Sunday, March 11, 2007

Kudos to Ted Koppel

I visited the invaluable Newsbusters site this evening and almost fell out of my chair after reading Noel Sheppard's latest post. Ted Koppel, former host of Nightline, was interviewed by Tim Russert on Meet the Press this morning.

I won't spoil the surprise. Here's what happened next:

Koppel: I made a little note here of something that Ambassador Khalilzad said to you a moment ago. He said, “The region will not be stable until Iraq is stabilized.” It’s the one thing nobody talks about. Everyone is concerned about the United States being in the middle of a civil war inside Iraq. But they forget about the fact that if U.S. troops were to pull out of Iraq, that civil war could become a regional war between Sunnis and Shia. And the region, just in case anyone has forgotten, is the Persian Gulf, where we get most of our oil, and, I’ve talked about this before, natural gas. So, the idea of pulling out of there and letting the region, letting the national civil war expand into a regional civil war, something the United States cannot allow to happen.

Russert: Ted Koppel, you are tonight airing on the Discovery Channel a special called “Our Children’s Children’s War,” the “long war” as you call it repeatedly, that this war on terror is much more than just Iraq, and it’s going to go on for a long time.

Koppel: It could go on, I mean, Gen. Abizaid with whom I spoke talked into terms of generations. And, if you think about two things, that’s not so hard to imagine. Number one, the Cold War after all, lasted 50 years. Uh, we didn’t know it when we began it. We didn’t know it, we didn’t know how long it was going to be when we were in the middle of it. But, it lasted half a century.

If you look back at the elements of the war against terrorism, that war was going on, and has been going on for the past 24 years. We just didn’t connect the dots. 24 years ago, the precursors of Hezbollah blew up the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. That was 1983, 241 Americans killed. In the interim between then and now you had two attacks on the World Trade Center, you had the blowing up of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, you had the attempt to blow up the U.S.S. Cole, you had the bombing of the two U.S. embassies in East Africa. This war’s already been going on for 24 years; we were just a little bit slow to recognize it.


Koppel: I see a lot of wishful thinking going on here in Washington right now. I mean when Congress talks about, first of all, setting these these milestones. And, the irony is if the Iraqis successfully meet the milestones, the implication is we stay. If they fail to meet the milestones we leave. That doesn’t make any sense at all. It ought to be the other way around. If they fail, we stay because they need us. If they succeed, we can start to pull out again.

So, I, I have this feeling that on the one hand, the Democrats are making a great deal of hay out of saying we have to get out of Iraq, and indeed we do at some point or another. But the notion that the war will be over when we pull out of Iraq, and even when we pull out of Afghanistan, you heard what Gen. Abizaid had to say, it’s not going to be over. It’s going to be a different war, but the war continues.


Koppel: The Democrats are going to find themselves in a terribly uncomfortable position when this becomes their war. And believe me, George Bush is going to hold on to it and pass it off to them. This is going to be an issue a year from now, two years from now, three years from now. It’s not going to be that easy to get out.

Well done, Mr. Koppel. Well done.

I find very little to admire in the mainstream media, but you could have knocked me over with a feather when I read the transcript. My congratulations to Ted Koppel and Discovery Channel for speaking truth to "progressives."

No comments: