On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney purported to "lay out a campaign today that will take Iran down very quickly," agreeing with host Bill O'Reilly that the military strategy for this "would be all air, no infantry, and maybe some Special Forces trying to help." But in 2002, McInerney promised that the military campaign in Iraq, which has now lasted longer than three years, would be "shorter" than the 42 days it took to complete the Persian Gulf War in 1991."
On the April 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, while discussing the potential use of military action to thwart Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons, Fox News military analyst retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney purported to "lay out a campaign today that will take Iran down very quickly." When asked by host Bill O'Reilly if his military strategy "would be all air, no infantry, and maybe some Special Forces trying to help," McInerney responded that was "correct." But neither McInerney nor O'Reilly mentioned that McInerney also said in 2002 that the military campaign in Iraq, which has now lasted longer than three years, would be "shorter" than the 42 days it took to complete the Persian Gulf War in 1991, adding, "It is going to be absolutely awesome, and that's why this war, if we do it properly, will go very quick, and we'll have less civilian casualties than we did last time."
During an interview on the December 20, 2002, edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, McInerney claimed that the U.S. invasion of Iraq would be bolstered by "air power" that is "at least 10 times more effective than it was in 1991":
GIBSON (host): If we do go to war with Iraq, some military planners are expecting a blitzkrieg in Baghdad, a war that would be significantly shorter than the 1990 Gulf War. So just what does our strategy include?
Joining me, retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, who is also a Fox News military analyst. I mean, how short can this be? The Gulf War was, what, 100 hours?
MCINERNEY: Well, the Gulf War on the ground was 100 hours. It was 42 days -- 38 in the air and then four days on the ground. So it will be a war that is shorter than that, John. We have a little different objectives, although we've got a larger terrain to cross to accomplish it. So it will be more complex.
MCINERNEY: The air power is 10 -- at least 10 times more effective than it was in 1991. What do I mean by that? We had 150 airplanes that could probably drop smart weapons in those days. Now we've got over 1,500, probably 2,000. We have the joint direct attack munition, it operates in all kinds of weather. And we have the B-2s and the bombers that can drop anywhere from 12, 16, or 24 bombs, precision, at different targets all at once. So we have three new aircraft carriers over there. We've got the Joint STARS [Surveillance Target Attack Radar System], which maps anything on the ground that's moving. And, so we can immediately send that to the ground troops as well as to the airplanes in the air through command and control that would move our fighters or bombers into those areas if a division was moving. It is going to be absolutely awesome, and that's why this war, if we do it properly, will go very quick, and we'll have less civilian casualties than we did last time.
From the April 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: The argument is -- and I understand, you don't go into a negotiation and take military action off the table, because then your position is weakened. But the argument is that the USA screwed up the Iraq conflict so bad and we are in so deep, that you shouldn't even be considering any other military action.
McINERNEY: Well, first of all, we didn't. It was a brilliant campaign done in 21 days, very similar to the campaign that [Maj.] General [Paul] Vallely and I laid out a year before. And I can lay out a campaign today that will take Iran down very quickly. We'll do it a different way. But the fact is, we have lots of capability. We are not pinned down in Iraq, despite what people think. We are not pinned down there.
O'REILLY: I hope we get the coalition, because that is vital. I said that on the radio. All right. We got two minutes. Lay out the military campaign as it might come down, if all other options are exhausted.
McINERNEY: OK. It's a powerful air campaign that we will hit within 36 to 48 hours, over 1,500 aim points. And those are primarily nuclear sites for the development. We'll hit this integrated air defense system. We'll take his air force out, his navy out. We'll take his command and control out and his Shahab-3, his retaliatory missiles. We'll take them out.
And then, simultaneously, we'll have a covert campaign in which we'll help the Iranian people retake their country. Now, they have a mixture of people there, Bill, that only 51 percent are Persian. You've got about 24 percent Azerbaijanians [sic], about 10 percent Kurds. That's 85 percent. It is ripe for political discontent and ripe to let the people have their country back. The mullahs are not beloved in that country, and so with a skillful air campaign to neutralize their command and control and their ability to respond, and then putting the effort, as we did in Afghanistan and very similar to what [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini did against the shah, let the people have their country back.
O'REILLY: All right, so it would be all air, no infantry, and maybe Special Forces trying to help --