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Oliver North Contradicts Lieberman and McCain On Commanders’ Desire for Troop Escalation

Reported by Ellen - February 12, 2007 -

Oliver North visited Hannity & Colmes Friday night, February 9, 2007, to talk about Happy Iraq and Evil Liberals. But at the end, he let slip to Alan Colmes that military commanders in Iraq never said they wanted more troops, despite the claims of Senators Lieberman and McCain to the contrary. With video.

The segment was ostensibly about William Arkin’s editorial in the Washington Post criticizing US troops for criticizing war critics. In essence, Arkin was arguing on behalf of and about the importance of respecting the First Amendment. Hannity and North conveniently ignored that message in their zeal to paint Arkin as a member of a liberal, traitorous media. The two conservatives held themselves up as champions of America with one hand, then used the other to slap a man who dared to exercise his Constitutional rights.

The segment also served as a teaser for North’s Sunday night show. It seemed to promise an Iraq that has never been happier. Hannity described North’s last trip there as his “eighth trip to the frontline of the war on terror.”

North bragged, “This is Iraq. This is reality television like few people ever get to see it and what we’ve got is some breaking news, in fact, because we give the lie to this myth that the Sunni and the Shia sectarian violence is gonna continue forever. There’s a Sunni Sheikh, of the name of Satar (sp?) who let us go with him as he drove into the recruiting areas, went to the training areas and encouraged the young (Sunnis) to serve side-by-side with Shia soldiers from elsewhere in Iraq. It’s a very positive, upbeat story.”

But Hannity wasn’t interested in the details about "the frontline on the war on terror." The only war he wanted to talk about was his own war against liberals, a war that gets far more coverage on “real journalism” FOX News than the one where our soldiers are actually at risk.

And “soldier” Hannity, who never served when he had the chance, can’t even tell the truth while he’s “fighting.” Hannity lied, “We’ve had instance after instance, Colonel, you know, John Murtha, our troops, are you know, ‘cold-blooded killers.’”

Fact: Murtha did not say our troops are cold-blooded killers, as Hannity must know or ought to know. Murtha said, “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” Unlike Hannity, Murtha is a war veteran. But “patriotic” Hannity smears Murtha with the same distortion every time his name comes up. And Hannity makes a point of bringing up his name – and the distortion – often.

Hannity, feigning ignorance, asked North for his thoughts about “the NBC guy, William Arkin.”

Surprise, surprise! North was ready to attack him. Arkin’s another veteran, but nobody’s patriotism is un-smearable the moment they disagree with a FOX News conservative.

North, convicted of lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra investigation (his conviction was overturned on a technicality) joined in the lie-fest. North Lie #1: (Arkin’s) basically in the same league as Richard “Dick” Durbin who likened America’s troops to those who served Stalin and Hitler and Cambodia’s murderous Pol Pot.

Fact: Durbin never likened America’s troops in such a way. He was describing the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Furthermore, Durbin apologized for having offended anyone with his remarks. Arkin has also apologized. Hannity is always quick to condemn those who did not forgive Mel Gibson and Trent Lott after they apologized. He ought to practice what he preaches even when it’s not ideologically expedient. However, he voiced no objection to North’s mischaracterization and made no mention of either apology.

North Lie # 2, repeating Hannity’s lie: North claimed Arkin was in the “same league with people like Murtha who accuse Marines of cold-blooded murder.”

North continued, “The shame of it is that Mr. Arkin doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I live with these guys. We go out there and we spend months with these guys.” So, if North is saying the troops are not upset about people at home criticizing the war, then why is he?

Once again “patriotic” Sean Hannity was not interested in North’s assessment of what’s happening in Iraq so much as he wanted to sully more of his fellow Americans. “Why is it we’re getting one attack after another?” Hannity asked. “Colonel, we spent the entire week in the United States Senate… and the idea that we have the United States Senate (debating)… I call it the ‘Embolden Our Enemies’ Act.”

North was happy to join in the slurs. “This is the first war America has ever fought in which we get our news from the enemy. An awful lot of the footage that the American people have been treated to, ever since Baghdad was liberated, is footage shot by people from Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, Egypt TV, Lebanon TV – in other words, reporters who stand on balconies and report from inside the Green Zone, and who put that up as news – it’s basically coverage that was obtained from people traveling with our enemies.”

Comment: Last I checked, none of those countries were our enemies. Al-Arabiya is based in Dubai, the same emirate to whom Bush nearly turned over US port security. But Hannity let that untruth go unchallenged.

When Colmes’ turn began, he quickly corrected the record by noting that Murtha “turned out to have correct information” and Durbin was talking about “treatment at Gitmo.”

North began to sputter with superciliousness. “Alan, let’s deal with these one at a time here,” North said. “There’s absolutely no proof of what Mr. Murtha said because those trials have not taken place yet.”

“There have been convictions and confessions,” Colmes told him. Note: Colmes seems to have been referring to the incident at Hamdaniya, not the one at Haditha that Murtha spoke of. However, Colmes is correct that Murtha has been proven right. Murtha was not talking about the guilt of any particular soldier, he was talking about the incident at Haditha as a whole. Even FOXNews.com has an article stating that the evidence indicates unarmed civilians were killed and under circumstances contradicting the Marines’ version of events.

Colmes also noted that Arkin was writing for the Washington Post, not NBC, when he made the comments North demanded be retracted. Colmes continued, “Arkin was talking about in spite of Gitmo, in spite of some of these allegations, the American people still DO support the troops. That’s what Arkin said.”

North looked flummoxed. He invited “any of the ones that you just named” to come with him to Al-Anbar province in Iraq where “American soldiers, Marines and sailors are training and equipping Iraqis and fighting side by side with them and winning a war that they say can’t be won.” Comment: If North thinks the Iraq war is being won, I’d hate to know what losing looks like.

Colmes then asked North about a comment he made on O’Reilly’s show in January opposing the troop surge because the soldiers opposed it.

North insisted he had not changed his views, that while he had not been for more troops, now that the president has made the decision, he supports it.

North continued, “I was there with the same guys who briefed John McCain and Joe Lieberman and they told (McCain and Lieberman) the same thing and they walked out of the briefing and said (the military) wanted 20,000 more troops. Now go figure. And I know what was said because I lived with those same guys.”

Colmes asked, “What did the troops say? They said they did or did not want reinforcements?”

“They said what they wanted were more trainers, more MTT’s, these military transition teams, these police transition teams, that are working in Al-Anbar to bring Sunni and Shia to work together against Al Qaeda. That’s what they said they wanted, not 20,000 more combat troops.”

Oops, time was up, despite the fact that Colmes got approximately a minute less time than Hannity.

Was North telling the truth about the troops’ desire for a surge? Did Lieberman and McCain accurately present the troops’ views? I report. You decide.