Appearing on Morning Joe yesterday, former Carter national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski reacted to the outrage sparked by comments he had made earlier this week to the Daily Beast. Those remarks were widely interpreted as a call on President Obama to shoot down Israeli jets if they were to fly over Iraq en route to attacking Iran’s nuclear-weapons facilities.
Dr. Brzezinski claimed that his remarks had been misinterpreted:
“I simply said that if the Israelis violated our [air] space, there could be an incident — and I said it’s very much to be avoided — that could produce a [perception of] collusion. Because I don’t assume that we would simply let the Israelis use our airspace for an attack for which we would then be blamed by the Iranians.”
Such a sequence of events, he explained, would inevitably lead to “Iranian retaliation” on American targets in the Middle East.
Joe Scarborough’s host on Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski, is Dr. Brzezinski’s daughter. Instead of behaving like a journalist and asking a probing question or two, she jumped swiftly to her father’s defense, saying that his comments had caused “confusion” and had been “mischaracterized.”
If that is true, the conservative blogosphere owes Dr. Brzezinski an apology. So, let’s look at the exchange at the root of this week’s controversy:
DAILY BEAST: How aggressive can Obama be in insisting to the Israelis that a military strike might be in America’s worst interest?
BRZEZINSKI: We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?
DAILY BEAST: What if they fly over anyway? How aggressive can Obama be in insisting to the Israelis that a military strike might be in America’s worst interest?
BRZEZINSKI: Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this, but it could be a Liberty in reverse.
It doesn’t get much clearer or more threatening than that, does it?
Next time Zbigniew Brzezinski appears on Morning Joe, perhaps Joe Scarborough can ask his co-host Mika to do something else while he asks her “dad” some tough questions. Who knows, perhaps doing some actual journalism will boost MSNBC’s horrific ratings.