What Message Does Obama's Libya Address Send Qaddafi?

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 28, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That's what's happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.


HANNITY: Now President Obama over a week now it has taken for him to speak out on Libya. So, it just so happens his secretary of defense actually beat him to the punch yesterday. Just one thing, Secretary Gates was singing a different tune from the one we heard from the president moments ago. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Libya posed an actual or imminent threat to the United States?

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: No, no, it was not a vital, national interest to the United States. But it was an interest.


HANNITY: All right. But wait a minute, didn't the president just tell the American people that this was in fact in our national interests?

And here to help clear up all of this is the author of the brand new book, "The Fight of Our Lives, Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth and Choosing to Win the War against Radical Islam" The one and only, our good friend Bill Bennett is back. Bill, good to see you.


HANNITY: Well, can you make sense of this? Because this is what we've experienced, one contradiction from one administration official, and the president even contradicting himself, culminating in a very well written speech tonight that seems to clarify nothing.

BENNETT: Yes. Well written, well delivered but not well thought out.

Noticed a couple of things, that first of all, if I'm Qaddafi I'm sitting comfortably tonight. The Americans are not coming after me, unless the president wasn't telling the truth and we've got some guys in there.

You know, Alexander Hamilton said, when the U.S. goes, when the country guess, it should go like Hercules. He told Qaddafi tonight, he was safe. We want a regime change but you're safe.

Second, we will stop at removing Qaddafi because the coalition will splinter. So, who is in charge? The coalition is in charge. You remember, this was a speech that really retroactively justified the war in Iraq, that's what he did tonight. Humanitarian grounds, no weapons of mass destruction. So, he's taking the exact same rationale as George Bush.

Do you remember some of these thoughts stopping on the way to Baghdad was a mistake?

HANNITY: Absolutely.

BENNETT: Took us 12 years. Now, we understand the rebels were stopped today, I don't know if that's temporary or if its long term but we could be seeing this for a long time.

HANNITY: But here's the interesting part, he made this humanitarian in nature.


HANNITY: We had a moral obligation as the United States of America, we can't let this happen. It raises the specter, the question of whether or not we will do this elsewhere around the world.

Putting that aside, didn't George Bush go to the United Nations? Didn't George -- weren't there how many resolutions before George Bush decided to act? You know, didn't George Bush talk about the humanitarian toll and the death and brutality of Saddam Hussein?


HANNITY: What's the difference here?

BENNETT: Well, that's exactly right. And Qaddafi is nothing by the way, compared to Saddam Hussein. If you are going to make a humanitarian case, Saddam Hussein gassed his own people. He killed hundreds of thousands. Qaddafi probably just thousands.

So, the moral case is the moral case. The difference is, Bush was willing to pursue this case in the war in Iraq. Now, Obama says, we're going to leave it up to other people.

What happens now? Who is in charge? What is the mission? I think it is a mess. I think it is incoherent.

HANNITY: What does it mean?

BENNETT: Not only if I'm Qaddafi, if I'm Syria what am I thinking at this point? So, it's just, to me just the whole thing didn't make sense. I think he was pushed into this because Sarkozy embarrassed him into it.

HANNITY: I think it was pushed into it too, I think this goes against naturally who he is. What does it mean when an American president says, A, our role is going to be limited, B, he telegraphed no ground troops and C, in a week transfers power and authority to somebody else?

BENNETT: Well, it suggests it is a very tentative Senate proposal. Again, these guys should fear us. And if we go in, we mean business, then we should take them out, and nothing short. If you are not going to take them out, forget it.

HANNITY: So, what does it mean when he says Qaddafi must go and then he's not saying it now?

BENNETT: Well, Qaddafi must go on his own volition, but what the heck that does mean? Or Qaddafi must go because the French and the Belgians will ask him to go.


BENNETT: But I mean, there's no force behind this. What language do we think Qaddafi understands? That's the problem with this thing.

And, you know, the other thing you mentioned about George Bush, George Bush did go to Congress. And let's remember that. And George Bush's coalition was a whole lot bigger than Barack Obama's.

HANNITY: I don't have a problem with him using military action.

BENNETT: That's right.

HANNITY: Without congressional approval. I'm not a believer in the War of Powers Act, in that sense, but even with the War Powers Act, we have 60 days to act, and another thirty days if Congress authorizes their pull-out, so I think he's within his legal rights.

BENNETT: It's a good idea to do it, but it's a particularly good idea to do it Sean, if you are on record as the video you have been showing all day and all week, said George Bush was absolutely wrong to do this unilaterally when in fact, it wasn't unilaterally at all. If you have said, Congress should get the right of approval here, then you ought to act on that.

HANNITY: But he sounded like Bush except, there wasn't really the imminent threat and it wasn't the post 9/11 environment that you know, that some nations may turn a blind eye, I refuse to wait. And I'm thinking, all right, those are the exact arguments we had. What do you think the motivation here is? Do you think it was forced in --

BENNETT: Embarrassed into it by other world leaders.

HANNITY: And get out as quick I can.

BENNETT: Yes, because, you know, I have a listener on my show who says he's an outside shooter. He doesn't like to be on the boards, he doesn't like to use the elbows, doesn't like to mix it up. So, he's done this tentatively, now get out.

But boy, you cannot use American power like that, you cannot just do and make some faint, and do some things, send the tomahawk missiles and leave the work to somebody else. Supposing Qaddafi holds on and starts to slaughter people, does the rationale change again what is the mission?

HANNITY: Your book, "The Fight of Our Lives, Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth and to Win." He doesn't talk about winning or victory, which leaves the option of losing on the table. Do you think he really understands fundamentally, you know, who the enemy is? Like who the 9/11 commission report identified as our enemy that was at war with us, do you think he gets it?

BENNETT: I'm not sure if they don't know it or will not just say it. Part of the book, we talk about.

HANNITY: This is a kinetic military action.

BENNETT: I know.

HANNITY: What's a kinetic military action?

BENNETT: Worse was the Pentagon report about what happened at Fort Hood. Worse was -- because they denied it had anything to do with radical Islam. Worse was Eric Holder appearing before the Congress when Lamar Smith said, we have all these bombs, we have all this yelling of "Allahu Akbar," does this have anything to do with the radical Islam. He's not sure.

Now, the American people say, this is something we are worried about, something we need to do something about. And they are accused when they say that of being bigots. They're not bigots, they're worried, they are taking people who say this seriously, as we all need to. This book is about the fight in the culture to get this war right.

HANNITY: All right. Well, you know, I appreciate it, it's great book. And, you know, one day, we've got to get the Bennett Brothers, because the Beckel Brothers are coming up next.


HANNITY: So, it will be you and Graham versus Bob and Bob.

BENNETT: Bob and Bob. We'll do it.

HANNITY: Bob and Bob.

BENNETT: You got a big stage, you are going to need a big arena. OK, buddy. Thank you, Sean.

HANNITY: I think you're right. All right. Good to see you.

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