On Tuesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Washington Post columnist George Will and FNC contributor Juan Williams debated the whether or not Democrats were using the designation of al Qaeda and “core al Qaeda” as a means to bolster the appearance of success of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.
Partial transcript as follows:
WILL: I don’t understand the distinction they make incessantly between core al Qaeda and the other al Qaeda. I think Sen. Feinstein’s views would be really interesting in October 2012. We can’t assume all the metastasizing that has occurred since the presidential election, which was run by her party on the premise that al Qaeda is on the run. Now, we’ve re-designated the survivors as core al Qaeda and exempted them from this. But the fact is the premise of the president’s campaign in foreign policy is now shredded.
WILLIAMS: George, let me help you quickly and say that core al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11. There’s a big difference between that group and the group that is as you describe it is metastasizing the spread of the kind of Islamic extreme ideology in the world, especially among populations in poor areas like Yemen and the others and people who are looking for a reason to engage in revolution and take up on this extreme ideology.
WILL: Thank you for helping me with that. Go on and elaborate how we distinguish core from non-core al Qaeda.
WILLIAMS: Well, I just told you. I think it’s the people that attacked us. It’s going back to bin Laden and that organization that was directly responsible for killing Americans.
WILL: Ah, so we’re in good shape.
WILLIAMS: No, I didn’t say that. It’ very clear and I don’t know why some people on the right decide they have to conflate the two. Clearly, we have an obligation to fight terror wherever it rears its head and threatens us. But there is a difference between a threat that’s potential and one that was actual.
BAIER: Well, somebody made those bombs go off in Nigeria. Somebody is training those Americans and Europeans in Syria, and whether they are technically core or not core, they are still a threat.
WILLIAM: That’s what I say — we have an obligation. I think that’s what we’re seeing and especially as we’ve just been describe being the situation in Syria, we have an interest in that fight.
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