Friday Night Fights II: Laura Ingraham Takes on Juan Williams
In our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” segment, an amazing barnburner occurred July 21 that will remind folks of Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd's old "Point/Counterpoint" skit on “Saturday Night Live” with the only thing missing being the famous line “Jane you ignorant slut.”
On the left was Fox News’s Juan Williams. On the right was conservative radio host Laura Ingraham filling in for Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor” (very enthusiastic hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left and Ms. Underestimated with absolutely must-see video to follow!).
From the beginning, this fight perfectly exemplified the divergence in opinion concerning the most recent flare up in the Middle East. Juan enunciated the liberal view that Israel is largely to blame for the rise in hostilities, and that America needs to put pressure on it to force an expedient ceasefire even if it goes counter to Israel’s ongoing security. Here’s a perfect example of Juan’s solution to the current problem: “Immediately begin diplomatic efforts. Start talking...Start talking to the Arab states about them getting involved in Lebanon and having them put the blanket on Hezbollah.” Truly amazing, Juan.
By contrast, Ingraham perfectly depicted the conservative position that Israel has been admirably participating in the peace process in recent years, but that its efforts have been rewarded with continued acts of aggression against her:
When Israel pulled back from Gaza, when Israel pulled out of Lebanon with the promise that Hezbollah would disband and disarm...So Israel left. And then what did Israel get for that? It got rocket attacks and soldiers being kidnapped and continued presence of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, contrary to what the U.N. said in its own resolution. The diplomatic efforts have been total failures in this regard to stop this terrorist activity.
What follows is a full transcript of this encounter. However, to truly appreciate this fabulous battle between left and right, one must see the video.
INGRAHAM: And in the "impact" segment tonight, under pressure to act quickly. The Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that she's heading to the Mid East this weekend to offer up a plan to end clashes between Israel and Hezbollah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: A cease-fire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo, allowing terrorists to launch attacks at the time and terms of their choosing, and to threaten innocent people, Arab and Israeli, throughout the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Secretary Rice is also standing by her decision to talk -- not to talk to Syria or Hezbollah.
And with us now is Juan Williams, FOX News political analyst. Hey, Juan.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Nice to be with you, Laura.
INGRAHAM: Now let me guess, is this too little, too late from Condoleezza Rice? Is this what you're saying?
WILLIAMS: I think it's too little. And I think it's evidence of passivity. I mean, it's just weak. You know, people are throwing bombs over there. People are dying.
WILLIAMS: I mean, the pictures are just sadness. Lebanon is being torn to shreds.
WILLIAMS: And the U.S. somehow...
INGRAHAM: Why is it being torn to shreds?
WILLIAMS: It's being torn to shreds because of Israeli bombs at this moment and because the terrorists, Hezbollah, started this.
INGRAHAM: So wait a second...
WILLIAMS: But why is it that...
INGRAHAM: ...are you blaming Israel for this?
INGRAHAM: This whole situation in the Middle East? I don't think even the Arab League is doing that.
WILLIAMS: I'm not blaming them. I don't know why you would say that.
What I am saying is that...
WILLIAMS: ...the United States, as the world's superpower, has a responsibility here not to simply stand by, you know, as if it's some superpower that's distracted, maybe preoccupied. Instead, get involved and start saving lives.
INGRAHAM: Here's my question to you. If Hezbollah's strength is seriously degraded, is that good for America and our security interests or bad for America and our security interests?
WILLIAMS: It's terrific for American security interests.
INGRAHAM: So why on earth, Juan, would we tell Israel to stop, cease- fire? Because a cease-fire applies to home. It really applies to Israel. It doesn't apply to Hezbollah. They're not listening to anything.
WILLIAMS: What is going on in your head? Where are you? Have you noticed...
WILLIAMS: ...how many people are dying, both on the Israeli and Lebanese side?
INGRAHAM: War is hell, Juan. War is hell.
WILLIAMS: War is hell. Well, let me just tell you something. If it's your family, if it's someone you cared about -- if you were...
INGRAHAM: Israel is unified behind their response.
WILLIAMS: No, let me just tell you something.
INGRAHAM: Have you seen what the Israeli people are saying?
WILLIAMS: I don't care who it is.
INGRAHAM: They've never been as united as they've been now since the Yom Kippur War.
WILLIAMS: Laura, you are looking...
INGRAHAM: How behind...
WILLIAMS: ...oh, so in other words, the only deaths that matter are Israeli deaths?
WILLIAMS: Oh, I thought that's what you were saying...
INGRAHAM: But Juan...
WILLIAMS: Well, let me just tell you something.
INGRAHAM: When Hezbollah uses civilian homes and basements to store missiles, there's a problem.
WILLIAMS: And here -- and that...
INGRAHAM: Unfortunately, civilians are going to be hurt.
WILLIAMS: And that is why...
INGRAHAM: But Israel is actually warning the people.
WILLIAMS: Hang on a second. You know what? That's exactly why this strategy is so terribly flawed. You can bomb and bomb and bomb, and all you're doing is...
INGRAHAM: They're telling them they're going to go in.
WILLIAMS: ...antagonizing people in Lebanon. In fact, driving them more -- arguably, more into the arms...
WILLIAMS: ...of the extremists, the Hezbollah.
INGRAHAM: Let me just...
WILLIAMS: So what you need is a situation...
WILLIAMS: ...where the United States would act, use its power, use its leverage...
INGRAHAM: To what?
WILLIAMS: Not say hey...
INGRAHAM: New plans.
WILLIAMS: ...we are in the hands of the Israelis 100 percent.
INGRAHAM: Gimme it, gimme it. Not a plan. Juan Williams advising President Bush, go.
WILLIAMS: Immediately begin diplomatic efforts. Start talking...
INGRAHAM: What does that mean? That's a ...
WILLIAMS: Start talking to the Arab states about them getting involved in Lebanon and having them put the blanket on Hezbollah.
INGRAHAM: It's called the U.N. temporary peacekeeping force that's been there and done nothing.
WILLIAMS: Well, there have been...
INGRAHAM: And was the U.N. a savior here? Was the U.N...?
WILLIAMS: No, the U.N. hasn't been able to do it. The Lebanese army's too weak to do it.
INGRAHAM: So Egypt is going to do it for us?
WILLIAMS: No, well, you can have a group...
INGRAHAM: Israel is the only country that can clean this out, Juan.
INGRAHAM: Who else is going to clean out Hezbollah?
WILLIAMS: You know what Israel can do?
WILLIAMS: Israel can do exactly what you're seeing being done.
WILLIAMS: Bomb, bomb, bomb. And it's not going to get rid of Hezbollah. It's just going to, in fact, create more terrorists...
WILLIAMS: ...and possibly even reverberate here in this country by creating more terrorists who would come to roost here in the U.S.
INGRAHAM: What did -- let me just ask you. Let's take it down a notch.
When Israel pulled back from Gaza, when Israel pulled out of Lebanon with the promise that Hezbollah would disband and disarm...
WILLIAMS: ...U.N. Resolution 1559...
INGRAHAM: ...that was the deal there. That was the deal.
WILLIAMS: The deal was...
INGRAHAM: Let me finish. So Israel left. And then what did Israel get for that? It got rocket attacks and soldiers being kidnapped and continued presence of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, contrary to what the U.N. said in its own resolution.
The diplomatic efforts have been total failures in this regard to stop this terrorist activity. Has it not?
WILLIAMS: The diplomatic efforts have not got us the peace that we want. That much I can agree with you on.
INGRAHAM: Right, so how would these be different?
WILLIAMS: So what we need now -- and we had an absolutely corrupt partner when it was Yasser Arafat in terms of peace negotiations.
What we need now is an aggressive, strong U.S. policy that says we're going to going in there and we can use other Arab countries. We can get Syria under control, instead of saying we're just going to stand by and allow so many people to be slaughtered and Lebanon to be destroyed.
INGRAHAM: Well, Israel's not slaughtering people. They're warning people to get out of the civilian Lebanese neighborhoods with phone calls, with leaflets. And they're doing that.
WILLIAMS: They are fighting a guerilla war.
INGRAHAM: They have to.
WILLIAMS: And the terrorists are hiding...
INGRAHAM: They're existence is threatened. We got to get out. Juan, thank you.