraq and kill U.S. soldiers, and that’s unacceptable. That’s not helpful. And then we do nothing about it. When Ahmadinejad says provocative things, continues to ship arms to Hezbollah, and we say, okay, maybe now we’ll give you direct talks.
That, unfortunately, that weakness has been provocative. Ahmadinejad feels emboldened. Now we need to show him, and I think the administration has done a good job the last couple of days of showing him, that he miscalculated. And indeed, this is a great opportunity. I think our weakness, unfortunately, invited this aggression, but this aggression is a great opportunity to begin resuming the offensive against the terrorist groups. Israel is fighting four of our five enemies in the Middle East, in a sense. Iran, Syria, sponsors of terror; Hezbollah and Hamas.
Al Qaeda doesn’t seem to be involved. We have to take care of them in Iraq. This is an opportunity to begin to reverse the unfortunate direction of the last six to nine months and get the terrorists and the jihadists back on the defensive.
WILLIAMS: Well, it just seems to me that you want. . you just want war, war, war, and you want us in more war. You wanted us in Iraq. Now you want us in Iran. Now you want us to get into the Middle East, where I think there’s a real interesting dynamic at play. I think it’s psychological on the part of Israel and many of its supporters, and I’ll throw you in here. Somehow you see Israel as weak, and you see Ehud Olmert as weak
WALLACE: He’s the new prime minister —
WILLIAMS: The new prime minister of Israel. And the defense minister as weak. Everybody is weak in the aftermath of Sharon, and so everybody has to prove what a man they are in the Middle East, including — you’re saying, why doesn’t the United States take this hard, unforgiving line? Well, the hard and unforgiving line has been, we don’t talk to anybody. We don’t talk to Hamas. We don’t talk to Hezbollah. We’re not going to talk to Iran. Where has it gotten us, Bill?

George Will let loose on Kristol in a similar way during a discussion between George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, and Fareed Zakaria on This Week. (Podcast audio of the show available here).
In reaction to the editorial that William Kristol penned this week in the Weekly Standard titled “It’s Our War” which advocates initiation of war against Iran, George Will remarked about Kristol and the neocons: “The most magnificently misnamed neoconservatives are the most radical people in this town.”
George Will goes on to comment that America has its hands full with Iraq and that Iraq may, in fact, get worse because of the flare-up around Israel.
George Will and Juan Williams together on something. The White House should take note.
Bill Kristol is dead wrong that what is unfolding around Israel is “our war”. It could be called “our challenge”, and it has been for a very long time — but the U.S. has been missing in action and has invested little in working to broker arrangements that would isolate militant extremists and promote legitimacy among moderates. American absence from the region has left an environment in which the extremist elements on all sides are vying to control the temperature of the region.
America has no choice but to be involved — and that means if Israel responds disproportionately to a threat, crisis, and even an incursion — then America can’t just shrug off the situation. Kristol wants this to be “our war”; well long ago, it should have been “our peace”. We are now paying a price for half-way involvement and the impression among many in the region that the U.S. does not have a balanced hand in the region.
America has no choice but to engage soon because a regional, full-scale war runs the risk of escalating in ways that will substantially undermine key American interests in the region. The problem is that our involvement and even the fuller attention of Europe and the G-8 do not assure that this conflict can be easily bottled. Bad forces are out — and it’s going to be very hard for whatever reasonable-tilting moderates in Fatah and even Hamas to contain their radicals.
And Hezbollah, a 1.4 million person movement, got a gift from Israel with the broad-based, innocents-killing bombing campaign that was unleashed.
Hezbollah, like Fareed Zakaria has aptly stated, needs to be dealt with politically and delegitmated in the eyes of Lebanese. Israel has just bolstered Hezbollah’s legitimacy to levels that will now take a long time and significant effort to erode.
— Steve Clemons


18 comments on “George Will and Juan Williams Call Bill Kristol Out

  1. acomplia weight loss says:

    Acomplia represents one of the latest and indeed a most novel method for controlling body weight. Acomplia operates by being a cannabinoid receptor antagonist. This means that Acomplia prevents the normal action of endogenous cannabinoid in the brain from stimulating the so-called CB1 receptors.


  2. popup blocker says:

    Hi, very interesting site. I really like it. blocker off pop turn up blockers free popup software spyware blocker microsoft popup popup rate guard iclr popup results.aspx term camper manual popup killer norton popup popup truck camper pop up ads free yahoo pop up blocker and spyware aol popup best popup stopper 2000 blocker pop up window popup traffic free popup removal pop up spam blocker blocker edition free popup buster free popup free pop stop up free popup ads


  3. Matthew says:

    Finest: Fox News called and they want their line back.


  4. Finest says:

    I love reading what the left have to say. The liberal mind is a terrible thing to observe wasted.


  5. Frank says:

    Yep, I agree..Israel knows what it is doing, with Gingrich and Kristal megaphoning it away big time. Those “fished out flys” have dipped their nets too many times in waters troubled by Israel’s policys, and this time they have netted what they hope is the endgame . What those “fished out flys” forget is that once the draft is enforced in response to their hopes, the country will finally wake up to the sinfully biased diplomacy this administration has foisted on the middle east, such an awakening hurting Israel more than the Hezballah could do.
    I too worry about that cruise ship picking up Americans. The memory of what happened to the SS Liberty and the deceitful coverup, is too diabolical and treacherous to ignore in this new stage setting.
    Instead of diplomacy we have the shaking of the dice by both sides, the clicks being heard all over the world…What will it be,… a seven????….. or another Iraqi craps.


  6. dah says:

    Israel is attempting once and for all to show that Jesus Christ WAS NOT the Messiah by giving the Christians their beloved Armageddon to show them they won’t be getting Raptured up or the Second Coming, which will all go to show that Jesus was not the Messiah and the Jews are right and the Christians wrong and stooooopid!
    That’s what I think is actually happening!


  7. Station Chief says:

    “This leads me to tentatively conclude that Israel is intentionally investing in a much larger conflict.”
    “israel knows exactly what she is doing, and by destabilizing the region, they can blame Iran and Syria.”
    – – – – –
    precisely. everything is going exactly according to plan — the PNAC plan.
    most folks see iraq as a quagmire and the middle east as dangerously inflamed. but to the neocons, all is going exactly according to plan. to them, the cost in blood and treasure is minimal; keep your eyes on the prize. when the world’s only remaining superpower can permanently occupy the second largest oil reserves for only 1000 U.S. lives and 100 billion each year — THAT IS A NEOCON BARGAIN. the U.S. will never be pulling out of Iraq; remember the permanent military bases.
    first lebanon, then on to syria, next iran, then saudi arabia. Freedom’s on the March!


  8. Den Valdron says:

    I believe 1.4 million refers to the estimated Shiite population of Lebanon, who are believed to constitute somwhere between 30 and 44% of the population of Lebanon.
    Hezbollah as an organization is generally acknowledged to be the political leadership of the Shiite community. Certainly there are no other significant rival Shiite bodies… Amal long ago collapsed into irrelevance.
    Hezbollah maintains both a military/jihad wing and a social services/political wing. The social services/political wing provides valuable services, education, health care, orphanages, media etc.
    In the absence of Hezbollah, these services would have to be provided by someone else. So far, neither the west nor Israel has been particularly interested in finding or supporting anyone, not even the Lebanese government, in fulfilling or replacing Hezbollahs social role. But without replacing that social role, you will never erode Hezbollahs support.
    In a sense, Israeli and Western policy has been penny wise and pound foolish. Indeed, the current campaign of violence and destruction makes Hezbollahs social services component more vital and necessary than ever, and thus reinforces Hezbollahs support.
    I suppose one alternative would be to perpetuate a humanitarian atrocity and blow up every orphanage, clinic, schoolhouse, newspaper, business, etc. But the result would not be loss of support for Hezbollah, despite the elimination of its social component. Rather, the result would be redoubled human misery and hatred.
    A final approach would be to try and engage Hezbollah and move it from a terrorist organization to a social/political organization more fully. So far, this has not been attempted.


  9. anon says:

    Since events have unfolded, I’m now of the opinion
    Israel is destroying infrastructure to keep Hezbollah, Hamas and Lebanon, and possibly Syria, too, who will undoubtedly help Lebanon financially, occupied with rebuilding for next 2-10 years. That pushes the problem down the road while they figure out just how “smart” their enemies are becoming. I also note that it’s being reported Israel is offering “conditions” for Lebanon to meet to stop the bombardment and that Israeli troops made an incursion into south Lebanon but have since pulled back. Israel might want to try and drag Iran into the fight, but the Iranians are very savvy, too, and I doubt will fall into that trap. As we know from Israel’s 1980 air attack on Iran’s nuclear reactor, it took a major modification to its F-16 force to be able to reach Iran and return without refueling. They have limited air and no ground options for attacking Iran and cannot count on Iraq granting overflight rights.
    Over the weekend Gringrich and company floated a trial balloon about this being WW III and it went over more like a lead balloon. There’s no stomach here for either more war or a war in Iran.


  10. chris from boca says:

    the fears i have are that both Israel and the US saw this coming, and that both greet the wisespread view of the roles of hamas and hisbullah as terrorists with sponsors in Syria and Iran as a welcome frame for what is planned against Iran and Syria prior to the coming November elections in America. this is exceptional smokescreen for what is planned. israel knows exactly what she is doing, and by destabilizing the region, they can blame Iran and Syria. things will escalate until the choice of war is no choice at all, but the only ‘reasonable’ consequence of what is likely to transpire. leading the sheep to war is as simple a loosing a wolf in the fields. anyone who thinks these matters are not all related hasn’t been watching closely for the last 6 years.


  11. DC says:

    What confuses me about this entire series of events is how Israel could NOT have seen how its military campaign plays into Hezbollah’s hands. Israeli leaders are not rubes when it comes to the cultural/political realities of the middle east. This leads me to tentatively conclude that Israel is intentionally investing in a much larger conflict. Or perhaps it is seeking to ensure that it will make peace with no one, no surrounding state, anytime soon. To what end?? Very depressing for the US and its presence in the region.


  12. Finest says:

    1.4 Million?? Try 600 fighters all backed by Iran, a tiny fraction of seats in Parliament. You can’t make stuff up when we can boot up Wikipedia.


  13. btree says:

    “whether or not it bolsters Hezbollah’s “legitimacy” depends entirely on how it ends.”
    Amazing. Turning Lebanon into a parking lot hasn’t got anything to do with it – no, no, no.
    Checkout Madeleine Albright’s views on this administration’s record on quote unquote diplomacy.
    Albright describes no more than an emergency bottom line underneath a diplomatic record that has sunken so far beneath contempt that stuff like this doesn’t even register at all
    According to George Bush, it is now up to Syria to save Lebanon from utter destruction.
    How would *you* describe this – utter failure? moral bankruptcy? simply depraved?


  14. Punchy says:

    Mr. Clemons writes:
    “And Hezbollah, a 1.4 million person movement, got a gift from Israel with the broad-based, innocents-killing bombing campaign that was unleashed.”
    Finally, someone noticed. This is exactly what happened in Iraq. By killing 2 terrorists/insurgents but also 10 innocents, simple algebra says that you’ve angered at least 10 families and probably spawned ~30 new terrorists. Israel is giving Hezbollah a recruiting boost that they couldn’t have dreamed of…You can destroy a building or three, and kill a few leaders, but Israel cannot destroy the spirit of the movement, it appears, and only is adding to its ranks.
    Israel really did take a actual page out of the U.S. playbook (pg. 3, that says “shoot first, realize your mistakes never”).


  15. Linda says:

    Rabbi Michael Lerner has an excellent article out today on Alternet commenting on “neocons’fantasy” in Kristol’s op-ed.


  16. Steven Clemons says:

    Steve — I think that when matters have been stable, Bush has been slowly leaning to the first group of wary pragmatists, but when an episode or conflict riles things up, he’s ready to go charging off with the interventionists. He’s actually not charging in this case — but failing to restrain Israel and working to do the same on the Palestinian and Lebanese side feels like charging.
    To Larry Birnbaum, you may be right — not sure. Kristol is broadening the Hezbollah incident in ways that he thinks calls for American military action against Iran. I’m of the sort that thinks that Hezbollah tried to push Israel’s buttons — and wanted this reaction. It helps them with recruits, money, and political positioning in Lebanon — all of which are worse for Israel. I am a believer in sticks and carrots in diplomacy — and there were things that a more creative leadership in Israel could have done with the US, Europe and other stakeholders in isolating Hezbollah in Lebanon — and helping other wings in the Lebanese political establishment appear like “deliverers” of a more prosperous and successful Lebanon. That chance is gone — and Beirut, which was on the verge of a break-out as a successful destination city for the West is now being bombed into a state of chaos and disorder.
    This in no way helps Israel — it only assures long-term blowback and undermines Israel’s long-term security.
    I want Israel to be secure and want it to succeed as a long term state — but it has got to get some of these security issues dealt with in a way that don’t divide its friends and unite its enemies.
    best — and more later,
    Steve Clemons
    The Washington Note


  17. larry birnbaum says:

    Steve, I think there’s less going on here then either you or Kristol think. The current military conflict isn’t an opportunity for us to hit Iran, and whether or not it bolsters Hezbollah’s “legitimacy” depends entirely on how it ends.


  18. steve duncan says:

    Cautious, wary pragmatists. Agitating, imperialist interventionists. Which group has Bush’s rapt attention? I think the latter has a ring in his nose.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *