Then-Senator Obama had harsh words for Gen. Petraeus on the Iraq War in 2007
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 23, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: the president announced General Stanley McChrystal's resignation earlier today. Now the general's resignation comes in the wake of a Rolling Stone article in which comments mostly made by aides were disparaging about a number of administration officials.
Now after meeting with the general at the White House, the president ruled on the commander's fate:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that's necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now pending Senate confirmation, the president announced that General David Petraeus will relieve General McChrystal of his duties in Afghanistan. But the same article that cost McChrystal his job raises questions about whether Petraeus is the right man for it.
Now the piece notes that Petraeus let McChrystal take center stage in Afghanistan out of concern that a defeat there would ruin his, quote, "win" in Iraq. "He's 1-0" a McChrystal aide is now quoted as saying.
So will making Petraeus top dog in Afghanistan solve the administration's national security problems?
Joining me now with analysis of today's events, best-selling author, columnist, the one, the only, Coulter.
Here's my main question in all of this.
ANN COULTER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST & AUTHOR: Yes.
HANNITY: Because I've gone over this article in great specificity, in detail.
HANNITY: All right. I would argue it's unwise to talk to Rolling Stone. Fair — you don't have "Rolling Stone" follow you around for weeks and —
COULTER: I would say it's unwise for anyone to ever talk to Rolling Stone. Yes, you have to be there, my guess is
HANNITY: Well, you spoke to TIME magazine if I recall. So that was pretty dumb, too. But it came out OK.
But here's my point. I think that was unwise. But if you look at the article, tell me what he said that deserved firing?
COULTER: Absolutely right. I think — I'm starting to think from watching the commentary that you and I are the only people who have read that article.
HANNITY: Mark Levin. He and I.
HANNITY: He's been screaming about — he's another one.
COULTER: It's shocking. I ran out all of the possibly the most aggressive things, as you say, for one thing, they aren't said by McChrystal himself. Now, OK, you can still say well, except these people work for him. But even the things said by people who work for him — the most aggressive one.
HANNITY: "Joe Bite Me," Joe Biden. "Joe Bite Me."
COULTER: That was funny. That was a joke. I think a joke. He was always funny.
HANNITY: It was a joke.
COULTER: No, but the most aggressive thing that was said was — and this is secondhand — that the first time McChrystal met the president he thought Obama looked uncomfortable and intimidated by all of the military brass.
HANNITY: Military brass. Yes.
COULTER: As you and I have discussed before, we have the most thin-skinned president America has ever seen. Though I will say — I mean, I do think it's the right decision for the wrong reason because the other parts of the article and I have heard this from troops in Afghanistan — I assume you have, too.
They are chafing and of all the people in the military or actually any place in the entire command I've listened to, I listened to troops on the ground over a general over a president.
COULTER: And they have been chafing at these very restrictive rules on which insurgents they can choose. They need to have —
COULTER: — insurgents absolutely identified to them, by an Afghani before they can treat it like an insurgent.
HANNITY: Here's what's most —
COULTER: Or look for a gun.
HANNITY: You're right.
COULTER: And that is McChrystal's strategy. McChrystal wants to say, as the Rolling Stone guy says, wants to turn the military into, you know, the Peace Corps with guns I think he said.
HANNITY: There actually — the new Obama rules of engagement, which is a great point.
HANNITY: They're actually warning people, a week ahead of time, we are going to inspect your house.
HANNITY: And there's reports that these guys don't have weaponry available at the time.
Here's — if there's one continuing that drives me crazy in all this McChrystal voted for Obama.
COULTER: Yes, he did.
HANNITY: One of the few military people that I know that supported him. All right, number one. Number two, McChrystal was angry. He said we risk failure in Afghanistan if we don't get 40,000 troops. Obama dithered for four months and then only gave him 30,000 troops.
If I was a general, I'd be mad.
COULTER: Right, but none of that again comes from General McChrystal himself. And I still have to go back to this point that I really think this is — this is the problem with having a Democrat president who chooses his foreign policy based on chance from Moveon.org.
The initial decision to move the focus of the war on terrorism for Iraq, a fantastic country, for America's military power, where the military can do what they're trained to do and which has a population that is more than susceptible to regime change. They're highly educated.
To switch it from there to this backwoods country with illiterate peasants living in caves, that is not going good for regime change, it is not good for the United States military, but the whole reason for doing that was because Moveon.org enjoyed the chance that — you know, we needed to fight the war of necessity, not the war of convenience, and why aren't we going after Usama? Why aren't we in Afghanistan?
HANNITY: Here's the shocker. We have a tape. Coulter, you have not seen this tape, I was telling you about it before the interview. General Petraeus is going to take over. General Petraeus was successful in Iraq. Barack Obama opposed it.
HANNITY: Joe Biden attacked it. OK? Here is Barack Obama attacking General Petraeus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA, SEPT. 11 2007: We have now set the bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation to the point where now we just have the levels of intolerable violence that existed in June of 2006 is considered success. And it's not.
We are now confronted with the question, how do we clean up the mess and make the best out of a situation in which there are no good options? There are bad options and worse options.
I think the surge had some impact as I suggested. I would hope it would, given the sacrifices and loss that have been made. I would argue that the impact has been relatively modest, given the investment.
How long will this take? And at what point do we say enough?
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: He actually used the term at one point in this, disastrous. He said no good option. This is after the surge has been successful.
HANNITY: Bad or worse in terms of the options available. And at best, moderate impact.
HANNITY: That's what he's saying to the general who was successful.
COULTER: Right. Right. The general — I feel sorry for General Petraeus. I mean he's doing — God bless him, he's doing this for his country. But I sort of feel like I'm watching Admiral James Stockdale sign on with Perot in the 1992 race.
HANNITY: Who am I? Why am I here?
COULTER: Petraeus is this — huge American hero who did wage a magnificently successful war in Iraq. And now he's taking a losing hand. Afghanistan is a difficult war to win.
And by the way, one of the great stories in this Rolling Stone article is from an American troop who was killed and the commanders in charge in that area kept asking General McChrystal, we want to knock down these empty buildings because this is where the Taliban is hiding.
COULTER: McChrystal wouldn't let them and that's where the IED came from that killed the troops a few days after McChrystal was there. So — I mean, I'm not sorry to see McChrystal going. But man, this president is thin-skinned.
HANNITY: Joe Biden called Petraeus, dead, flat wrong. That's a direct quote on this whole — so here's my question. This is an important question. So now they put in charge a guy that they've shown no confidence in before.
HANNITY: And they fire a guy — this is what's driving me crazy. This president has never made a decision. He's voted present his entire life. We've seen his lack of action in the Gulf.
So the one time he's going to take a stand is against a hero, general who is successful, who he did not give the troops that he requested or we risk failure? I don't understand this for the life of me. And I think General McChrystal, frankly, ought to come out and tell the whole story.
COULTER: I absolutely knew that he was going to fire or accept the resignation of General McChrystal because as we have said this is the most thin-skinned president and it was interesting all the commentary last night including the left-wing loons on MSNBC to —
HANNITY: Do you watch them?
COULTER: — the very smart — oh, it's hilarious — to very smart Charles Krauthammer and we're on Fox News, we're all saying, OK, he had to call him in, he has to have the resignation handed to him. He's got to refuse to accept it because he needs McChrystal there.
COULTER: And I knew he would accept the resignation because this is the most thin-skinned man who's walked the face of the earth. And by the way, everything else is blowing up.
That's why he's got to put Petraeus in charge. He's got BP, he's got the unemployment numbers, he's national health care, which the country is enraged over, and you're going to lose the war in Afghanistan?
HANNITY: And we have 132 days until midterm elections.
Coulter, always so shy with your views.
HANNITY: We really appreciate your being here.
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