Kristol: Hersh Scaring People Away From ‘Limited and Credible Military Option Against Iran’

This morning on Fox News, Bill Kristol slammed Seymour Hersh’s article about plans being developed by the Bush administration to bomb Iran, possibly with nuclear weapons. Kristol called the article “bad reporting” that was intended to “scare people away from a much more limited and credible military option against Iran.” Kristol also suggested that the only alternative to a nuclear Iran was “military strikes.” Watch it:


KRISTOL: I think 60 percent of Americans are right. It’s not the UN’s fault Iran wants nuclear weapons. The current regime in Iran wants nuclear weapons. It’s not going to be deterred by little slaps on the wrist by the IAEA or probably even by sanctions by the UN Security Council which we probably will not get because of Russia and China. And therefore we’ll go and try to have sanctions with our allies against Iran. I’m not sure that will work either. I think we may, the only alternative may be a nuclear Iran or military strikes to take out their nuclear facilities

HOST: There’s a report you probably saw that Iran might try to launch terror attacks against US civilians on American soil if we were to take any military action. With that in mind, take a look at this new Fox News/Opinions Dynamics poll. It’s really quite stunning. If Iran backs terrorist attacks right here in the US, only 32 percent think we should respond with large aggressive military action. 30 percent think we should negotiate. What do you make of that after two wars, are Americans simply war weary and does that limit our options?


KRISTOL: No, Greg. I mean a third of Americans who are against, certainly, the war in Iraq, even before it began and probably are again — think war doesn’t solve problems and they’re going to be pretty consistently against military action. What’s striking there is that two-thirds of Americans basically say military action may be necessary. We should not be deterred by the threat of terrorist attacks. I mean, one thing people haven’t thought about is that if we have limited military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, they could threaten terrorist attacks, but we would still have leverage on them. It’s not as if we, it’s not their turn. This isn’t a checkers game, you know. We would still have leverage in terms of really going after the regime itself. And I don’t know that it would be that easy for them to simply unleash terror against us to the degree they’re not already unleashing it against us.

HOST: Bill, Iran has reinforced its key nuclear sites at Natanz and Isfahan. And American military planners reportedly have advised that it will require nuclear penetrator munitions to take out some sites. Would that be crossing the line?

KRISTOL: Everyone would prefer not to do that, and I don’t think we’re going to do that. The military people I’ve talked to don’t believe that’s necessary. We don’t need to take out every scintilla of an Iranian nuclear plant. We need to disrupt their nuclear plans, set them back several years, buy some time for both diplomacy and possibly peaceful regime change in Iran. So no, I do not believe we will use nuclear weapons. I think that’s based on bad reporting by Seymour Hersh and the New Yorker, who wants to scare people away from a much more limited and credible military option against Iran.

HOST: Yeah. Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard. Bill, thanks so much.