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Colmes To Swift Boat Vet O'Neill: When you question people’s Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts, you’re undermining the military and it’s shameful

Reported by Ellen - November 3, 2006 -

Just two days ago, I jokingly wondered if Hannity & Colmes would bring back the Swift Boat Vets to drag John Kerry through the mud a little longer. To my surprise, that’s exactly what happened last night, 11/2/06. Hannity and Swift Boat Vet John O’Neill were all fired up with self-righteous smear-mongering as they tried to use Kerry’s Viet Nam activism as proof that he has hated the troops all along. As they enthusiastically threw epithets and ad hominem flames at Kerry, one had to question how much anybody cares what Kerry thinks of the troops, what he meant or did not mean to say and whether he properly apologized. In the end, Alan Colmes got the best line.

The interview was billed as a “Hannity & Colmes exclusive” but, as Media Matters points out, O’Neill had already appeared on Mark Levin’s radio program earlier in the day with, essentially, the same message. So much for truth in journalism.

Hannity, in his lead-in to the discussion, gloated over “the goods” he thought he had on Kerry by gleefully dredging up a 1972 statement in which Kerry said that a volunteer army “would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown.”

Alan Colmes was at his best last night. He confronted O’Neill by saying “You’ve made a career of bashing Kerry. Can you at least honestly acknowledge that he was not bashing the troops the other day? …Let’s be honest here, shall we?”

O’Neill insisted he had not made a career of bashing Kerry and that Kerry is “a serial assaulter and liar about our troops.” He was referring, of course, to Kerry’s statements in the 70’s about the Viet Nam war.

Colmes went on to point out why O’Neill’s attacks against Kerry have been discredited. Suddenly, O’Neill was interested in focusing only on the present. “We’re not here on that, Alan. If a whole nation heard him describe the people in Iraq as dumb people stuck there, Alan, there’s no way of spinning that.”

Hannity, however, was stuck in the past. He started off by bringing up – who else, Clinton. With his sincere face and his squinted eyes feigning deep consideration, Hannity uttered, “The Clintonian parsing defense is embarrassing and, frankly, offensive to the intelligence of the American people.” Hannity went on to re-iterate his hackneyed distortions of the comments of Kerry, Durbin and Murtha about the conduct of the War on Terror. As usual, Hannity’s ultimate goal was to smear his fellow Americans who dare to exercise their First Amendment rights and voice their political opinions. “The relevancy here is this is an ONGOING campaign that does undermine the troops and the Commander-in-Chief. Isn’t that what’s an issue here?” Wrongo. As anyone who watches Hannity more than five minutes knows, what’s really the issue is smearing Democrats. As anyone who watched Hannity & Colmes last winter knows, General Tommy Franks, General Paul Vallely and Colonel Oliver North each told the non-serving Hannity that debate about the war has no effect on either troop morale or effectiveness. But Hannity has conveniently ignored their answers in a sustained effort to goad his guests into joining his attacks.

“Absolutely… It demoralizes them terribly” O’Neill agreed, without offering a lick of proof, other than a photo of some soldiers with a banner saying “Halp us Jon Carry – We R Stuck hear n Irak.” O’Neill added, also without evidence, “You know who’s laughing? The Al-Qaeda’s laughing.”

After a couple of flames about Kerry’s dishonesty, O’Neill didn’t mind talking about the past again. He reminisced about the 2004 election and Kerry’s “stories” about being in Cambodia, “all finally revealed not to be the truth. It’s just another – this is a guy to whom words mean nothing. He thinks if he can slither away, the country will forget about him.”

But Colmes got in the best line at the end, as the segment was closing. “Mr. O’Neill, when you question people’s Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts, you’re undermining the military and it’s shameful what you’re doing.”

Hannity tried to bully his way into stopping the exchange but it didn’t work. O’Neill responded, “Well, I stand by each and every deal. And the problem is, the whole country knows about it now.”

Earth to John O'Neill and Sean Hannity: It's 2006, not 2004, and the whole country has moved on.

You can watch the video of this segment on FOXNews.com.