Wednesday, December 31, 2008
John Bolton Nails It Again!
Once again, the incomparable John Bolton reveals why the Democrats and some renegade Republicans wanted him out of the United Nations. The following is a mini-transcript from Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes" program. Bolton as usual is spot on, hitting on the very thing that always drives me batty -- the double standard aimed at Israel whenever she defends herself against terrorist thugs.
COLMES: If you overreact, and you say you don't think Israel is, but if it's a disproportionate reaction, Turkey's prime minister says it's a crime against humanity. Sarkozy of France condemned the provocations, but he also said Israel is using a disproportionate use of force. Can you create a bigger problem if the response is disproportionate?
BOLTON: Well, I think this is the customary rhetoric that occurs every time Israel acts in self-defense. Look, the fact is it's not disproportionate use of force to eliminate the threat itself. You're not required only to fire as many rockets into Gaza as Hamas fired into Israel. That's what Israel says it's trying to do, but, as I say, the real judgment will be whether they're effective or not or whether they're seen as reaching farther than they're able to go.
COLMES: What should be the role of the United States? President Bush is on vacation staying in Crawford, he's had his spokespeople out front. He's not personally said anything. Should he be more involved? The impression is he's just leaving it all out for the next administration? Should he be more proactive at this point?
BOLTON: No, I don't think so. In fact, I think the administration made a mistake over the weekend at the United Nations in agreeing to a statement by the Security Council president that called for a cease fire. That can only mean stopping the Israeli military action. That's really what's at issue here, so I think the administration has already given away a lot of important ground.
COLMES: The president in Annapolis last year, about 13 months ago vowed that he would be fully involved, proactive, fully involved in a peace process. This seems not to be the case especially now that he's kind of laying back, seems not engaged here.
BOLTON: Well personally, I thought the launching of the Annapolis process was a mistake when it was started. There was no chance there was going to be real negotiation between Palestinians and Israelis. The Palestinians don't have anybody that can really speak for them. The Palestinian Authority has broken probably into two irreconcilable pieces, so I think the Annapolis process was a mistake from the outset.
RICH LOWRY, GUEST HOST: Hey Ambassador, it's Rich Lowry. Thanks so much for being with us.
Let's go back to this idea of a disproportionate Israeli response because it's a key part of the world reaction to this. Can you elaborate on this a little bit? Because I think there are a couple of key points. One, there's zero moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas. Hamas is a terror group with a maximless goal of exterminating Israel. And as you pointed out in one of your responses to Alan, a strictly proportionate response would mean Israel randomly firing rockets into Israel. That would be absurd — sorry, into Gaza. That would be absurd and immoral in itself.
BOLTON: Yes, well this whole idea of proportionate force is just something that's been dreamed up in U.N. and academic circles. Let me give you another example. Was the United States limited after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to a proportionate response? We sink as many aircraft carriers and battleships as they sank, and we have to stop our use of force at that point? Of course not. We were entitled as a legitimate exercise of the right of self-defense to eliminate the threat, and that's what we did.
LOWRY: And Ambassador, why is it that Israel seems to be the only country in the world that evokes this kind of condemnation when it simply defends itself?
BOLTON: Well I think it's not only Israel, and this to me is one of the really important parts about this debate about the right of self- defense and this argument about the proportionate use of force. Because while the focus is certainly on Israel, Israel in a sense is a surrogate for the United States.
God forbid another attack comes against us, and we have a president who decided to respond to it, we will be criticized for the disproportionate use of force. We weren't criticized for overthrowing the Taliban, although, that was certainly a much larger operation than even the September attacks, but we were criticized for overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
The notion of proportionate force is something that can easily be turned against the United States. So the way this debate turns out over Israel has implications that go well beyond this current clash in Gaza.