MSNBC Scarborough Country - Transcript
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SCARBOROUGH: Eight days into this latest Middle East crisis, critics of America are starting to raise their voices, demanding that our country force Israel to back down. Is the United States giving Israel the green light to kill civilians in their campaign to destroy Hezbollah?
Heres Representative Peter King, Republican from New York, and Pat Buchanan, MSNBC political analyst.
Pat, I think the United States is giving Israel a green light. Reports are that theyre going to give them a free pass for the next week to try to wipe out Hezbollah. And certainly, as a father, my heart breaks when I see young children and innocent older people killed on both sides of the border. But if Israel needs a week to wipe out Hezbollah, I say we give it to them. Whats wrong with that?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I dont really disagree with that, Joe, but I do think this. Israels not going to wipe out Hezbollah in a week. But Israel has tofrankly, if the war stopped now, Israels lost the war. They will have lost their soldiers. They have a huge international black eye because of the enormous destruction in Lebanon. And beyond that, Hezbollah will say, We fought the Israelis equally, and they were afraid to come in after us...
SCARBOROUGH: So what youre saying, Pat, is we should allow Israel to destroy Hezbollah over the next month or two, right? I mean, we dont want Hezbollah to end this conflict with the upper hand over Israel, do we?
BUCHANAN: But look, Joe, Israel was in there 18 years. You got to realize, Israel walked out of Lebanon with its tail between its legs because the Hezbollah fought them and fought them and fought them, and the Israelis said, It is not worth it to stay in here and trade them blood for blood.
SCARBOROUGH: But things have changed. Things have changed. The Middle East knows if youre in Iran, if youre in Syria, you saw what happened to Saddam Hussein and you understand that while America is bogged down in Iraq right now, if America decides to move on Teheran or Damascus, theres nothing those countries can do to stop us. So isnt that enough to make Hezbollah understand that theyre going to be cut off from Syria or theyre going to be cut off from Teheran if they push too far?
BUCHANAN: Look, I think Hezbollahs going to stand its ground. I think what Israels doing now, with all this artillery and shelling and attacking and bombing, is theyre trying to frighten the population of southern Lebanon to go to the north, to clear it out. But they got to make a decision, Joe. I think if they go inI think they dont want to go in. I think they know what happened when they went in. And I do think this. You cant wipe out Hezbollah in a week. This war, Joe, has created 100 times more recruits for Hezbollah than it has killed.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, come on, Pat. You can say the same thing about when we went into Afghanistan.
BUCHANAN: Ill say it aboutIll say it about IranIraqexcuse me.
SCARBOROUGH: So what do we do, we sit back and worry about what terrorists in training are going think?
BUCHANAN: No. Look...
SCARBOROUGH: We allow Hezbollah to go in and kill Israeli children because they want to launch bombs?
BUCHANAN: No, what I think...
SCARBOROUGH: Because in the end, Pat, this all comes down...
SCARBOROUGH: ... to Teheran trying to distract the worlds attention away from the nuclearand if we have a problem with Hezbollah shooting missiles into Israel, what happens...
BUCHANAN: I think, Joe...
SCARBOROUGH: ... when Teheran, their sponsor, has nuclear missiles that they can shoot at Teheran? I mean, that they can shoot at Tel Aviv?
BUCHANAN: Well, look, Israel has 200 weapons, and Israel would destroy Teheran overnight. Teheran hasnt gotten in a war with anybody in 27 years! Use your head, Joe! We and Israel have been playing their game again and again and again!
SCARBOROUGH: You know what weve done, Peter King? Ill tell you exactly what weve done. We have enabled Teheran and the terrorists that have been running that country since 1979, since Ayatollah Khomeini came in, and the current president was a part of the students that kidnapped Americans for 444 dayswe did nothing. Jimmy Carter did nothing! What did we do? I heard a CIA director, former CIA director, say they took our students, I mean, and they took our diplomats. We tied yellow ribbons around trees. At some point, weve got to stop enabling the Iranians and teach them a lesson, dont we?
REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: Yes, we really do. And I have to disagree with my good friend, Pat Buchanan. You know, theres no answer to what Pat is saying. If Israel doesnt go after Hezbollah now, if Israel does not intend to destroy Hezbollah, all youre doing is putting off the inevitable and youre enhancing Irans stature in the region. I think we have to give Israel a free hand, not to kill civiliansno one wants to kill civiliansbut to do all they can to root out Hezbollah, to destroy Hezbollah. And if they have to put in ground troops, thats a decision for them to make.
And I disagree with Pat as far as in 2000 -- Israel could have stayed longer, if they wanted to. Obviously, it was not really to their advantage. But on the other hand, that was part, I thought, of good faith on Israels part. They disengaged, just like last August they disengaged from Gaza. And instead of, you know, land for peace, its war for peace.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, thats it, Peter King...
KING: ... no choice.
SCARBOROUGH: At what point, if you are an Israeli leader, do you finally just give up on the peace process? Because you give land for peace in southern Lebanon, they use that land to kill your children. You give them Gaza, they use that land to kill your children. At what point do you say, Enough is enough? I really dont care what Kofi Annan and the United Nations thinks. I dont care what Western Europe thinks. Im going to defend my people.
At what point do Israelis finally stop playing this diplomatic game that only gets their own people killed?
KING: Well, I think theyve certainly reached the point where theyre not going to listen to Kofi Annan or Jacques Chirac, thats for sure. And I think that theyre also doing Americas work here because if they can weaken Hezbollah, destroy Hezbollah, that also weakens Iran, it weakens Syria, and it increases our position in the Middle East.
This is essential. If we keep putting this off, if Israel keeps putting it off, its just going to make a greater war two years from now or three years from now. And I know people are concerned about Hezbollah agents and Iranian agents, and we should be concerned about them, here in our own country. But the fact is, that situations going to get worse. And appeasing doesnt work. One thing we should have learned from the 1930s, you cannot appease tyrants and Islamo-tyrants, Islamo-fascists among the worst the world has ever seen.
SCARBOROUGH: And you know, these...
KING: These people have to be stopped.
SCARBOROUGH: They are fascists, and theyre fascists that are doing all they can do to get their hands on nuclear weapons, whichwhichfriends, all you have to do is ask yourself, if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon and if they have the opportunity to put it in New York or Washington or Baltimore or LA or anywhere, will they do it? Of course theyll do it! And I think thats part of what were fighting right now.
Now, Pat, youve got the most talked-about column on this topic, and this is what you have to say about Israeli policy. "That Tel Aviv is maneuvering us to fight wars is understandable. That Americans are ignorant of or complicit in this is deplorable."
Pat, dont you think Americans know exactly what their governments doing? Theyre not ignorant. Theyve decided theyre going to support the democracy in that region instead of Hezbollah.
BUCHANAN: I dont know anybodythere may be somebody here thats strong for Hezbollah. But let me take Woolsey. He thinks we ought to bomb Syria. Mr. Kristol in "The Weekly Standard"we ought to attack Iran now. Do these people understand the Constitution? Peter Kings Congress has not authorized the president to go to war against countries that havent attacked us. I happen to agree with Peter King on this. AllI mean, on the...
SCARBOROUGH: Wait, wait. Countries that havent attacked us? I mean...
BUCHANAN: Oh, for heavens sakes, Joe!
SCARBOROUGH: The Iranians have been attacking us one way or the other since 1979~! Theytheythey fund Hezbollah~, Pat! Hezbollah would not exist without Teheran!
BUCHANAN: What has Hezbollah and Hamas done to the United States of America? This is my point. This is Israels war. I agree with Peter King, the Israelis are going to have to decide whether to go to Lebanon up to those two rivers. And I will say this. I can understand why the Israelis are saying, We go up there, were going to bleed, were going to lose a lot of guys, and then pressures going to come and were going to go out of there, and were going to solve nothing. And I can understand why they are andbut thisJoe, I mean, you folks arent giving any answer to this, other than...
SCARBOROUGH: Ill tell you what...
BUCHANAN: ... excuse meberating Iran...
SCARBOROUGH: Ill tell you what the answer is...
BUCHANAN: ... bomb them, bomb them!
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, we got to go, but the answer is...
BUCHANAN: All right.
SCARBOROUGH: ... since 1979, weve been giving Iran a free pass. That has got to stop. Thanks so much, Pat. Thanks so much, Congressman King. Greatly appreciate it. Well be back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in just a minute.
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