Obama's New War: How Long Is It Going to Take in Libya?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 21, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And back at home, the president has made much of the fact that this war is a multi-national effort. But not all countries are onboard. China has voiced its disapproval of the attacks and Russia's Vladimir Putin has quickly distinguished himself as the most outspoken critic of the new war.

Now earlier today, he condemned the U.N. resolution that authorized the use of force, quote, "The resolution is defective, its flawed, it allows everything, it resembles medieval calls for crusades."

Joining me now with analysis on this significance on this international opposition is the host of "War Stories," Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North.

Colonel, I frankly don't care what Putin thinks or China thinks or anybody else thinks. But I am concerned that a president and an administration, if you really look at this here, you know, what is now the new criteria for intervention? The president said this weekend that, well, in Rio, you know, people's lives are in jeopardy. How do we define success here?

LT. COL. OLIVER NORTH, HOST, "WAR STORIES": Let me just make an observation on what Steve just said because it's very important. Steve Harrigan's comment, whoever controls the air on that coastal road is going to win the fight for Tripoli, that is going to be the outcome. The question is how long is it going to take? It is also very clear that what obviously has got Mr. Putin all upset. And obviously, the Chinese and several others to include the Syrians and the like, is the fact that this coalition was put together, ostensibly to protect people, the people of Libya. And what you now have is very clearly an effort now to support the rebel movement in a civil war to get to Tripoli and unseat Muammar Qaddafi, this brutal despot who has ruled the country for 40 years and killed thousands of people.

HANNITY: All right. But if we look at -- if Steve is right, and I believe he is, control the air, you win it. But you just said that the important thing, how long do we have to be in it in essence to win this whole thing here? There was great reluctance by the president to even get onboard. We are not leading the effort. France is leading the effort, Great Britain is leading the effort, we seem to be going along for the ride. And there's no defined mission here that I can tell, Colonel.

NORTH: Nicolas Sarkozy has no doubt about the mission, he is now the leader of the free world. It doesn't bother him what Putin says or anybody else for that matter. In fact, I'm told that the message he delivered very straightforward was, we're going with you or without you. And that forced Obama's hand. And Obama then sent Hillary Clinton off to try to do what she could in Paris to salvage it. At that point you already had on the ground, in Benghazi, French and British commandos, to control the airstrikes that saved Benghazi. And Steve reported as well as Rick when he was out there on the effect of that airstrike. That was the very first mission. It wasn't a tomahawk launched by an American ship, it was a French aircraft attacking tanks that were about to overrun rebel positions.

HANNITY: I'm frightened by this president's inability, Colonel, to make a decision. Now, it took six months to give the troops that were requested by our leaders in Afghanistan. He was dithering. That was the phrase we use, and then he still didn't give them the troops they wanted. He didn't support the freedom fighters in Iran in 2009. He vacillated and took varying positions in Egypt and seems to be doing the same here today. More concerned about brackets, trips to Rio and playing golf.

NORTH: Look, he's on spring break, give the poor boy, give him a break.

Look, here's the bottom-line of this president, this is a man who tries to please everyone. He's got various factions in his own party, he's got various factions around the world. He's got nothing but apologize for America, literally since he's been in office. And now, he's in a position where he has to be the commander in chief and it is just beyond him. He did the same in his speech at West Point when he announced the surge less than what General Petraeus had asked for and then announce an end date, we're going to start withdrawing in the summer of 2011, this summer.

This is the same kind of problem, Sean. If you try to please everyone, you will end up pleasing no one.

HANNITY: Right. But this is a problem. If the center of gravity, in other words in terms of world leadership, is now because of America's failure or America gives it up, and is now shifted to Europe, if they now make those decisions, if the president doesn't go to Congress for example, there are angry liberal congressmen about this, but he goes to the United Nations and he basically uses them as his justification, and doesn't seem to have the real commitment, it seems that he doesn't really believe that America's place in the world ought to be one of moral leadership. Fundamentally, what message does that send the world?

NORTH: Think of what he said today. He basically said today, and I'm paraphrasing this, you know, I don't have the quote in front of me, he basically says that if there's a people who are threatened by an illegitimate leader, that we have an obligation to go and do something about it, not just idly speak about it.

The bottom-line that that means, he's going to have to do something about Bahrain, he's got to do something about Syria, Iran, you think about Yemen. All of those situations where their military is being used against their people, in some cases our friends and other cases our terrible bitter adversaries. What is he going to do about this? He's trying to pick and choose which ones, which democracy movement he supports?

HANNITY: He said the following, he said, "Qaddafi must go." That him remaining in power is unacceptable. So, here's my question, what if they are not successful? What does that mean in terms of emboldening enemies, two-bit dictators with third-rate militaries, if Qaddafi can seemingly beat down France, Great Britain and the United States of America because they -- they haven't defined what success is, he hasn't gone full bore into this, he's telegraphing no boots on the ground. Go ahead.

NORTH: The bottom line is, this is a president who does not really know what he wants to do. He simply wants to be popular with everybody, every audience before which he stands. Unfortunately, you cannot lead that way, this is a man whose crisis of leadership is now affecting the future of this nation and national security of this country and putting young Americans in harm's way without anybody authorizing, except the United Nations. That's a frightening outcome for the United States. It also is for Israel, if a similar vote is held on what they do.

HANNITY: Colonel, couldn't agree with you more. The gang that can't shoot straight. I appreciate your time. Thanks for being with us.

Content and Programming Copyright 2011 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2011 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.