“OVER IN A FLASH”

A NEXIS transcript from Fox News Sunday’s March 16 show. Some hawks do bear some responsibility for being too optimistic about a short war. But they weren’t the only ones:

SNOW: And we’re back with Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol and Juan Williams. Democrats are holding a convention in California, that is the California Democrats. A number of presidential candidates have come there to speak their peaces. And it raises the question of the Democratic Party’s policy toward Iraq. There seem to be a series of them.

First we’re going to play you a couple of clips. One, former President Bill Clinton speaking to an audience earlier this week in New York City. And also Senator John Kerry speaking in California just a couple of days ago. We’ll start with those, and then the panel will talk about them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This war is going to be over in a flash, so we can wait to do that. You can always kill somebody next week. You can’t bring them back next week, so… (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: What I regret is that the United States of America, the strongest military power on the face of this planet, has not had diplomacy that matches it. In fact, it has had some of the weakest diplomacy that we have every seen in the history of the conduct of this nation. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: All right, Bill Kristol, that seems to be a majority opinion among at least California Democrats. But I am interested in your reaction to both quotes.

KRISTOL: Well, Bill Clinton never fails to appall. I mean, the most recent president of the United States, first saying “Believe me, this war is going to be over in a flash.” He doesn’t know that. It’s totally irresponsible to say that. Some of my fellow hawks over the last six, nine months have been saying it’s going to be a cakewalk. I’ve always said we do not know that. And you need to prepare the American people for the possibility that things will go wrong in war. Biological and chemical weapons could be used. This man isn’t just a pundit. This guy is the former president of the United States saying the war is going to be over in a flash. Totally irresponsible. And then he says, “You can always wait to kill somebody next week. You can’t bring them back next week.” So that’s what the war’s about? We are just going to kill people? You know, there are U.S. soldiers sitting there. It’s a serious question in terms of when is militarily the best time to go. And Clinton has this cavalier attitude that, well, it’s going to be over in a flash. We can kill people whenever we want, so let’s just delay. I mean, it’s one thing, as I say, for a candidate to say. It’s one thing for a commentator to say. But for the most recent president of the United States to be so flip and glib when 200,000 American troops are sitting on the verge of war on a wa front is really appalling.

WILLIAMS: There have been moments when Bill Kristol and I have disagreed about things. I don’t know if you remember any of them. But on this one, I’ve just got to say absolutely right on. I mean, how do we know it’s going to be a quick war? I fear also it’s a, you know, possibilities that would be so sad. And we don’t know. There is a great push in this town to say the administration is going to use sort of such a dominating force in order to get it done quickly for political purposes because the president wants the economy to recover in time and the stock market is suffering only because of the possibility, anxiety over war. But we don’t know. And you can’t put that out there in the way that Bill Clinton did as if it’s a fait acompli.

Here’s an open invitation to any reader who can find any quote from anyone in the Bush cabinet or military who said the equivalent of Bill Clinton’s remark.