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Hannity & Colmes “Special Edition” Just The Usual Unbalanced Perspective On The Middle East

Reported by Ellen - July 17, 2006 -

I don’t know why FOX News bothered to have a special Sunday edition of Hannity & Colmes last night (6/16/06) since it was more or less a repeat of the same kind of unbalanced discussions about the Middle East crisis that have been going on last week and will probably continue next week: Pro-Israel guests only; no Muslims, no Arabs and no Democrats. The only differences between the panelists’ perspectives seemed to be whether or not the US should get involved militarily and whether or not we should turn this into a military confrontation with Iran. In fact, Iran was mentioned so often that a viewer could be forgiven for thinking that the current conflict involved that country rather than Lebanon.

The first guest was former Vice Presidential candidate, Republican Jack Kemp. Kemp told Sean Hannity that the escalation of tensions “Certainly signals a new effort by both Hamas and Hezbollah to declare war on Israel… Seems to me, Sean, the real culprit behind all of this is both Syria and, particularly, Iran.”

The next guest was Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Peter King. He told Alan Colmes that the United States may be more vulnerable during this time. “We certainly have to be very concerned, particularly because of Iran.” He claimed that Iranian “government trained agents” are around the world to carry out sabotage and “terrorist type activities” and are “in many ways much more sophisticated than Al Qaeda.”(Comment: What, no threat “upgrade” to orange? Or are they saving that for later in the election cycle?) King added, “We’re more vulnerable if we back away from Israel… They are in many ways fighting the fight for us… I would certainly hope that they are given the opportunity to inflict as much damage on Hezbollah as possible over the next several days, the next week, two weeks, if necessary.”

Next came FOX News contributor and former Ambassador who served under Clinton and Bush 41 Dennis Ross who said, “Hezbollah is serving an Iranian agenda.”

On the same panel with Ross was former ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner, who was the only one of the seven guests who said, “I don’t believe there’s a military solution” (though Kemp said diplomacy is right now “the better course of action”). But Wisner never had time to offer much of his thoughts before Hannity interrupted to say that the time was up for that segment. Hannity took the time, however, to express his opinion that negotiating was useless.

Then came a panel of three FOX News military analysts – Colonels David Hunt and Bill Cowan and Captain Chuck Nash – who remained with the show for the rest of the hour.

Cowan said, “I think the Israelis need to do whatever they need to do to get those soliders back… First and foremost, we need to be standing behind Israel, side by side with them, supporting them each and every way that we can… We are not gonna put US military assets on the ground over there to help them. It’s just, unfortunately, not going to happen. I think I’m one of those people who’d say it should… But we’re not likely to do that.”

At 42 minutes into the hour, Hannity said, “Let’s look at this if we can for a moment from Israel’s standpoint.”

“Absolutely – good idea,” Hunt said, apparently believing that we hadn’t seen it yet.

Hannity, who has been salivating over war with Iraq (with other people doing the fighting) since long before the Israeli conflict, asked whether there were connections between the terrorist attacks in India, Bali and elsewhere and the recent actions of Hezbollah and Hamas.

Nash answered, “The keystone, the Blarney Stone if you will, for this international terrorism is Iran. They have a mutual protection and mutual defense treaty with Syria and they have been exchanging high level diplomatic and military delegations back and forth immediately preceding everything that’s happening in Israel. So this is not a coincidence. This is a carefully orchestrated event.”

Throughout the hour, Colmes repeatedly brought forth alternatives to military actions and even raised questions about Israel’s conduct but he was outnumbered by the more bellicose voices surrounding him. “We touched on the idea, Colonel Hunt, of other actors in the region who might be more moderate who could have stepped in, perhaps with the aid of the United States perhaps bringing them together. Does that make sense?”

Hunt responded, “I’m all for that… We’re not there yet.” However, when Colmes brought up the Vatican’s condemnation of Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and asked if there is not “a moral imperative” for Israel to restrain its response, Hunt laughed derisively.

Hannity said, “When we come back, I want to pick up on a point Alan was making here about whether or not a measured response means – that means wait until Iran is nuclear-armed.”

After the break, Hannity announced, “We’ve got to decide: Are we going to be at war with Iran eventually or not?”

Hunt said the Israeli response has been very measured, that its military “could make that place (Lebanon) a glass factory” and they haven’t. “Yes, we are at war… You can’t negotiate with (Iran).”

Guests for Monday night’s show were announced at the end of the hour: Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Newt “This is, in fact, World War III” Gingrich. It promises to be more of the same.