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Despite FOX News Efforts To Make Iraq Look Happy, General Tommy Franks Agrees With Iraq Study Group Report That War Is Not Going Well

Reported by Ellen - December 7, 2006 -

Hannity & Colmes took time out of their busy schedule investigating black racism to discuss the just-released Iraq Study Group report last night (12/6/06). Retired General Tommy Franks was the sole guest. Given the high stakes for George Bush in the subject, “fair and balanced” FOX News apparently felt they couldn’t risk having a war critic take part in the discussion. So instead of multiple guest viewpoints, they gave Franks two segments. But even so, Franks did not provide the Happy-Iraq-except-for-the-damage-caused-by-Democrats assessment for which Sean Hannity so obviously desired.

Predictably, the focus of the discussion was more on Franks’ reaction to the report, rather than much of the report’s substance. There was absolutely no mention of some of the more stinging assessments of Iraq: that it faces a "slide toward chaos [that] could trigger the collapse of Iraq's government and a humanitarian catastrophe,” or "[Iraqis] have been liberated from the nightmare of tyrannical order only to face the nightmare of brutal violence,” or Co-Chairman Lee Hamilton’s statement that the situation in Iraq is so grave, “We do not know if it can be turned around, but we think we have an obligation to try.”

Franks, who has come under criticism, himself, for his early management of the war (not discussed on H&C), started off the interview with the surprising statement that he agrees with the Baker-Hamilton report that Iraq policy is not working. But, he insisted, “I don’t believe it’s deteriorating… There is a way forward.” He never made it clear what that way is, probably because nobody asked him, but he agreed with the Iraq Study Group “100%” that the US military cannot succeed by itself. He added, “I am hopeful the White House will pay attention to those recommendations.”

You could almost feel Sean Hannity cringing off-camera at the hint of negotiations. Hannity never saw fit to serve when he had the chance but now that it’s out of the question, he has been salivating for more war, not less. He pressed Franks to say we will win in Iraq. “General, you don’t doubt when America – if they put their time, energy, focus, resources – no one’s denying there’s been mistakes, no one’s denying we can improve – I think there are some solid recommendations here but if we put our focus on this, we will win. Do you agree with that?”

No, Franks didn’t. There was a long pause. “Um,” Franks said before stumbling through the next sentence. “I think, I, I think I agree with the, uh, group or the committee recommendation that says there’s no magic here, Sean. There is no certainty.”

Hannity continued, “Do you support the idea of sitting down at the table and negotiating with a guy who denies the Holocaust existed and opening up discussions with Syria and Iran?”

“Yes,” Franks said, dashing Hannity’s hopes for a fellow World War III advocate. “I’m a guy who believes that talking is better than fighting.”

Hannity pressed, “We have to have victory.”

Franks caved somewhat to the pressure. He said “victory” is the wrong term but that he’s for “success… probably very close to your definition of victory.”

Alan Colmes noted that in a previous appearance on the show, Franks had said the war is going well. Colmes asked if General Franks had changed his assessment since then.

There was another long pause. “Um…. I have, um, I’ve thought an awful lot about it… I believe that some pieces of our work in Iraq continue to go well. I believe other pieces have not gone well.” He went on to say that he doesn’t think a good job has been done solving the unemployment problem, or the oil infrastructure problem. “There is more to it than just trying to decide whether we add 50,000 troops or take home 50,000 troops, there are lots and lots of pieces involved in this and I just would like to see a lot more public discussion of the other pieces.”

Don’t hold your breath waiting for it on FOX News. Immediately following Franks, Oliver North reported in on good news only coming out of Ramadi.

You can watch the interview on FOXNews.com.