From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:
FRED BARNES: Just this idea of a Mideast conference, if that is the best thing that this Baker-Hamilton Commission can come up with, they’re a pretty pathetic lot. I mean, that’s like saying, “Oh, there’s a problem there, let’s form a committee.” Come on, that’s ridiculous. And particularly bringing in the Syrians and the Iranians.
If they want a stable Iraq, why do the Syrians allow Jihadists to come across the border, harbor them in Syria and send them across the border? And why is Iran then backing the Mahdi Army, you know, the biggest and probably bloodiest militia in Iraq, they’re backing them.
—On an Increased European Role—
MARA LIASSON: [T]he U.S. wants the European and other NATO countries to pony up more. That’s, I think, been a perennial problem. You and I have covered a lot of summits where the Europeans talk big, they want to be a counterweight to the United States, but as you heard Nick Burns just say, they’re not willing to spend the proportion of their GDP on defense the way we do.
MORT KONDRACKE: The United States spends about 3.8 percent of GDP on defense, the whole rest of NATO spends 1.9 percent. . . . And our friends, the French, you know, have specifically refused to get involved in Afghanistan. They’ve got 20,000 men that they have on standby duty for use someplace, and when they were asked specifically to join up and go help out in Afghanistan, they said, “No, we’re going to hold these back in case they’re needed in Kosovo.” You know, typically French.
BARNES: [T]he Germans, the Italians and the Spanish, even when they come, they have a rule. No combat. They don’t want to fight. So it’s left to the Americans, the Canadians, and the Dutch, actually, are pretty good. And then the Australians, who aren’t even members of NATO are the ones who are actually doing the fighting. And the Canadians have lost 34 soldiers in recent months, so they’ve really done a good job.
Look, the Europeans have been free-riders now for 60 years. It’s going to be hard to get them off the dole, it really is. And it’ll almost be small amounts of money, percentage-wise.