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FOX Trots Out Swift Boat Vet To Rescue Bush

Reported by Ellen - December 6, 2005

In what seemed like a desperate attempt to bolster Bush's sagging image, Swift Boat Vet John O'Neill sailed back to FOX News to resurrect his attacks on John Kerry who severely criticised the war in Iraq over the weekend. Just a few hours after O'Neill appeared on Big Story, he was back and the sole guest for the top story on Hannity & Colmes. But while O'Neill's allegations during the presidential campaign had a certain distracting appeal while John Kerry was a candidate, they also had a certain amount of credibility because O'Neill was actually serving at the same time as Kerry. Last night, O'Neill looked like an out-of-touch has-been still fighting last year's campaign and without showing any expertise about the situation in Iraq.

Alan Colmes introduced the discussion by explaining that conservatives are outraged by statements John Kerry made on Face The Nation on Sunday. A clip showed Kerry saying there is no reason for young soldiers to go into Iraqi homes in the dead of night, terrorizing young and old and violating religious customs. Colmes said conservatives liken Kerry's statements to his testimony before Congress about the Vietnam war.

O'Neill, who obviously hasn't lost a bit of the deep-seated hatred he has carried for Kerry since the Vietnam war, called Kerry's accusations "a cowardly attack."

Colmes pointed out that Kerry's facts were backed up by a Red Cross Report, posted on the screen, that made the same allegations:

Arresting authorities entered houses usually after dark, breaking down doors, waking up residents roughly, yelling orders, forcing family members into one room under military guard while searching the rest of the house and further breaking doors, cabinets and other property. They arrested suspects tying their hands in the back with flexi-cuffs, hooding them, and taking them away. Sometimes they arrested all adult males present in a house, including elderly, handicapped or sick people. Treatment often included pushing people around, insulting, taking aim with rifles, punching and kicking and striking with rifles.

O'Neill responded lamely, "It's also a war and even the Red Cross didn't call that terrorizing people."

An outraged Colmes wasn't buying it. The usually affable Colmes came close to shouting, "You don't call that terrorizing? Kicking people in the head? Hitting them with rifles? You don't call that terrorizing? Elderly people? Children in those houses?"

"There wasn't anything about innocent people in what you read, Alan."

"Yes, elderly! Children!"

O'Neill claimed, without providing any facts to back it up, that our troops have gone "way beyond normal" to avoid innocent casualties. "Nobody can look at what's happened there and not realize it."

Before Colmes could respond, Hannity interrupted to take his turn. Once again, Hannity launched into a diatribe against Democrats for criticising the war effort "while our troops are in harm's way." Once again, Hannity "forgot" that just a few days ago, former CENTCOM commander Tommy Franks (who ought to know) said this kind of debate was not harmful to morale.

"What are they thinking? What is the Democratic party thinking? Or do they not think about these troops in harm's way?" Hannity finished with great flourish.

"They could care less," O'Neill said. He went on to cite now-irrelevant statistics from a poll showing that Kerry got only about 14% of Army active duty troops' votes. He asked the now-irrelevant question, "Who would ever want to be commanded by John Kerry?"

Hannity sounded like he was trying to be contemplative while he made the same point he always makes, night after night - the same point just recently discredited by General Franks. "What does this do to the morale of the troops? Does it put them in greater harm's way?"

O'Neill answered, "There are a lot of kids out there, with Christmas approaching, that are in a more dangerous situation tonight because John Kerry chose to characterize them as terrorizing women and children. That's a comment that will obviously be played all over the Arab world."

Colmes interrupted to end the segment but added that what Kerry said was in "a well-researched report" from the Red Cross.

O'Neill repeated, "There was nothing about terrorizing."

I wonder if they'll have Paula Jones on tomorrow to discuss Hillary Clinton.

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