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Special Report Roundtable - July 24

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: If we have learned anything, it is that any peace is going to have to be based on enduring principles and not on temporary solutions. We will talk about how to get to an enduring cessation of violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUME: The person off camera there was the Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, and Condoleezza Rice as she spoke those words was in Jerusalem. But she said basically the same thing in Lebanon today and apparently it didn't go down very well.

Some analytical observations now from Fred Barnes, executive editor of the "Weekly Standard"; Mort Kondracke, executive editor of "Roll Call"; and the syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer, FOX News contributors all.

Depending on your viewpoint in the situation, now that Condoleezza Rice is on the scenes, there are those who might regard this as the beginning of the solution to all this or the moment of greatest peril, Fred, which is it turning out to be?

FRED BARNES, "WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, it is the moment of the greatest peril particularly when she's flying there and talks about how urgent the need for disarmament is. This was on the plane when she was -- after she left the United States, but now she's gotten there and has gone back and saying the right things.

Look, there is one thing that has to happen now. And that is for a cease-fire not to take place and the Israelis allowed to continue to try to cripple Hezbollah. If that doesn't happen we're worse off than we were before the war. One of the things that Condoleezza Rice says that was encouraging she denies that it was absolutely untrue an Israeli newspaper report that the U.S. would give Israel one more week, obviously it needs more than one week to do the job.

MORT KONDRACKE, "ROLL CALL": That -- all that's true. What I'm worried about, frankly, is that the Israelis can't destroy Hezbollah sufficiently, no matter how much time they're taking, given the way they are going about it, just with air strikes and artillery and small incursions. There was an analyst on the Washington Institute on Near East Policy that says that the force that's going to be required to police Southern Lebanon would be 15 to 20,000 men with authority to fight Hezbollah if necessary.

Now, I don't know where we are going to find a force like that. It's going to not be UNIFIL, that's for sure, a U.N. force that just stands around and let's everything happen. So it would have to be a NATO force ready to fight, unless the Israelis have really cleaned the place out. And I don't see that they can clean the place out with simply --without ground forces and that's, you know, that's dangerous and they don't want to do it.

HUME: Without ground forces remaining?

KONDRACKE: Remaining.

HUME: Charles, an occupation then?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well I.

KONDRACKE: Or sweeping the place clean and then having a robust international force that's ready to.

HUME: All right -- Charles.

KONDRACKE: Hezbollah.

KRAUTHAMMER: One of the reasons the Israelis are reluctant to actually go in, in forces because they may get stuck with an occupation and they had 18 years of that and they don't want it again. What they want to do is to clear it so that the territory is ready to accept, it would have to be -- it couldn't be a U.N. force, that's completely worthless and feckless, as we have seen for the past 30 years. You've had the U.N. in there and they do absolutely nothing. In fact at one point aiding and abetting Hezbollah.

But, if you had a NATO force or E.U. that mike might work, but it would require Israel to attack Hezbollah to such a degree and degrade it that it would be, what you call a permissive environment in which E.U. would go. If Hezbollah is there enforced they are not going to go in.

And the question is, is Israel prepared for the full-scale invasion? It looks as if it's working on a plan, obviously a plan made in advance of doing it all in stages, but that requires time and that's why Rice is over there. She is trying to buy Israel the time. It's a perverse world in which a country is attacked, like Israel, wantonly, openly with aggression, as everybody recognizes and then the world declares that Israel, the country that was aggrieved and victimized is on a clock in defending itself. It wouldn't happen to any other country in the world, but unfortunately it's happening. And I think Rice is being heroic in defending Israel's right to defend itself and to take the time it requires to do it, because it's not going to be a one-day operation, it will require a massive invasion in status which is going to take weeks.

HUME: In a sense, isn't it the case, though, that Hezbollah's military weakness, and the weakness of the Lebanese government, its military, and one might even argue, its people are, in effect, strengths for Hezbollah in that you are going to get a lot of collateral damage because the way they operate, the way they're embedded in the population, the way they're located, the way they hide their weapons all makes that inevitable and that has an effect on world opinion and you do have a disproportion now between the number of Lebanese who are dying and the number of Israelis who are dying. What's the effect of that?

KONDRACKE: Well, look, the publicity, the blood factor here and on TV and the newspapers is all against the Israelis and it's -- there are journalists that were camped out in Tyre or visited Tyre, both the "Washington post" and the "New York Times" and NPR were talking about this family that got hit in a Mercedes while they were fleeing Tyre. And, you know, and the stories were perfectly heart wrenching about a young boy who was, you know, burned over most of his body. The fact is though, that Tyre is the place from whence comes these rockets that are hitting Haifa. So, the Israelis are trying to knock out the rocket installations and they hit civilians in the process.

KRAUTHAMMER: Which disgraceful and the attacks on Israel is that Israel is deliberately trying to minimize civilian casualties on both sides and Hezbollah is deliberately trying to increase civilian casualties on both sides. Terrorizing Israelis, and trying to see that as many Lebanese civilians are hit as Hezbollah hides behind them as a way to demonize Israel.

HUME: So, does that put the international media and the human rights organizations in the position or endangering of becoming dupes?

BARNES: They're abetting the terrorists in this case. Yeah, of course they're dupes, I mean, they're showing what they show is real, but it doesn't reflect truly what's happening there. I mean, you can show some blown out buildings, you can show some bodies, you can tell the story about the people in this Mercedes and obviously those things happen but there's - - the truth is somewhere else.

HUME: Next on SPECIAL REPORT, one day ahead of his White House visit Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al Maliki, insists he will never allow his country to slide into civil war. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NOURI AL MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): There are those who want to provoke sectarian sedition and they kill according to the sectarian scenario. There is an overwhelming feeling amongst leaders in Iraqi society that those people must be stopped. We must strike at them because we will never allow the country to slide into a civil or sectarian war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUME: And indeed as he spoke, Nouri al Maliki, before a visit here tomorrow, U.S. commanders and Iraqi generals are drawing up some kind of new plan to try to secure Baghdad. Something that's been tried many times and this most recent one was involving something on the order of 50,000 troops in the city to no apparent avail, the attacks have continued. So where are we in all of this -- Fred.

BARNES: Well, you know, I've been optimistic for a long time, but when you see these numbers you begin to worry. These number of people killed in these attacks. Maliki confirmed, or maybe other Iraqi officials confirmed, these U.N. numbers that 100 people a day, innocent casualties, are occurring every day. We know they are up to something like 1,500 to 2,000 a month. That's extremely alarming.

Remember, Algeria back some decades ago where it got to two closer to 3,000 innocent people murdered every month, and you get to a situation then where you can't expect anybody to act responsibly, to restrain themselves and you do fall into a situation of civil war or anarchy or pure terror and I'll have to say they've gotten a lot closer to that than I thought they ever would. I never thought was there was a chance of a civil war, but there is.

KONDRACKE: It's not a civil war yet, in the sense that the two sides are, you know, lined up against each other, but the militias are clearly engaged in the civil war and they're engaging -- they're not fighting each other as much as they are just butchering ordinary civilians, Shiites killing Sunnis and Sunnis killing Shiites in return.

I mean, this operation "Forward Together" which was supposed to pacify Baghdad as a template for the whole country, just hasn't worked. I'm not sure why it hasn't worked, whether it hasn't been aggressive enough or whether they didn't have enough troops. We're now talking about adding 5,000 more Americans...

HUME: That seems like a small amount. Just like 10 percent of the current force.

KONDRACKE: Certainly does.

HUME: Of course, then maybe they're going to add more Iraqi forces. Who knows -- Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's going to depend on the Iraqis because the Americans have, in fact, in the last two months been breaking down doors, trying and have attacked an engage with some of the militias particularly the Sadr militia, the radical Shiite militia which is attacking a lot of Sunnis. The problem is that when the Iraqi plan was initiated a couple of months ago, the Iraqi army was deployed but its orders were to show the flag and to go around in the streets handing out candy.

Unless the Iraqi army and police will actually attack the militias, mainly the Sadr militia, who's the radical cleric, attacking the Sunnis, you're not going to have enough stability in Baghdad to sustain this government. The irony is that the Sunnis now, who've been under attack, are looking to America for protection, so we have a wedge and an opening there, but it requires showing the Sunnis that we can control the Shiite militias, otherwise, it will end up in an all-out civil war.

BARNES: Well, I don't understand why is Maliki here? Why was he in London? I mean, you really do you have a crisis situation in Baghdad, he's the prime minister. What's he doing over here? He doesn't need to come over here to talk to President Bush, he can he do that by phone. President Bush was over there not long ago. I find it a little strange that he's doing world traveling at this particular time.

HUME: Well, some other people do. Some democrats in Congress say that he shouldn't be allowed to speak there. What do you think -- Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: Oh, that's pure grandstanding. I mean, what's Iraqi leader going to say I'm a Zionist? The previous Iraqi government, under Saddam blunt scuds into Israel and killed the civilians and funded Hamas, so it's a great improvement.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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