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Hannity

Can American forces save Baghdad from falling to ISIS?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 13, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TUCKER CARLSON, GUEST HOST: Well, joining me now with reaction to all this, this fast moving-story, Fox News military analyst Colonel David Hunt, author of "Foreign and Domestic," retired brigadier general Tony Tata, and former Green Beret Benjamin Collins. Welcome to all three of you.

Colonel Hunt, I want to put up on the screen the overview, the picture as it stands at this hour of Iraq and Syria. Here are the areas -- they're in red, our viewers can see them -- in those two countries controlled or strongly influenced by ISIS. And if you can see it, it looks like metastasizing cancer. But it's really concentrated north of Baghdad, Mosul. I mean, it's just all over areas that were controlled until relatively recently by the United States.

How did this happen? What's the overview?

COL. DAVID HUNT, U.S. ARMY (RET.), FOX MILITARY ANALYST: Quick overview is that Qatar and Syria helped form ISIS to put a wedge in the insurgency in Syria. Qatar is rather duplicitous. And at the same time, Maliki, the prime minister of Iraq, fired all of the general officers and leaders down the major level in the army that we trained. And then a few ISIS soldiers came across -- terrorists came across the Syrian border, and five divisions worth of Iraqi military ran and left everything from tanks to drones to uniforms, to everything, $17 billion almost worth of gear was left.

And then the towns that ISIS took were full of money and banks. And they control, as you've pointed out, territory that's as big as Jordan, and an Iraqi military that's not capable, and now we're fighting again back there. For the 26th year, we're back in, bombing Iraq.

CARLSON: And so Ben Collins, here you have 320 Marines at this 25- mile-square base. And they're basically surrounded by ISIS, who are within close to striking distance. I mean, how can we rescue these guys if it came down to it? Are they as endangered as they seem to be?

BENJAMIN COLLINS, FMR. GREEN BERET: Certainly. Well, look, I think we've got an issue here. It seems like this administration, we always wait until it's almost at a point of crisis before we actually start to start, you know, generating a plan and actually get to this. I mean, the reality is, 320 surrounded by what, you know -- you know, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000? How quickly? I mean, it only takes about, you know, 20 to 30 minutes of these guys from al Baghdadi to actually get to this area.

CARLSON: Exactly.

COLLINS: So in terms of an actual rescue, you know, I think at this point, if those plans haven't been already put into place, I think it's probably a little bit, you know, too late for us to actually start moving things in quick order. So hopefully, we do have that capability on standby.

CARLSON: Well, General Tata, we're hearing from the Pentagon that plans are in place, that extraction -- you know, extraction methods are -- you know, have been devised and that these guys are safe, these 320 Marines. Do you think that's true? It seems like a perilous situation by definition.

BRIG. GEN. TONY TATA, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, I'm sure General Terry (ph) has plans in place and they've rehearsed those plans. So I'm quite confident that our forces have extraction plans.

The bigger issue here is a complete lack of engagement of this administration throughout the region that has resulted in this kind of thing. ISIS is going after every means of nation-state capability that they can, leveraging their elements of power. And they're growing rapidly across the region. Around the world, they're recruiting heavily and they're being successful at it.

And they've shown a very sophisticated strategic capability, as well as very sophisticated tactical capability to be able to train, man, equip and field an army that can breach the wire with sophisticated tactics on one of the airbases that we're using in this campaign. And so it's not really a discussion about rescue, it's a discussion about what's our campaign to destroy this enemy.

CARLSON: But I mean, the picture, Colonel Hunt, if you take three steps back, is one of awesome and profound weakness! Here the United States controlled this entire country, influenced the region overwhelmingly up until really recently, and now we're worried about the fate of 320 men, American Marines, on a lowly outpost.

I mean, this -- the picture to the rest of the world is one of American impotence, isn't it?

HUNT: No, it's not.

CARLSON: It is!

HUNT: That's just not -- that's -- that's not true. Look, the United States of America has been leading the fight on terrorism for 14 years.

CARLSON: Right.

HUNT: Everybody (INAUDIBLE) 14 years. Nobody in the world has done what we have in this. And everybody's now yelling to do more in Iraq. And my problem is, what do you want to do? Because we've got 3,000 soldiers on the ground, which is not enough. We're going to -- if you want us to go in, that's another 20,000 to 30,000 guys. And there's only one other military in the Middle East that even can get close to this, and that's Israel and they're not coming in. So all the noise I keep hearing about we're not doing enough -- what do you want? Because the first word out of everybody's mouth...

CARLSON: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on!

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: There's no boots on the ground!

CARLSON: I'm with you entirely...

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: And how do you do it without it?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: What happens when Baghdad is in imminent danger...

HUNT: What do you want to do?

CARLSON: I don't know! I'm asking you. Do you let it fall?

HUNT: That's 30,000 soldiers that's invading Iraq, and we're back at war for the 26th year. The problem with this is, we can't -- we've been doing it for 14 years, killing them. We've been bombing them for 26. It is not working. And now we got some other things that happened, and we want to do it again. And we got 350 (sic) Marines at a base they cannot secure. It's impossible for them to do it be we haven't got enough there.

CARLSON: I want to pull Ben Collins in here. So what -- I mean...

COLLINS: With all due respect to Colonel Hunt...

CARLSON: What is the answer? If Baghdad is in danger of falling, what do we do?

COLLINS: Certainly. So if we have a problem is that's we've never really -- we don't follow through. So we pulled out of Iraq...

CARLSON: Of course not.

COLLINS: ... without -- so we don't follow through. And look, the reality is, this president has not come up with a solution for ISIS because he can't come up with a solution for Syria. And if you can't come up with a solution to Syria, you have to take into account Iran.

CARLSON: Right.

COLLINS: And this president has made it very clear that the one thing that he wants more than anything is to sign this nuclear deal with Iran, which ties his hands with Syria, which ties our hands with ISIS. So we've shown that we're not going to have a strategic plan. What can we do? We can re-engage with those Sunni tribes that we had, that allowed for the -- you know, the great awakening 2007, right? We can engage countries like Turkey. But Turkey would be a great...

HUNT: Turkey's not coming in!

COLLINS: Yes, why -- why isn't...

HUNT: Turkey's not coming in!

COLLINS: And why isn't Turkey going to come in? Turkey won't come in because...

HUNT: You know why Turkey's not coming in. We have...

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: ... because the president told Iran that he would not take down Assad.

HUNT: Turkey didn't help...

COLLINS: And that's why Turkey won't go in.

HUNT: ... with George Bush, either. Turkey was not helping us nine years ago.

CARLSON: Right. Well...

HUNT: That's my problem with this. Do something. Doing something, it means a total effort. I got no problem with killing them. I'm just saying you can't piecemeal this, which is what we've been doing for 14 years.

CARLSON: Well, I -- no, I -- of course, I get that completely. And I think the public is probably on the side of what you just said. But General Tata, what is -- what is the grand goal here? If you would -- if you were to describe a picture of where you think that region ought to be two years from now, what would it look like?

TATA: Well, I think, Tucker, what we need to do is leverage every element of power that we have -- economic, military, political, diplomatic, et cetera, throughout the region. And we ought to squeeze nations that are not supporting our efforts to defeat this enemy.

The American people see a very real threat in ISIS, and they see that threat potentially coming to our shores. And so we've got to kill this enemy on his 5-yard line, and we've got to do it by leveraging every element of power that we have. And so what it looks like two years from now is that we have an administration that is able to deftly and swiftly engage with sophistication different nations to leverage their elements of powers.

Look at Jordan and how swiftly they responded. King Abdullah set a leadership example there and said he's not going to take this. And so we've got to send a clear message. First, you've got to define the enemy.  Second, you've got to quit apologizing for the enemy. And third, you've got to leverage every bit of power that the greatest nation on earth has to kill this enemy and make sure that our national interests are taken care of.

CARLSON: OK. Well, I sure appreciate all of your views on this.  (INAUDIBLE) I can't get past the 320 Marines sitting out there on this base! And I got to say, if my son was one of them, I'd be really, really concerned!

TATA: I got a lot of confidence in our Marine Corps.

CARLSON: Good. Well, that makes me feel better. Thanks so much, General, Colonel. Benjamin Collins, great to see you.

COLLINS: Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON: Thanks.  

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