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John Bolton on Iran, Lebanon

Hannity & Colmes

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And welcome to "Hannity & Colmes." Thank you for being with us. I'm Sean Hannity, coming to you live from beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. Alan is holding down the fort back in New York.

Tonight, the immigration deal gets debated before Congress, and the battle has heated up on the Hill since its debut last week. Senator McCain blasted Texas Senator John Cornyn over the plan. Things got very heated behind closed doors. And tonight, we'll ask Senator Cornyn all about it.

And then, there's Jimmy Carter, and here is his latest ridiculous statement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think, as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: We're going to play you his so-called clarification coming up tonight.

Then, a life-changing experience saved George Foreman. He's going to be here to tell us what it was and why it almost kept him from killing Muhammad Ali.

And she's to the right, she's outspoken, and she's not allowed back on PBS. Radio talk show host Melanie Morgan on her ban from the TV station funded by us, the viewers.

Also tonight, what does it mean to be a terrorist? Well, Rosie looked to answer that question today, all the while berating Elisabeth and this very program. We're going to play you that ridiculous tirade.

But first, a deadly car bomb rocks a Beirut neighborhood, leaves five people dead, this coming after a heavy day of fighting that triggered a new front of fighting in the Mideast between Lebanese troops and a terrorist group with Al Qaeda ties. The violence is the worst since the 1975-'90 civil war, and the violence continued throughout the Mideast, as Israel launched two new air strikes against targets in central Gaza after more rockets slammed into an Israeli border town.

Reena Ninan is standing by tonight for us in Jerusalem, and she has the very latest.

REENA NINAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Sean. It's two days of fierce fighting in Lebanon, none of it preplanned by the Lebanese government. In fact, today the Lebanese army pounding this Palestinian refugee camp with tanks. That is where these militants are holed up. In fact, these militants responded with mortars.

All of it began yesterday when the Lebanese army went in to try and arrest key militants. The Lebanese government says these militants are linked to Fatah al-Islam, which is believed to be behind a dual bus explosion in Lebanon in February. More than a dozen Lebanese killed in that attack.

At least nine Palestinian refugees killed in the crossfire today. The death toll well over 50, half of them Lebanese soldiers. Plus, al-Islam has threatened to attack other parts of Lebanon if the Lebanese army does not stop firing.

The group is headed by Shaker al-Absi. Absi was released from a Syrian jail recently. He's also been linked to a 2002 assassination of U.S. diplomat Lawrence Foley in Jordan. The Lebanese government says Absi was cooperating with Syria to sabotage an international tribunal to oversee who killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Some Lebanese officials believe Syria is responsible for their death, but that, of course, is something that the Syrian government denies.

And, today, not too far from here, in Israel, there was an Israeli woman killed by a Qassam rocket flying in from Gaza by Hamas militants. She is the first fatality in those Qassam rockets that have escalated in the past week or so. And Israel today responding with two air strikes on Hamas targets.

Send it back to you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. Thanks, Reena.

And for more on this, we bring in former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.

Ambassador, thank you for being with us. I guess more questions than anything else, Ambassador, is, what do we know specifically about this group?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, there's more that we don't know than we do, but it appears to be a radical Islamic split-off from a larger group in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. If, in fact, Syria is behind this, then this is an effort almost certainly to put further pressure on the democratically elected government of Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora. So it's a very worrying sign. It means Syria is increasing the pressure against Siniora, and that's bad news.

HANNITY: Is it impossible, Ambassador, that they get to topple Lebanon's government? And what would the ramifications be?

BOLTON: Well, I think it's very possible. You know, it's curious, because the Hezbollah, which is a Shiite terrorist group, has been putting the most pressure on. This group is a radical Sunni group. But, objectively, they are both anti-Siniora.

So Syria, and quite possibly with help from Iran, obviously now trying to torque up the pressure on Siniora. If the government of Lebanon falls, it could be taken over by Hezbollah. You'd have a terrorist state then on Israel's northern border, one very closely tied and financed, in fact, by Syria and Iran.

HANNITY: All right, well, let's talk about this, because Syria obviously hosting a number of Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas. We know their ties to Hezbollah. We know a lot of the funding, similarly, Ambassador, comes from Iran. You've had some very strong statements in recent days about the Iranians and about their potential nuclear facility here.

If we want to get to the root cause of this, Ambassador, where do we have to go? Do we go to Syria? Do we go to Iran? Do we go to both of them? And what is the world reaction? What ought the world reaction be?

BOLTON: Well, I think that, when you look at the facilitation of this new radical group within the Palestinian refugee camps, it's a way to increase Syrian influence now that their troops have had to withdraw from Lebanon. But I think it's also part of a pattern of increasing Iranian aggressiveness inside Iraq, in Lebanon, indeed by arresting and charging today an Iranian-American, an American citizen, charging her with an effort to overthrow the government of Iran, very similar to the kidnapping of the 15 British naval and Marine personnel some time back. So I think that this shows Iran increasingly trying to assert itself as it continues its nuclear weapons program.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Ambassador, it's Alan Colmes in New York. Thank you for being on with us.

You've said to the British press, and also last week on my radio show we interviewed you, and you talked about the ultimate necessity, in your view, to probably have a military solution to Iran. Does this ramp up that possibility?

BOLTON: Well, I think it demonstrates that Iran thinks it's on a roll, that it's putting more pressure on the Siniora government, love to bring that government down, and get Hezbollah, Lebanon's seat at the U.N., and the international legitimacy that confers. I think it shows Iran is not serious about negotiating on any of these fronts, on the nuclear front, on its support for terrorism, or even what its activities are inside Iraq.

COLMES: What should the United States be doing, though, at this point? And has there really been a serious dialogue between the United States and Iran to the extent that we can really know what possibilities there are to avoid a military confrontation?

BOLTON: Well, on the nuclear program, the critical question to ask is whether you think Iran will ever voluntarily give up nuclear weapons. If you do, then negotiation makes sense, and the Europeans have tried that for nearly four years now, resulting in complete failure.

If you believe, as I do, that Iran is never going to be chatted out of its nuclear weapons, because it sees the nuclear weapons program as its trump card, then the only recourse is to dramatically ratchet up the economic and political pressure on Iran and keep open the option of regime change or even military force.

COLMES: But should we accept that without even a dialogue, as James Baker suggested with the Baker commission, as many have suggested, there should be at least some ability to talk to Syria and Iran? Or do we just accept they're going to do it anyway and avoid any kind of attempt for a peaceful solution?

BOLTON: Well, two things. As I said a moment ago, the Europeans have been talking to Iran about their nuclear weapons program for nearly four years.

COLMES: But we haven't.

BOLTON: They have promised them -- but the Europeans, for the last two years in particular, have been carrying our message. And it has failed. It has failed.

But it also goes to the question what you believe the potential costs are of this kind of engagement. And I think there is a cost to diplomacy. In the area of proliferation, of weapons of mass destruction, time is not on our side. Time is used by countries like Iran to perfect their nuclear weapons program. We can't allow that to go on any further.

HANNITY: Ambassador, I want to pick it up there when we get back. More on the other side of the break.

Plus tonight, the immigration deal is continuing to cause a lot of controversy in Washington. Tonight, one senator's firsthand account of his very heated exchange with Senator John McCain.

Also tonight, another set of fireworks on the set of "The View." Even this little, old program was mentioned, and this time Barbara Walters steps in, and it was not to defend Rosie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, "THE VIEW": I listened the other day, and I think that sometimes you're confusing the word "terrorist," because you said, "Who are terrorists?" implying that terrorists could be us, terrorists could be some -- what you really mean, I think, is jihadists. We are talking about a particular group of people.

ROSIE O'DONNELL, HOST, "THE VIEW": I'm talking about a word, terrorism, that the administration has used to terrify this country. They're terrorizing Americans by using the word "terror" and taking away our civil liberty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLMES: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." We now continue with former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. And we are joined by FOX News military analyst Lt. Colonel Bill Cowan.

Colonel Cowan, welcome back. Let me go to you. You heard what Ambassador Bolton had to say. He said time is not on our side. If that's true, don't we then have to get into some kind of dialogue? Or do we just wait until a military opportunity arises? Or do we try to engage with Iran?

LT. COL. BILL COWAN, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Alan, I think the ambassador said it exactly right. We've tried to have dialogue with them through the United Nations. Certainly, some of our allies in Europe have tried to talk to them. And as the ambassador said, Iran has continuously given a cold ear, a cold shoulder to every attempt by friendly people to get them to pull back on the nuclear program.

COLMES: When was the attempt by the United States? Iran has reached out to us. They helped us, in terms of the war on terror, as recently as 2003. Meanwhile, we did away with their enemies, like Iraq and Afghanistan. When have we actually responded to Iran's efforts to work with us?

COWAN: Alan, they're not reaching out to us right in Iraq, as we all know. We've talked about that numerous times during your show here. With many of the Shiites went in, many of the IEDs showing up in Iraq, they're not helping us at all in Iraq right now. And there's no particular reason why we, ourselves, have to directly talk to them. If our European ally do it, and if we see some movement, maybe it's the right time...

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Wouldn't you rather talk than automatically decide there's going to be a war? Wouldn't dialogue or at least an attempt to come to some kind of understanding be better than sending Americans once again into battle in a new theater in the war on terror?

COWAN: Alan, anything besides war would be better. Absolutely anything besides military force would be better. But we need to see something on their part that shows that, indeed, they're willing to engage in some kind of dialogue and do something meaningful. Until they do, we don't need to get down on our knees and start begging them for it.

COLMES: No one's saying begging. But, Ambassador Bolton, don't we have to be a willing participant? What has the United States ever made an effort or an overture or a response to Iran's efforts to be part or engage with us as part of the world community? When has that ever happened?

BOLTON: Well, they haven't tried to do that. We talked to them about Afghanistan. We've said for quite some number of years we're prepared to talk to them about Iraq, and we will.

But let me stop you for a minute, because your questions give the impression that nobody has been talking to Iran about its nuclear weapons program, that they're just out there sitting, waiting for the phone to ring.

I think you have to face the fact that the Europeans have been engaged in endless conversations with them for nearly four years on precisely that point. And the Iranians have shown no willingness -- none -- to move away from the strategic decision they've been following for nearly 20 years, to acquire nuclear weapons. What's your answer to that?

HANNITY: Hey, Ambassador, that is a great question here. I took note of two specific things you were saying in the last segment here, that they will never be chatted out of their nukes. And you said, you know, Iran is now thinking that they're on a roll.

Assuming that you are right -- and I actually believe, in fact, you are -- and we know this guy has a propensity for outrageous remarks and has made statements about annihilating innocent countries -- what are the options of the world? And let's assume the world doesn't have the stomach to strike these facilities. What are the possible consequences?

BOLTON: Well, in the short term, what we can do is dramatically ratchet up economic and political pressure. That requires our friends in Europe to join with us in really tough economic sanctions.

And so far, the Europeans have wanted sanctions without pain. That's not going to work. The faster that Iran makes progress toward nuclear weapons, the less likely sanctions can succeed and, in fact, the less likely the regime change option is, leaving us with this question: Would you prefer an Iran with nuclear weapons or the use of military force?

HANNITY: Do you think, Ambassador -- we have an involving political situation in Germany and France. Do you anticipate that that potentially can change Europe's attitudes?

BOLTON: I think it could help increase European willingness to engage in some tough sanctions, but, remember, Iran has had four years to perfect the technology they need for uranium conversion and uranium enrichment. And we now know -- we'll see a report Thursday from the International Atomic Energy Agency to discuss their near-industrial scope uranium enrichment capability now. So every piece of evidence says Iran makes steady progress while we're still talking.

COLMES: Ambassador, we've got to run. To answer your question, I wouldn't leave it to Europe to do our dirty work or our diplomacy for us, to answer the question you posed to me just before. But we thank you both very much for being with us.


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