This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 1, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We have been waiting for months for tonight's announcement, three months, to be exact, that's three months of dithering, three months of waiting for the leader of the free world to tell us how he plans to defend our country in a fight that he once called the good war. Three months. Now, it took less time for the Allied forces to land at Normandy, fight their way across France and liberate Paris. And could you imagine FDR telling Eisenhower that he's only going to get three quarters of the forces that he asked for?
Now, to say that the president's announcement leaves a lot to be desired is a dramatic understatement. Just ask General McChrystal. But so, too, does his performance. Now, we already know that the president likes to use the troops for photo ops.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA, NOV. 19: To all the airmen and soldiers behind me, you guys make a pretty good photo op.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: But to go to West Point after making the nation wait for such a long time to announce what sounds like a half-baked strategy punctuated with a promise of withdrawal — this entire process has been so politicized by the administration not wanting to upset the left-wing fringe of its own party, while at the same time trying not to look completely feckless when it comes to national security, that all we're left with are more hollow proclamations, more Gitmo-esque deadlines.
Let's face it, you know, it's the president — he reads into the teleprompter — If I read this way, I will sound so much more decisive.
Joining me tonight with reaction to the long-awaited announcement is Arizona Senator John McCain. All right, Senator — welcome, by the way, Senator, to the program. Thanks for being with us. Glad you could get here.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ: Thank you, Sean. I'm glad to be there. But by the way, I — as I recall, Emperor Hirohito never surrendered to General MacArthur, at least not on the Missouri. It was Japanese representatives.
HANNITY: I — I — your history is correct, sir. I've read your statement. You said the president made the right decision. It's the right decision to only give three quarters of General McChrystal's request? That's the right decision?
MCCAIN: Well, General McChrystal and General Petraeus both say that that is sufficient resources to get the job done. There is going to be — he's allowed some additional troops to that, but also, they are counting on commitments from our NATO allies. I would have gone for the entire 40,000, but I also have to rely on the judgment of General Petraeus and General McChrystal.
But I have serious doubts — and I believe we should support this policy. I really do. But I also have grave concerns about this date for withdrawal and contradicted by conditions on the ground.
• Great American Blog: Sound off on Obama's speech!
HANNITY: All right, the president said, We did not ask for this fight. This is the administration that wouldn't use the term "war on terror, that these are man-caused disasters. Is this almost a reversal of policy? Are they now acknowledging America has a war on terror that we're engaged in? Do you see a change in policy tonight?
MCCAIN: I think the president, who campaigned that this was good war and a necessary war tonight articulated, after extended and unnecessary delay, articulated a policy that I think we should support. And I — again, I have grave concerns about this business of a date certain, yet conditions on the ground, and I'm going to try to get that resolved in hearings tomorrow before the Armed Services Committee by Secretary Gates and the secretary of state.
HANNITY: All right...
MCCAIN: But I believe that this policy should be supported. We can succeed if we base our conditions for withdrawal on when we win.
HANNITY: Well, when the president says, as we were just talking about, after 18 months, our troops will begin to come home, what is the danger? What does that say to our allies? What does that say to our enemies?
MCCAIN: Well, the danger is that it's hard to get the loyal support of the people who have to live in the neighborhood after you leave. They'll hedge their bets, whether it be governments or people in the region. Also, the threat is that the Taliban and other Al Qaeda just stay back in the weeds until we leave. That is the danger that's always been associated with setting arbitrary dates.
But the president also said it would be dictated by conditions on the ground. That's — those are contradictory statements. We have to get them resolved. But I believe we have sufficient troops. I trust General McChrystal to carry out the counterinsurgency strategy, and I am — if I'm concerned about anything, it's the civil side, including deep divisions within our embassy in Kabul.
HANNITY: I listened to the president. He says we'll have to take away tools of mass destruction. He went on to say, you know, again that he envisions a world without nuclear weapons, pretty much. It seems rather naive to me. I mean, does that mean he's going to take away Pakistan's nukes? How does he stop Iran, which this very week has moved forward with the enrichment at eight separate facilities? It sounds like there's something missing in his world view. Do you have the same thought?
MCCAIN: Well, I've been deeply concerned about our policy towards Iran. They have not unclenched their fists. I still remain astounded at the criticism that came down on me when I spoke up for the people who were dying in the streets of Teheran, and the administration said, Well, we don't want to interfere. We have to have a tough regime of sanctions, and we have to emphasize human rights for the people of Iran.
The only way Iran is going to change their path is when the people are allowed to exercise their God-given rights, and we ought to make sure that they do in every way short of military conflict.
HANNITY: All right, the president spent a lot of time traveling the globe. He talked tonight about using diplomacy. He spent this entire year renewing our alliances, forging new partnerships, forged a new beginning between America and the Muslim world that recognizes mutual interests in breaking the cycle of conflict. And I was thinking to myself, and maybe you have an answer — what has the president gotten for all of his apologies and all of his diplomatic efforts? I don't see any results. Do you?
MCCAIN: I not only don't see any results, I see that — it's an old adage, about first you have to gain respect and then affection. And we are losing the respect of our adversaries and people who don't behave like we do. I don't think the Iranians have shown us respect. I don't think Hugo Chavez had shown us respect. I think that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is probably in a worse position than it's been in a long, long time due to bungling there. And I think that China now treats us with some disdain, particularly when we don't go there and insist on human rights for people in China and all over the world. And previous presidents from — from — even Bill Clinton spoke up for human rights and did not allow his remarks to be censored.
HANNITY: Well, it's interesting because he did say that America will speak out on behalf of human rights and tend to the light of liberty, but when we had an election in Iran and it was being stolen and people were risking their lives, this president was pretty much silent. When he recently went to China, he had an opportunity prior to that trip to meet with the Dalai Lama, and he didn't do that, nor did he challenge the Chinese on their abysmal human rights record. So is this just another one of those, you know, let me read from the teleprompter speeches, say all sorts of things and hope people, you know, believe my words but not my actions?
MCCAIN: Well, I know that the demonstrators in the streets in Iran's cities are saying, Obama, Obama, are you with us, or are you with them? We need to put meaningful sanctions on them, and we also need to help them free up the Internet, the radio Farsi, the whole — there's a range of things we can do to try to help the people, again, not with military action, attain the rights that all of us are given by our creator.
HANNITY: All right, all in all, as you look at the president's speech tonight — and he gives only three quarters of what the general wants, talks about a timetable for withdrawal — all in all, how would you grade this policy after three-and-a-half months of dithering, as Vice President Cheney said?
MCCAIN: The delay was unnecessary, but the fact is that this policy is one that General McChrystal, Secretary Gates and General Petraeus believe will succeed, and that is a counterinsurgency strategy that's properly resourced. There's other areas that have to be done, but I support this policy. I want to see some kind of reconciliation of the contradiction, but the fact is, I believe it can succeed. I have great faith in our military commanders. We have also to address the other parts of the equation, the civil side, as well.
HANNITY: It seems like he's putting his foot in the water, just feeling the warmth. Doesn't seem like he's willing to take the plunge, like President Bush and — with that full commitment. And I've got to wonder what message that sends to our enemies. But Senator, as always, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
MCCAIN: Thanks, Sean.
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