This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," July 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Welcome back to Hannity & Colmes. Earlier, we spoke to former speaker of the House, author of the book, "Winning the Future," by the way, now available in paperback, Newt Gingrich:
HANNITY: Your comments that this is "World War III" has gotten an enormous amount of play both in the nation and around the world. Can you explain that?
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, I think there are two parts to it. I am delighted to have a chance to share this with our audience.
First of all, if you just look at a map of the world and you say, the North Koreans have been firing missiles. There were seven bombs that went off in Mumbai, India, last week, killing over 200 people. There is a war going on in Afghanistan with Northwest Pakistan as a sanctuary.
There is an Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance, and it is both waging war on Israel from Gaza and from South Lebanon. And it is helping in many ways, along with funds from Saudi Arabia, sustain the war against the Americans and the Iraqi people in Iraq.
The British home secretary has said that there are 20 terrorist groups in Britain with over 1,200 members. The Canadians picked up 18 terrorists recently who had acquired twice as much explosive power as was used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and the terrorists had talked among themselves about capturing the Canadian prime minister and beheading him.
And finally in the United States, you had seven people videotaped in Miami pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda to overthrow the American government, and you had a plot apparently in three different countries to come together to bomb the tunnels in New York City.
So first of all, it's clearly worldwide. I mean, what I just described to you is an initial survey of a worldwide war.
But the second point is equally important. It is a war. We have active enemies, actively trying to kill us, and we have to see the violence in the Middle East in the context of an active war.
And being Americans, we prosecute wars to win them, not to have "reasonable response," not to have "appropriate levels of retaliation." Our theory is you start bombing our cities; we're going to defeat you and make it impossible.
HANNITY: Mr. Speaker, I agree with all of what you just said. I have absolutely zero disagreement. We even had earlier today one of the Iranian leaders calling Israel "satanic, a cancerous tumor," then there were Ahmadinejad's comments about annihilation.
We are watching an unfolding situation, where these rockets are falling deeper and deeper into Israel than ever before here.
So if we really believe the root cause is Syria and Iran, what has to be the response of the United States, knowing that the world community basically has a history of appeasement? And we see this even, I think, in the early days of this conflict. You know, "Israel must restrain itself while under fire."
GINGRICH: Well, that's part of what led me to speak out so decisively and so clearly. Because here you have a situation, as you know FOX News reported during the day today, over 50 missiles hit Israel today.
Now imagine that missiles being fired from Cuba were hitting Miami. Imagine there were 50 missiles hitting South Florida. Do you think that we would say, oh, "let's have appropriate response?" "Let's have restraint? Let's be careful?" No. We would say, clean out the people who are doing this.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Doesn't the world, especially the United States, have a responsibility to see that this doesn't become World War III?
GINGRICH: Well, Alan, this is where I think maybe we don't completely agree with each other. I don't think we have any choice.
When you have bombings in India, you have war going on in Afghanistan, you have war going on in Iraq, you have a war going on in Gaza and South Lebanon, you have Syria and Libya and North Korea actively plotting to defeat the democracies, you have Ahmadinejad, the leader of Iran, saying publicly he wants to defeat the Americans and eliminate Israel from the face of the earth, you have people plotting to blow up New York tunnels, you have Canadians plotting to blow up the Canadian parliament and behead the prime minister... My point is we're in a war!
We need to understand this isn't an option. This isn't some diplomatic moment to wring our hands and hope that Hezbollah will become more mature.
We have to defeat the terrorists and we have to replace the terror-supporting governments, and that doesn't mean we have to go to war with Iran. It does mean we have to use the kind of strategy we used in Poland, in Czechoslovakia, in Romania, in Hungary, in Ukraine to help the people themselves get to a democracy and replace these terrorist states.
COLMES: Your rhetoric, Mr. Speaker, is even very different than what the president is saying. The president said at the G8 summit that Israel has to be aware. He said that they have the right to defend themselves, but they also have to be very aware of the consequences of their actions. Is he wrong to make that statement?
GINGRICH: Look, I'm speaking out because I believe that if the president of the United States had 50 missiles hit south Florida today, he would do something decisive. He would not show restraint.
HANNITY: We'll continue with former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in just a moment.
Also coming up tonight, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will tell us just how far Israel is willing to go. And our military analysts will detail the threat Hezbollah poses to Israel and to the U.S.
COLMES: We continue with Newt Gingrich.
HANNITY: If we look at the world reaction, if we look at the G8 reaction, the UN reaction, the E.U. reaction, specifically countries like Italy and Greece and France and all around the globe, their calls for restraint, do you see a similarity? Is there an analogy to World War II and the rise of Nazism?
GINGRICH: Sure. Can you imagine after Pearl Harbor if countries urged us to be restrained in defeating Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and Japan? We would have thought they were out of their minds. I think that we need -- this is why I think we need to have this argument -- We need to say, this is not a temporary violence.
HANNITY: Why is there -- it almost seems -- it's a mystery to me. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why people don't see it in these terms for what it is here. There's an unwilling -- a mysterious reluctance to see the truth in all of this.
GINGRICH: Look, part of it is because of the language that leadership uses. People talk about the five or six days of war. There have been 58 years of unending war, trying to destroy Israel.
Hezbollah has been very clear. The leader of Hezbollah described Israel as "a cancerous growth." He has said publicly and clearly his goal is the complete elimination of Israel. They have said publicly -- and we have known for years -- that the Iranians were building up all of these missiles and we did nothing to stop it!
And I think the time has come first of all for the United States to say to the Lebanese government we will help you reclaim South Lebanon, we will help you defeat Hezbollah, for us to say to the Israelis, finish the job, don't be restrained until you finish the job and to say to Syria and Iran, we will not tolerate any more interference in Lebanon from the terrorist alliance that you have forged.
COLMES: Speaker Gingrich, if you're going to use rhetoric like World War III and America being involved in World War III, and then you said a few moments ago that doesn't necessarily mean we have to be militarily involved, but doesn't that ultimately lead to that?
If that is what this is, as you're expressing it, doesn't that mean at some point American military involvement and are we prepared for that?
GINGRICH: If the alternative is to have a North Korea with nuclear weapons and missiles and Iran with nuclear weapons and missiles, a Syria actively allied with Iran and with terrorism, at some point down the road, we have to face that.
But I think there are so many steps, Alan, that Ronald Reagan taught us. We can have such a huge impact with firmness, with decisiveness.
And the only place I have suggested that force needs to be used over and above Iraq right now would be to help the Lebanese, who are a democratically elected government, to have the military capability to defeat Hezbollah.
And we proved in Afghanistan that relatively small numbers of Americans with air power can have a decisive effect in enabling people that we are allied with to win.
And I think with American help, the Lebanese government can in fact defeat Hezbollah. And I think that we -- and I think we should challenge the Europeans to join us.
Here you have a democratically elected government, despite the assassinations by the Syrians who are trying to kill the advocates of democracy in Lebanon, and I think that the world has already served notice through UN resolutions that we will not tolerate Syrian interference in Lebanon.
And I think the United States should be prepared to say to anybody willing to help them, come help us. But the first goal should not be a truce. The first goal should be to get rid of the 13,000 missiles and get rid of the 40-plus Iranian guards and make South Lebanon responsibly reporting to the government of Lebanon at which point there will be no threat to Israel from South Lebanon.
COLMES: The Seattle Times is reporting your World War III comments and also saying you said to them that Republicans facing fall elections, the party has to have the nerve to nationalize the elections and make it about the liberal Democratic agenda rather than the president's record.
Are you suggesting that one should politicize what's going on now and make that a reason to elect Republicans?
GINGRICH: Not at all. I think that the issue of being in the middle of World War III, the issue of what do we do to survive, the issue of how do you deal with North Korea which, when told by the United States, that there would be unacceptable consequences if they fired off missiles chose our 4th of July, to show how much contempt they have for diplomacy, in a situation where the Iranian dictator has said he wants to defeat the Americans, and the Iranians have said they won't accept any restriction on getting nuclear weapons. I think we need a national dialogue as Americans, not as Republicans or Democrats, but precisely in the experience of a world war to say what do we do as a people to defeat the terrorist alliance worldwide?
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