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Hannity & Colmes Snubs US Troops

Reported by Ellen - August 4, 2005

Yesterday, 8/3/05, the single deadliest roadside bombing of U.S. troops in Iraq killed 14 Marines from the same Ohio battalion that lost six men two days ago. There was other important news from Iraq yesterday as well but none of it got even a mention on last night's Hannity & Colmes. Instead, more than half the show was devoted to the case of the missing, telegenic, Natalee Holloway, and the separate case of a missing newlywed on a cruise.

"Regular guy" Sean Hannity squinted with concern and sympathy for the obviously well-to-do Jug Twitty, whose stepdaughter, Natalee Holloway, disappeared while partying with some boys on an under-chaperoned vacation. As usual, Hannity and co-host (last night it was Bob Beckel subbing for Colmes) deferentially avoided asking any tough questions of the family or anyone else about how and why a teenager could run off with strangers in the middle of the night in a foreign country.

But there was plenty of air time to criticize the Aruban government and analyze how it could have and should have conducted its investigation. On Hannity & Colmes (and probably FOX News as a whole), it seems that respecting the Twitty/Holloway family's grieving process is more important than any other journalistic considerations.

But Hannity did not show a scintilla of interest in the grieving families of Brook Park, Ohio who sacrificed their offspring for their country. Nor has he seemed to care about what the US government might have done or could do in the future to protect other families' sons and daughters. For example:

The Marines who were killed yesterday, according to MSNBC.com, were in an amphibious armored vehicle (AAV), designed to carry troops from ship to shore and on land. According to MSNBC,

Marines often criticize the protection provided by the AAVs. Since the vehicle is also designed to be dropped from ships for coastal assaults, the armor plating is not as heavy as that of the Bradley fighting vehicles the Army uses.

The bombing yesterday was not an anomaly but part of a larger and quite disturbing (though, apparently, not to Sean Hannity) trend. As The New York Times reports today,

In recent months the roadside bombs favored by insurgents in Iraq have grown significantly in size and sophistication, the officers say, adding to their deadliness and defeating efforts to increase troops' safety by adding armor to vehicles.

While Hannity & Colmes regularly delves into the minutia of all the ways that the Aruban authorities have shown favoritism toward the Holloway suspects, it's a safe bet that there will be no discussion on the corruption in Iraq that puts American lives at risk every day. An article in yesterday's New York Times says:

The reformed Iraqi Ministry of Defense, a crucial element of any American plan to withdraw troops, is riddled with crippling problems that have raised concerns about its ability to keep Iraqi units paid, fed and equipped once it assumes full responsibility for the army, American and Iraqi commanders say...

...There are also indications of widespread corruption involving the ministry's purchases of equipment using its own money. Iraqi authorities said last month that they were investigating possible kickbacks in connection with more than $300 million in purchases of defective and outdated helicopters, machine guns and armored personnel carriers by the department's former procurement chief.

...The top-ranked Iraqi military leader, Gen. Abdul Qader Mohammed Jassim, placed blame for many of the army's woes on the decision by the American occupation authorities last year to hire civilians, who lacked extensive military experience.

Equipment purchases and the awarding of contracts have been hampered by cronyism and corruption, he said, and some army commands have been handed out because of family and tribal connections. At one point the buyers at the Defense Ministry chose civilian radios that he said were suitable for taxis, not for the secure communications required for the military.

"The problem is that the Americans made mistakes when they hired the wrong people at the Ministry of Defense," General Jassim said in an interview. "These people are corrupt."

Undoubtedly, the troops and their families are more downscale and less privileged than the Holloway/Twitty families who share every thought and reaction to every development in perfect clothes and expensive hairstyles at least once, often more, every day on Hannity & Colmes. Perhaps if the troops would spiff up their appearance and seem a little more elite, they could get some real air time, too.

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