This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 24, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Baghdad was rocked today by three massive vehicle bombs. Let's take a look.





HANNITY: The U.S. military says six people are dead, 15 were injured in that blast, but no American troops were hurt. Iraqi officials believe the bombs were part of a master plan to cripple the security of the Palestine and nearby Sheraton Hotels, enabling terrorists to capture western and Arab journalists and then hold them hostage.

But were the attacks also planned to maximize media coverage? Joining us now, FOX News military analyst, Lt. Col. Bill Cowan is back with us.

Colonel, first of all, you watch this and you know that this is what our military faces every single day and just how unbelievably sadly powerful those bombs can be. Do you agree with that consensus, that this was a target for westerners in some of these hotels?

LT. COL. BILL COWAN, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: Oh, absolutely, Sean. I mean, that was a high-value target in Baghdad for the bad guys because of the number of westerners and including U.S. military forces who are around the compound, in both the Sheraton and the Palestine Hotel. They're both within the same compound.

But absolutely. That's a good target for the bad guys to maximize casualties with a car bomb or truck bomb attack.

HANNITY: You know what's unbelievable? I'm not sure if any of us -- we know these bombs go off. We know what these guys are facing everyday. But to actually see it that graphically, it just shows you, number one, the courage, and the bravery, and the commitment that these troops have. They know that they're in this every day, and that is a possibility they could face that.

COWAN: You bet, Sean. I have been to Baghdad a number of times. And last year, I was in both of these hotels, in fact.

I went through the checkpoints. You know, every time our troops are out there, even Iraqi security forces, every car, every truck, everything coming by them is a potential bomb, like you see right here. And so you have to have the utmost admiration for the tenacity of these young men and women to be standing out there trying to provide security knowing this might happen.

HANNITY: Colonel, it has driven me crazy, because I believe the world is better and safer because the president had the right knowledge and idea to go in there and take this guy out, especially after 9/11.

I don't doubt that at all today. And you look at what happened over this past weekend and how few attacks there were, especially compared to January. It seems like it's almost an ignored story today.

COWAN: Well, Sean, we're making slow but steady progress over there. And, you know, we do continue to have some attacks. We continue to push. Our real battle, as you know, is now with the Sunnis. It's not with the Kurds or the Shiites for the most part anymore.

The battle with the Sunnis is not only a battle on the battlefield, but it's a political battle, also. And we're going to be there for a long time, as we all know.

None of us thought, including the White House, that it was going to take this long, that it was going to end up like this. The fact of the matter, it has, we're there. We cannot leave under any circumstances until this issue is resolved in Iraq, like it or not.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Colonel Cowan, very few Democrats are saying cut and run, but they are saying there should be some kind of strategy, which is not being shared by the White House. And the fact is, as you just pointed, they didn't plan for this part of the incursion. They didn't plan for this level of insurgency.

And that's a real problem. I'm not saying cut and run, but where's the accountability here for what we're seeing on our screens?

COWAN: Well, you know, Alan, I mean, I'm one of the guys that's put a lot of blame out there on Ambassador Paul Bremer -- other people have -- because we made some major mistakes at the very outset. And I think, at this point, we just have to continue to look beyond it.

I have a son, as you all know, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and at some point will go back over. I'm as anxious as any American out there for this all to end, but I don't believe we can put a timetable. We have to continue on the course, push the Iraqi military and security forces a training program, get them out there, get them engaged.

You know, long after our U.S. forces are gone, unfortunately, these kinds of attacks are going to continue, much as they did in Baghdad after Americans left.

COLMES: When I hear "stay the course," what course? What's the plan, Colonel Powell's exit strategy...


COWAN: It continued in Beirut after we left. I'm sorry, Alan.

Well, I think our -- you know, we continue to modify our strategy. Let's wait until tomorrow when we see what the actual results of the election are for the constitution. You know, if that thing doesn't pass, we're going to have to adjust a little bit as the Sunnis adjust. If it does pass -- go ahead.

COLMES: One of the problems is -- to defeat the constitution, two- thirds of the voters in three of the country's 18 provinces have to vote against it. That's not anywhere near a majority. You're still going to have a number of people, even with those numbers, who don't agree with the constitution. Why isn't it a simple majority?

COWAN: No, we will, Alan. We're going to have a lot of people that don't agree with it. But, you know, it is encouraging, I would say.

It's encouraging to see more Sunnis coming out and voting on the referendum for the constitution. And I think we'll see even more come out in December and vote for the new parliament that's going to go in. So we see some positive movement in the Sunnis who, again, are our principal problem over there.

COLMES: I don't know how you say you're encouraged by the Sunnis, when they're the ones who seem to be voting against this. And, again, with the two-thirds number, only one-third have to approve. That's nowhere near the kind of support you would need to make this work.

COWAN: Well, look, Alan, I'm encouraged because more Sunnis now are getting tired of the violence. They're getting tired of the foreign fighters. They're tired of al-Zarqawi. And more of the Sunnis are coming forward and trying to lay out where these bad guys are, where the problems are, providing intelligence.

It's a slow process. It's taking us a lot of time. A lot of Sunnis now have joined the army. A lot of Sunnis are in the police forces. But we see slow but steady progress.

Does that mean we're going to be out of there next year? No. And, again, Alan, I wish we could be. All Americans wish we could be, but we have no choice except to stay. Putting firm, hard timetables down allows al-Zarqawi and other insurgents just to sit back and wait for us to go and then go ahead and carry out what they want to carry out, so we've got to continue the fight. We've got to do the best we can.

HANNITY: That's right.

Colonel, thanks for being with us. Appreciate your time.

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