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Hannity

EXCLUSIVE: Former CENTCOM Commader Gen. Tommy Franks on Petraeus Testimony

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 12, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Now all week long we have been hearing about General Petraeus' report, but tonight for the first time we have the assessment of the general who was there before anyone else. Joining us now in a "Hannity & Colmes" exclusive is the former commander of CENTCOM, General Tommy Franks is with us.

General, always good to see you, my friend. Welcome back to the program.

GEN. TOMMY FRANKS, FMR. CENTCOM CMDR.: Great to be with you, Sean, thanks.

HANNITY: Let me first just get your general thoughts about what General Petraeus said this week.

FRANKS: I think you saw the report not only of Dave Petraeus but also of the ambassador, Ryan Crocker, absolute professional, an absolute patriot in every respect. And I think they provided the American people the truth as they know it.

HANNITY: You know, General, I am angry this week and words cannot express my anger. The MoveOn.org ad, "General Betray Us." Harry Reid, who, by the way, once had complementary things to say about him, he once said that he was a great man, said this week, "I do not believe him."

Russ Feingold: "Democrats are not going to be fooled by General Petraeus' claim of real progress. Rahm Emanuel: "We don't need a report that wins the Noble Prize for creative statistics or the Pulitzer for fiction."

"Petraeus and Bush are carefully manipulating these statistics," said Dick Durbin. When you hear those things, do you get as angry as I? I see a hero being slandered — an American war hero being slandered.

FRANKS: Well, I certainly say the same thing, Sean. I see a fellow who has given his life in service of the country. And I will tell you that while MoveOn.org did not have anything to say about Ryan Crocker, you are talking about another professional there. You are talking about a fellow who knows about as much as the Middle East as anybody we have in the country.

HANNITY: And do they ever think about the troops that he is leading in harm's way every day, the fact that he is in harm's way every day, what our enemies think about what is being said about him by prominent Democrats? I want to play for you more particularly here Hillary Clinton. She would like to be the next commander in chief. She is clearly reaching out for the MoveOn.org money and vote.

And here is what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a policy that you have been ordered to implement by the president. And you have been made the de facto spokesman for what many of us believe to be a failed policy. Despite what I view as your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: General, this is what I hear Senator Clinton saying. You are a propagandist. In spite of you telling us that you are having success, you are a failure, and that you are also a liar. Is that what you hear?

FRANKS: Well, I heard the clip just as you played it, Sean.

HANNITY: Suspension of disbelief. A four-star general.

FRANKS: Well, let me tell you something, Sean, that you do not need to suspend any disbelief for. You know, this surge was announced eight months ago, it was completed about three months ago. During the period of time that is has been enforced, I think 45 percent fewer Iraqis have lost their lives across the country.

I think in Baghdad, 80 percent fewer have lost their lives than was the case before. It is pretty hard to cook those books. I mean, the facts are the facts, Sean.

HANNITY: General, we even had Chuck Schumer go as far to say the surge was a success in spite of the troops being put there. He gave the credit to the warlords, of all people. But I am just looking at this has now become mainstream of the Democratic Party today.

You know, John Kerry said our troops were terrorizing women and children in Iraq in the dark of night. Barack Obama said that we are air raiding villages and bombing civilians. John Murtha said we are killing civilians in cold blood. Dick Durbin compared our troops to Nazis. John Kerry — you know, on and on and on.

And I am thinking — I've got to tell you something, Colonel — General, I am a fan of yours. I am a fan of the military. I love — I respect the hard work and the fact that these guys put their lives on the line for us and our liberties and they are doing what their country asks them to do.

FRANKS: Yes, I do too.

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKS: Let me tell you a little story, over the last 90 days I have been in 31 states riding my motorcycle, 31 of the lower 48 and I have had a chance…

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKS: …to talk to America. Yes, in fact, it is a Harley. And I can tell you that Americans, believe it or not, are absolutely sick and tired of this political cannibalism that you and I have been talking around. The fact is that we have young men and women who wear the uniform in the service of our country, they're doing everything they can in Iraq in order to bring a just condition over there that is not only in the best interest of the Iraqis, it is in the best interests of the United States...

(CROSSTALK)

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, General, it's Alan Colmes. Welcome back to our show. No one is questioning the…

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Nice to see you again, sir. Lee Hamilton of the 9/11 Commission points out that the U.S. military could do a great job. Of course, they can clear an area. The question is, can those areas be sustained? Can you ever sustain peace? And you can't have that without political reconciliation.

By every category and by every account, whether it was General Petraeus' or Crocker's, or the Jones report, or the GAO report, there is no political reconciliation. So regardless of how well the military did, without political reconciliation, the surge cannot work long-term.

FRANKS: Alan, you know, I think you'll recall from previous appearances that I have made on this show, I have talked about a three-legged stool. In fact, it takes three things. We have to have governance. You call that the political condition. We have to have security. And that is what we're talking about with Dave Petraeus' report.

And we have to have some economic condition that gives the Iraqi people hope. In order for us to look forward, we have to consider all three of those points. And so we can say that this surge has brought about a better security posture. And I think both sides of the aisle have for the most part said that.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: …unless you have political reconciliation? And besides…

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKS: It takes all three, Alan.

COLMES: So you have got to have a political solution.

FRANKS: There is absolutely no question but we can't blow off or put aside for no further consideration the fact that there is a grassroots effort over there. Absent law, absent achieving the political benchmarks that we expect the Iraqi government to achieve, you know there is a lot of good stuff going on at the grass-roots level.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: You're talking about — and the president is going to speak tomorrow night, how many more years? In fact, they we can't tell you when the end would be in sight. They're talking about a possible 10 more years. And without political reconciliation, without an ability to solve the political problem among the ethnocentric factions, we just keep sending American soldiers in with no end in sight, to die in a country that is not standing up for itself.

FRANKS: Well, Alan, you know, all I can say is put it in the broad sweep of American history. How long have we had troops in Europe, since the end of the Second World War?

COLMES: Very different situations.

FRANKS: How long have we had troops in South Korea, since the mid- 1950s? The fact of the matter is that it may require 10 years. It may require 20 years. But no one has yet said that that will be 10 years or 20 years of the level of violence that we see in Iraq right now.

COLMES: Nobody said there would be an end to the violence either or that it would be tamped down. There is no evidence of that.

FRANKS: Yes, but every trend seems to be moving in that direction, if we can bring the politics along, Alan.

HANNITY: You know, General, you are a great American. Thank you for being with us, sir. As is General Petraeus and all of these brave men and women that put their lives at risk. Thank you for being here tonight.

FRANKS: I agree with you. Thanks an awful lot, fellas.

HANNITY: Thank you, my friend.

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