Matthews On Imus: Pencil Neck Foreign Policy

Imus-C-Matthews.jpg Chris took a hard stance against Bush's foreign policy...

Matthews has been against the Iraq War all along, but today he wailed on Bush's foreign policy--or should I say, his lack of one--that has made things much worse for the US and the world. Matthews singled out the PNAC group that has instilled our completely failed policy.

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MATTHEWS: I think we've completely lost the ability to be a power broker. Look at Condi Rice, it's a joke. He trusted the pencil necks--it's ideology with this crowd.

MATTHEWS: It's all ideology with this crowd. All they care about is ideology. The President bought it, hook, line and sinker. He had-- but you know, it was just put into his head, some time after 9-11, and his philosophy is what he has given it. He didn't have to have any philosophy when he went in, and they handed it to him. These guys-- the guys--you know, the guys that you used to make fun of at school--pencil necks, the intellectuals, the guys you never trusted. All of the sudden, he trusts the intellectuals, the guys you knew at school, yeah, they're a bunch of pencil necks and now he buys--completely--their ideology, because he didn't have one of his own coming in. That was his problem. I don't know what Bush stood for, except I'm a cool guy and Gore isn't, and that was our problem. We elected the guy because he was a little cooler than the other guy, and, I hope the next election, it isn't a problem of who goes to bed with their wife at 9:30 at night, or who knows how to tell a joke on a stage. But it's who had the sense of strength that comes from having read books, most of their life, tried to understand history

transcript...

From MSNBC: a partial, but not all the " Tweety Gone Wild, stuff yet.

IMUS: Well what do you make of Lebanon? Let's start with Israel and Lebanon and the 'Jew Killing Thugs.'


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CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Well, it's not new, is it? It's not news. And this is gonna go on probably the rest of our lives. And Israel will fight for its borders, and it will be challenged by a billion Islamic people, and some people will be in the front sometimes, and other people will be like a bike race. Some people are out front sometimes, and then they fade back. And right now it's the Hezbollah whatever, and it's those people are winning just by fighting. As long as you're fighting Israel, win or lose, you're a hero in the Arab world. So even in the Sunni parts of the Arab world, the young people in the streets are rooting for these guys because they're the spearhead of the Arab nation against Israel. They can't lose. Sadat lost '73. He was a hero for losing. As long as you're fighting Israel in the Arab world, you're a winner in the Arab world. And that's Israel's problem. You can beat these guys. Beat them. Beat them. Beat them. And they still come back because that's what they want. They want the fight itself. And that's the problem with Israel in its future, its past, its present.

IMUS: And Charles and I were talking last night. You know, it's not an original observation, not intended to be, but this is biblical.

MATTHEWS: Yeah, it's fighting over land. Fighting over rocks. 'This happened here.' This is in Jerusalem. 'This is our capital.' 'No, it's your capital.' 'This happened. 'Mohammed was ascended into heaven from here.' Note, this was the site of the first temple but they're the same spot. They're fighting over history. They're fighting, you know, 2,000-year-old wars. In the case of the Arab world, they're divided over a 1,000-year over fight over the heredity or whatever of Mohammed and who is the really has the divine right and all that stuff. And sounds to me there is nothing in that part of the world. That's what I worry about. Every time we get involved, we're just building up notches on their gun to come after us. And look, all I know is that if we're supposedly helping Israel out, but what we did in the last four years is we created..we took the number one threat in the world. Back in the old days, the number one threat was Egypt, and Jimmy Carter cut that deal. Then their number one threat strategically is Iran. Now look where Iran was when we came in, when this administration came in. Iran was a problem. But it wasn't a country that dominated its neighbor, Iraq. Hezbollah has now been unleashed. So you've got Israel fighting this three-headed dragon of Beirut; and they've got Baghdad--the guy talking already like one of them. And you've got, of course, Ahmadinejad in Tehran. So Israel's now facing a much enlarged, more dangerous enemy than it faced back in 2001. So you've got to wonder if the bottom of line of our foreign policy hasn't been to enlarge the threat to Israel dramatically. I mean, that makes sense to me. I don't know why we've done it, but we've done it."

[snip]

IMUS: "I had a conversation with Andrea Mitchell yesterday, from there, she had just landed in Beirut with Secretary Rice, they were going somewhere--they were going wherever they're today, at the West Bank. I said, "Why don't you go over to Syria and talk to that clown?" and you're right--they, you know..."

MATTHEWS: "It's all ideology with this crowd. All they care about is ideology. The President bought it, hook, line and sinker. He had-- but you know, it was just put into his head, sometime after 9-11, and his philosophy is what he has given it. He didn't have to have any philosophy when he went in, and they handed it to him. These guys-- the guys--you know, the guys that you used to make fun of at school, pencil necks, the intellectuals, the guys you never trusted. All of the sudden he trusts the intellectuals, the guys you knew at school, yeah, they're a bunch of pencil necks and now he buys completely, their ideology, because he didn't have one of his own coming in. That was his problem. I don't know what Bush stood for, except I'm a cool guy and Gore isn't, and that was our problem. We elected the guy because he was a little cooler than the other guy, and, I hope the next election, it isn't a problem of who goes to bed with their wife at 9:30 at night, or who knows how to tell a joke on a stage. But it's who had the sense of strength that comes from having read books, most of their life, tried to understand history. Every mistake we're making in the Middle East right now, was made years and years ago by the British, by the French, but the mistakes they made in Vietnam were made by the French before. In Algeria the French made all the mistakes we're making now. If you engage in an invasion you will face resistance from the local people based upon religion, and that, and nationalism. You will then have to put down that insurgency, and you're going to have to use cruelty and torture to get information, because it's the only way to get intel in a counter insurgency. Every single thing that's happened to Iraq was predicted by history. It's a standard pattern. Ten, twenty years from now, when kids are reading this in high school--They are going to say, 'Why were the Americans so dumb?' They committed the same mistakes that all the Europeans had done before. And it's like these guys, everything is a surprise. The insurgency was a surprise. The no WMD was a surprise. Everything that happens, now he's out there now, taking the Arabs side against this, that's a surprise. Some of these guys are anti-Semitic. That's a surprise? Everything is known, and the big thing about this crowd that came in around Bush's.. they must have known it, but they didn't want to know it, and Bush didn't have the academic background to challenge them. And I don't know what this guy's-- The Vice President is. The Vice President is, you notice how he hides during difficult times. He's in his bunker. He's in his undisclosed location. Where's Cheney in all this? He just faces every----"

Imus: "Did you plan on taking a breath, at any point?"

Chris Matthews, MSNBC: "Huh?"

Imus: "Did you plan on taking a breath, at any point?"

Chris Matthews, MSNBC: "No, I was trying to complete the thought--" (Imus interrupts)

Imus: "Well no, and, I mean, you had nine thoughts."

Chris Matthews, MSNBC: "--and I think we had a-- I think if we had longer confrontations instead of back and forth in stupid American politics driving this thing we'd be better off."

NEWS QUOTE OF THE DAY #2

Imus speaks with Chris Matthews, host of NBC's The Chris Matthews Show and MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, about the roots of the conflict in the Middle East.

Imus: "Well what do you make of Lebanon? Let's start with Israel and Lebanon and the 'Jew Killing Thugs.'"

Chris Matthews, MSNBC: "Well, it's not new, is it? It's not news. And this is gonna go on probably the rest of our lives. And Israel will fight for its borders, and it will be challenged by a billion Islamic people, and some people will be in the front sometimes, and other people will be like a bike race. Some people are out front sometimes, and then they fade back. And right now it's the Hezbollah whatever, and it's those people are winning just by fighting. As long as you're fighting Israel, win or lose, you're a hero in the Arab world. So even in the Sunni parts of the Arab world, the young people in the streets are rooting for these guys because they're the spearhead of the Arab nation against Israel. They can't lose. Sadat lost '73. He was a hero for losing. As long as you're fighting Israel in the Arab world, you're a winner in the Arab world. And that's Israel's problem. You can beat these guys. Beat them. Beat them. Beat them. And they still come back because that's what they want. They want the fight itself. And that's the problem with Israel in its future, it's past, its present."

Imus: "And Charles and I were talking last night. You know, it's not an original observation, not intended to be, but this is biblical."

Chris Matthews, MSNBC: "Yeah, it's fighting over land. Fighting over rocks. This happened here. This is in Jerusalem. This is our capital. No, it's your capital. This happened. Mohammed was ascended into heaven from here. Note, this was the site of the first temple but they're the same spot. They're fighting over history. They're fighting you know, 2,000-year-old wars. In the case of the Arab world, they're divided over a 1,000-year over fight over the heredity or whatever of Mohammed and who is the really has the divine right and all that stuff. And sounds to me there is nothing in that part of the world. That's what I worry about. Every time we get involved we're just building up notches on their gun to come after us. And look, all I know is that if we're supposedly helping Israel out, but what we did in the last four years is we created--We took the number one threat in the world. Back in the old days the number one threat was Egypt, and Jimmy Carter cut that deal. Then their number one threat strategically is Iran. Now look where Iran was when we came in when this administration came in. Iran was a problem. But it wasn't a country that dominated its neighbor Iraq. Hezbollah, has now been unleashed, so you've got Israel fighting this three-headed dragon of Beirut. And they've got Baghdad. The guy talking already like one of them. And you've got, of course, Ahmadinejad in Tehran. So Israel's now facing a much enlarged, more dangerous enemy then it faced back in 2001. So you've got to wonder if the bottom of line of our foreign policy hasn't been to enlarge the threat to Israel dramatically. I mean that makes sense to me. I don't know why we've done it, but we've done it."

I believe Bob Somerby will have a lot to say about Al because Matthews was one of the pundits that portrayed Gore as "not cool." Chris also thought anyone who didn't like Bush was a whack- job. I guess he can join the club now.

(h/t Rolf)

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