This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 29, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: First our top story tonight, the Al-Jazeera network aired this video today purporting to show four Christian peace activists who have been kidnapped in Iraq. One of the men has been identified as a British national. Two others have been identified as Canadian. And the fourth has been identified as 54-year-old Tom Fox of Clearbrook, Virginia.
The terrorists who hold them hostage, they claim that the four were working as undercover spies. This comes on the eve of a major speech about the war on terror to be delivered tomorrow morning by the president of the United States Naval Academy.
Joining us now, FOX News military analyst Colonel David Hunt and Colonel Bill Cowan. We welcome both of you to the program.
Colonel Cowan, let begin with you. This group claims to be the Swords of Righteousness Brigade. Any idea who they might be?
LT. COL. BILL COWAN, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: No, Alan, they're a brand-new group. I don't think anybody has any lead on who they are. But, you know, they're one of many groups who can appear magically over there and do whatever they want and disappear, if necessary.
COLMES: They don't advocate — Colonel Hunt, this group say they don't advocate the use of force to save their lives if they're kidnapped. Do we respect that?
COL. DAVID HUNT, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: No, absolutely not. I mean, they're kidnappers. I think it's tragic for these people to have been taken. I do not understand the demonstrators going to a country at war. Now we're going to have to have soldiers that are going to have to risk their lives to go out, probably try to rescue these people. But the people that have taken them have got to be considered murderers, terrorists.
COLMES: And it doesn't matter, any force we need to use, even if the group says, "We are a peace group, we are pacifists, we do not want force in our name," we should not respect that?
COWAN: Yes, it's the obligation...
HUNT: You want a beheading on television? If you had a beheading on television, you're not going to like it. Of course, we've got to go find them.
COWAN: Alan, it's our government's responsibility, whether these people want to be rescued or not. But the fact of the matter is that the government has a responsibility to try to take care of American citizens abroad. And we can be sure at this moment that we've got a lot of U.S. resources, military and civilian, in Baghdad and elsewhere trying to identify where these people are and figure out a plan to rescue them.
COLMES: Colonel Hunt, this is a Christian group. And they say they are there to promote nonviolence and to distribute needed goods and medical supplies and also to help family members find missing relatives. You suggested earlier that they shouldn't be in a place of war.
Should these groups be prevented from going to places like Iraq, in spite of the humanitarian acts and deeds they are there to do?
HUNT: The short answer is yes. The reason is this: Look what's happening now. We have to turn intelligence assets away from the war. Great young marines, and Army guys, and special forces are going to have to go and try to rescue them.
I understand they're trying to do good things, but in the middle of a war zone is not the time and place, because what you're going to have to do now is take away from the war to go and try and help them.
I'm not blaming them. But I am suggesting that, if you could stop them, we should, because of what's going to happen now. Either they're going to get killed, which is a terrible thing, or we're going to have to go rescue them and put soldiers' lives at risk.
COLMES: Colonel Cowan, these are people who also — just like our soldiers — they go into harm's way, but they're not going with military equipment. They're not going to fight; they're going for peace.
Do you agree with Colonel Hunt on that? They are there for humanitarian purposes. Is there not a place in a war locale for these kinds of people?
COWAN: It's not a place for them, Alan. And, you know, the U.S. government can't stop people from going abroad. Really, the Iraqi government, which now issues visas to people going over there, should have been the government that stepped in.
I mean, the responsibility here will ultimately fall on the Iraqis, since it's their country and Iraqi citizens who have done this. I think the one good piece of news we have in looking at this video is that these people are not blindfolded. They don't appear to be tied up, as we've often seen in the past. And we have to hope that these people who kidnapped them are only looking to make a little bit of money, not to sell them off to Zarqawi and others like that, which would ensure their death.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Let me ask both of you. I'll start with Colonel Hunt. Is it wrong to show the video, in as much as, ultimately, you empower some of these guys and you encourage future hostage-taking?
HUNT: That's a very tough call. The intel guys will tell you it's a split. One of the things is that it does show the family proof of life. The other part, of what you're referring to, is it can add to future kidnappings.
If I had a choice, I would not air them. I would just tell the families, because it does — it gets used for more — it's more negative than positive. So I think the preponderance of evidence for me is not to show it.
HANNITY: You could show it just to the families, right, Colonel Cowan?
COWAN: You could. You could show just the families, Sean.
You know, I think there's another side to this, and that is seeing these videos is a chilling reminder to every one of us and certainly to other people walking around Baghdad without adequate security that, no matter what your goals or objectives are, or where you are with respect to the war, you're still at risk over there and you stand the chance of being kidnapped, killed and whatever else.
HANNITY: Let me ask you both about the politicizing of the war. We had an unbelievable on-ed in the Wall Street Journal today by Senator Joseph Lieberman, who just returned from his fourth trip from Iraq in 17 months. He talked at length at how the progress is visible and practical all over Iraq, in every territory, that it's a war between 27 million and 10,000 insurgents.
He went on to praise the progress, that we're on the other end of this.
You have a former vice-presidential candidate, one of the most respected Democrats in the U.S. Senate, he gets virtually no coverage in the U.S. media today. Compare that to Congressman John Murtha who got all of that coverage last week. Is that the evidence of how biased, Colonel Hunt, the media is, as it relates to this war?
HUNT: I don't think there's any question there was a bias on one side. But the other side, Sean, is this: The government has to do a much better job of publicizing the positive aspects of what's going on with soldiers and marines.
We've inoculated every child in Iraq. We've built 3,000 schools. The government has to do a better job of countering those who are against it. The big thing for me is the safety and security of the soldiers and marines, not the politics of this.
You're right; there is clearly one side gets more publicity.
HUNT: But the government's got a big, powerful machine and can do a better job of helping the soldiers' and marines' story be told.
HANNITY: Colonel Cowan?
COWAN: Well, you know, I mean, Senator Lieberman deserves a lot of credit. He's not somebody who's just out there taking swipes and not paying attention to what's happening over there. And I think we'll know tomorrow morning, Sean, because that just came out in the "Wall Street Journal" today. We'll open The Washington Post here in town. You'll all open The New York Times up there. And let's find out whether it's even in section a, the fact that he had these things to say.
HANNITY: I doubt it.
COLMES: All right, Colonels, we thank you both very much.
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