This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 11, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Late last week President-elect Obama launched his new transition Web site, Change.org, highlighting his agenda for various issues. On that Web site it stated that quote: "Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his secretary of defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war."
According to the Washington Times, by Sunday the agenda was gone from the Web site, leaving many military families wondering about the fate of U.S. troops overseas. Obama transition spokesman Nick Shapiro told us, quote, "That section of the Web site is being retooled."
Joining us now, the president of Military Families United and gold star parent John Ellsworth.
John, welcome to "Hannity & Colmes."
JOHN ELLSWORTH, PRESIDENT, MILITARY FAMILIES UNITED: Thanks, Alan.
• Video: Watch the 'H & C' intererview with the president of Military Families United
COLMES: Actually, if you look at BarackObama.com, where it's always been, his policy positions are there. They are actually going through a retooling of the Change.org or Change.gov, I should say, Web site. Anything you want to know about his position, which hasn't changed, is at his Web site. So what's the issue?
ELLSWORTH: Well, there's a lot of uncertainty on how President-elect Obama will lead on national security issues as well as the Iraq war. Some of our concerns, obviously, military families are very concerned about the uncertainty that this brings up.
COLMES: Well, it's been very clear. In fact, if you actually go and look at what he wrote, he said immediately upon taking office he'll give the secretary of defense and military commanders the mission to end the war. He's talked about, subject to what happens on the ground, one to two brigades leaving a month for about 16 months, with the goal of ending the war, keeping enough troops there for security purposes.
He's laid the whole thing out, so I don't understand where the uncertainty is coming from.
ELLSWORTH: Well, obviously, we as military families who watch this very closely, they are not dummies. They understand what they do.
But one of the things that we're concerned about or we're optimists about is possible change in direction of his policies due to his national briefing, his national security briefings that he's received in the last week. This might be a good signal to the American people that there may be change, and the change might be in his policy.
COLMES: Isn't that what people voted for? People clearly — I mean, I know the word has been overused, change. But people voted, in large part, because of his Iraq policies, which did he clearly lay out for a year and a half to two years that he was on the national stage as a candidate. And to a large extent, the American people found that resonated with them, which is one of the reasons he's president-elect.
ELLSWORTH: Well, it's hard to believe that, with his knowledge of the successes in Iraq, that President-elect Obama would want to withdraw our troops for defeat. I think what's going to happen is, now that he is very familiar with the national security, he meant — he might rethink his position, and that's what we're hoping for.
HANNITY: Hey, John, Sean Hannity here. If I was in the military — and I have a lot of friends in there — I've got to be honest. I would rethink whether or not I wanted to stay there with Barack Obama's stated positions on defense issues, that he'd cut tens of billions of dollars in defense spending, that he would not pursue missile defense systems, that he wouldn't modernize our nuclear weapons system, and that he'd meet with rogue dictators.
You know, I don't know what you say to an evil Holocaust denier that keeps stating that he wants to annihilate Israel. What do you say to him?
ELLSWORTH: Well, first of all, you know, thanks for having me on, Sean.
Second, there's, you know, the military families around the country really need to get involved, let their voices be heard. We're the ones that are towing the line. We're the ones that are making the sacrifices. Not only just the troops serving but the families also.
You know, one of the things that really bothered me was when my son was over in Iraq, and Justin was over in Iraq, he would call. And he'd talk to me about the way the media was portraying what was going on over there, you know.
The last phone conversation I had with Justin was on November 1st of 2004, just before the invasion of Fallujah, and he said, "Dad, we're needed here. We're wanted here. We're making a difference in the lives of these people." And he said to me, and I could hear his pride in his voice, he said, "Dad, I can see the lives — or the faces of the lives that I save every day." And to me that means more than any of the words that they can put in front of me.
I hope President-elect Obama takes this and — and understands what the military families are feeling. They want to finish this. There's no doubt about it. They want to finish this.
HANNITY: Well, by the way, I'm sorry about your son.
ELLSWORTH: Thank you.
HANNITY: It's a terrible price. But this raises the question. If Barack Obama stands by his pledge, which is to pull out of Iraq, you know, whether we're ready to leave or not, whether the Iraqis are ready to defend themselves or not, that creates the possibility that all that sacrifice, all that money, all that time, all that investment will be for nothing, because then Iraq becomes a safe haven for al Qaeda and Iran.
ELLSWORTH: We hope to work with the administration to ensure our troops that they have every opportunity to continue the successes in Iraq. That's one of the things that we want to do. We represent not only the military veterans and those that are serving, but the military families, as well.
Don't forget the families back home here are the ones that are sacrificing, also. As a matter of fact, if you speak to the troops, they say the people that are sacrificing more are the ones that are back at home.
HANNITY: All right, John. Sorry again about your son. Thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.
ELLSWORTH: Thank you very much.
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