This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 22, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The nation's commanding general in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal has been yanked off the battlefield and ordered to report to the White House.
Now the anointed one is furious about a forthcoming Rolling Stone piece in which General McChrystal criticizes members of the administration. Now Democrats from the anointed one to Vice President Joe Biden to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke are harshly rebuked.
In the interview, the president's first meeting with the general is described as a photo-op and the president himself as detached and unprepared. Now according to the piece, one McChrystal aide characterized National Security adviser Jim Jones as a, quote, "clown who is stuck in 1985."
McChrystal is also depicted as receiving an e-mail from Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and then groaning, quote, "I don't even want to open it." Now the article also reveals that McChrystal aides had nicknamed Joe Biden "Vice President Bite Me," thanks to his opposition to the war in Afghanistan.
Now given how well the anointed one takes criticism, let's just say the White House is not taking this lightly. Propaganda minister Robert Gibbs declined to say whether McChrystal would keep his job.
Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president will speak with General McChrystal about his comments and we'll have more to say after that meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is McChrystal's job safe?
GIBBS: We'll have more to say after that meeting.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right, General McChrystal meeting to apologize for his remarks and those of his aides saying, quote, "It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened. I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war."
Meanwhile, the country remains at war. So will the president set his ego aside, accept the general's apology, and let him head back on to the battlefield.
Joining me now with reaction is the host of "War Stories," Lt. Col. Oliver North and former secretary of the Navy Veterans Affairs, Jim Nicholson.
Guys, welcome to the program.
OLIVER NORTH, "WAR STORIES" HOST: Thank you, Sean.
JIM NICHOLSON, FMR. SEC. OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: Good evening, Sean.
HANNITY: Well, thank you, Ollie. It's good to see you. Your —
HANNITY: Your reaction to all this?
NORTH: Well, there's no way that this Barack Obama who has been accused, and I think rightly so, of being indecisive, ambivalent, unable to make up his mind, detached — all of those things about everything from the economy to the war, to the gulf oil spill — there's no way he can pass up this opportunity to look decisive and fire General McChrystal.
HANNITY: So you — you're predicting he's going to be fired. Now look, I would argue that it's probably unwise, probably what he said was wrong. I think probably, Ollie, if any big mistake was made here it was that he allowed this magazine around him for weeks on end apparently.
NORTH: Apparently so. And by the way, most of what his staff and he say about the "O Team" I would agree with. The problem, of course, is one of judgment of allowing somebody from Rolling Stone to hang around as it were, with the internal workings of the staff and with the general, defies any kind of understanding.
It's either arrogance or ignorance or they thought they could win him over somehow by being tough guys. It backfired. It's going to blow up. And I believe it's going to cost the general his job.
HANNITY: You know, I think you're probably right. Ambassador, you agree with the same?
NICHOLSON: No, I'm not sure it will. I think it might be more courageous for Obama to keep him, because the war is so important. I mean he never said anything insubordinate or disrespectful to Obama or to the policies of Obama.
And he is the leading counterinsurgency leader that we have in our arsenal in America today and that's a classic intense counter insurgency. So, you know, he used very bad judgment. It probably rises to the level of — you know, probably either tender his resignation or Obama might be justified in firing him.
I — you know, Barack Obama, some say, couldn't have gotten a commission, couldn't have gotten a security clearance but he did get elected as commander in chief.
HANNITY: I don't know.
NICHOLSON: And we have to respect. That is our system.
HANNITY: No, I —
NICHOLSON: And he is the boss. So —
HANNITY: I agree, and that's —
NICHOLSON: What he says goes.
HANNITY: All right. And I think it was probably unwise. But I also think there's some texture and context to all of this as well. And I'm not making excuses for the general here, but this is the same general that we risk failure, Ollie, if he didn't get the — the troop strength that he needed. Obama dithered, waited months and did not grant his request.
HANNITY: The article said —
NORTH: And that's part of the problem.
HANNITY: This is part of the problem. Then there's been this ongoing, you know, public relations battle between McChrystal, the Pentagon and the administration. As evidenced by Jonathan Alter's book. So the question is here, is this just frustration by a former Obama supporter?
NORTH: No, no. I think he is very obviously frustrated. And it says in the article, and no reason to disbelieve it, but he actually voted for Obama. The problem is, as the secretary just pointed out, this man has exercised very, very poor judgment.
And his staff, quite frankly, whether it was at the Pentagon or central command or right there in the staff that approved this embed — and I know what it's like go through getting an embedded press. And on 27 times I've had to go over there, file all the paperwork, you have to lay out exactly what you're going to do.
So somebody in between the Pentagon and right out there in Kabul needs to know they really screwed up. Somebody had it in for the general. They let this whole thing happen. Very, very intemperate remarks.
Not quite through the level of Article 88 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice that says commissioned officers can be court-martialed for being disrespectful. I don't think that's going to happen. But I can't see how possibly General McChrystal survives this.
HANNITY: See, I don't think so either. And Ambassador, this is where I'm going to probably disagree with you here. I mean this is now the second public dispute that he's had with General McChrystal.
The idea that he's summoned to the White House. The idea that Gibbs said today that firing is not off the table. He wouldn't give him a vote of confidence, tells me that this general is probably in trouble and may want to just bow out himself, no?
NICHOLSON: Well, you know that's possible. It's certainly — it could. It's really — I think it's really his third strike, but if you read the article carefully, which I have done, it's not about his ego.
He's not disrespectful at all of the president and the president's policies. The guy has been in this battle for about nine years. They said in nine years he's seen his wife a total of thirty days in every one of those years. And that staff around him are a bunch of warriors as well.
I mean these are real warriors. And these guys are committed to what we're trying do over there. But they're — they're tired, they're weary, they get frustrated. And they use bad judgment. There's no question about that.
HANNITY: All right. Colonel —
NICHOLSON: I'm not sure — I'm not sure that — you know, that people around Obama will recommend that he fire him. And, you know, Obama —
NICHOLSON: — is pretty indecisive so we'll see.
NORTH: Jim, let me just say —
NICHOLSON: I — I hope he doesn't fire him.
NORTH: Well, I hope he doesn't, too, because I agree with you about the competence and the character of this general. I've seen him on the battlefield. I understand what he's trying to do and I think it's — it is indeed possible that he gets it done.
The problem is Obama has to look like he's decisive for a change. This is his golden opportunity.
NORTH: And so he's going to make a political equation here.
HANNITY: But, Ollie, let me jump in here.
NORTH: But it's important to win the war or not, he's going to fire the guy.
HANNITY: So he's not going to be tough with North Korea or Iran. He's going to be —
HANNITY: He's going to be tough with the general.
Here's a question. This administration has had a very hard time, Ollie, even acknowledging a war on terror exists. This general made very specific recommendations about the troop strength needed or we risk failure. The president didn't go along with his recommendations.
What should —
NORTH: Well, and —
HANNITY: What should a general do?
NORTH: And he dithered forever making the ultimate decision. Just like Obama doesn't —
HANNITY: But what should — what should the general do?
NORTH: And actually, here's the bottom line.
NICHOLSON: Sean, he did go along.
NORTH: A general has two choices.
NORTH: A general has two choices. The general can either convince the commander in chief to change what the policies are or he can resign. In this case what General McChrystal's staff has allowed to happen and what the general did — I agree by the way, Jim. He's not over-the- top.
In fact, there's very little in this column that's actually attributable directly to General McChrystal.
NORTH: Not withstanding the claim that there's, you know, lengthy interviews. But General McChrystal's — the folks around him allowed this to happen and that carries something because — they're speaking for their general.
NORTH: And their general if that's the case —
NICHOLSON: He's responsible —
NORTH: — is not at all respectful for this president.
HANNITY: All right, guys, we got to run. It's going to be fascinating to watch. And my prediction, I'm with Ollie, Jim. If you win, Ruth's Chris steak for you. But, you know, the sad part is we've got —
NICHOLSON: We'll see tomorrow.
HANNITY: Well, we've got troops that need a leadership. And he's been fighting —
HANNITY: He's been fighting for the proper support they need. So on the serious side of this —
HANNITY: In all honesty, the president should have given the troops that he requested in the beginning. But appreciate you being with us.
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