Iraq, The Vote: 'His Tactical Decisions Are Pitiful'

J$P Instant Transcript! Major Bob Bevelacqua assesses day one of the voting.

From Fox & Friends Sunday, January 30 2005:

JULIET HUDDY [FOX NEWS]: Today's election is obviously a major step. How is it going to affect the lives of regular Iraqis?

MIKE JERRICK [FOX NEWS]: Let's ask Major Bob Bevelacqua, a Fox News military analyst and author of Major Bob Unvarnished--

HUDDY: Look at that picture!

JERRICK: --and a man who's been up all night here on Fox News Channel. Well you were here right when the polls opened at 7 o'clock Baghdad time; they've got about 2 and a half hours to go. How do you think it's going?

MAJOR BOB BEVELACQUA: I think it's going great. It seems that voter turnout is high. It seems that the attacks are low. And I said this last night and I'll say it again, Zarqawi needs to look for a new line of work because he's being put out of business. The Iraqi people refuse to be intimidated; they are completely innocuous to the attacks, and they are going to go out and get actively involved in rebuilding the country.

HUDDY: We had a guest on yesterday who said they think violence will actually increase, be more likely to increase, after the elections because the insurgents will try to say, hey look, you might have had an election, you might have had people turn out, but nothing has changed.

BEVELACQUA: Absolutely Juliet, I agree with that. And I would say that if the insurgents don't do that, it is a real demonstration of their inability to continue to do whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. That's what they've been bragging about. And I've seen the CDs they pass out in the streets. We can attack any target, any time, anywhere, our choosing, and the Americans are powerless to defend against it. So if they don't step it up, especially today, if they don't step it up, I think it's demonstrating that our forces and the Iraqis have really affected their ability to conduct operations.

JERRICK: And if they're not going to do it today, which seems like--

BEVELACQUA: When are you going to do it?

JERRICK: --when are you going to do it? Unless a lot of Suni nationalists, maybe, would say, oh this election was illegitimate because look, there's hardly any Sunis on this National Assembly, even though I don't think that is going to be the case.

BEVELACQUA: And they do that anyways. I've never heard so much complaining in my life. And for the most part, a lot of the Iraqis that I've dealt with are very solid people. They're very stubborn and very thickheaded. You can give them $100 and they tell you that you should have given me 110. Why are you just giving me $100, what are you trying to say? So I expect that kind of feedback from some of the Sunis, not all.

HUDDY: You've heard what Senator Kennedy said about pulling the troops out immediately after the election, or at least starting to pull them out immediately after the election. Tony Blair suggested pulling the troops out of some of the calmer areas, and the President said that was an option but he hasn't fleshed the idea out yet with Prime Minister Blair. What do you think about that?

BEVELACQUA: Well I think Ted Kennedy should stick to politics, because his tactical decisions are really pitiful. We can't leave now, absolutely not. Really, Iraq's not a country yet; it's a concept. And we're writing a 25-chapter book, we're five chapters into it, so we're going to leave now? That makes absolutely no sense. We have to stay the course.

JERRICK: Now we'll start counting the ballots I think on Tuesday, probably won't know for maybe a week or 10 days who won in the transitional government. President Bush said last week, if they ask us to leave, we'll leave. But I think he'd be shocked and you'd be shocked if the people in charge of this transitional government would ask us to leave.

BEVELACQUA: I've seen surveys done of the population of Baghdad, and to the letter, the last priority that any Iraqi has on their list of this is what I want in my nation is the withdrawal of coalition forces. That is the last thing they want. And that falls true within the 279 different political parties that exist. They don't want to see us leave because they know it's going to be chaos. So I very seriously doubt we're going to see that.

HUDDY: What do think is going on in the minds right now of the leaders of countries like Iran, Syria?

BEVELACQUA: "Oh My God." I think Assad in Syria is very concerned, and he should be. And I think some of the mullahs in Iran are becoming very concerned. And I would tell you that countries like Saudi Arabia are probably tightening up their [unintelligible] because they realize that, if this works and it takes hold, it is infectious.

JERRICK: And what do you think of the everyday people in Iran, who are trying to get democracy started in that country, going, "Yeah"?

BEVELACQUA: I think it's great. And I will tell you I think they're watching this closely. That's one thing that nobody can dispute: the world is watching this. Which is why it's so important that it is a success.

HUDDY: Major Bob Unvarnished: Why We Keep Making the Same Mistakes, that's the book. Congratulations--

JERRICK: A great job, all through this.

BEVELACQUA: Thank you.

JERRICK: Go to bed.

HUDDY: Go to sleep.

BEVELACQUA: Yeah, I will.

posted: Sun - January 30, 2005 at 12:02 PM       j$p  send