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FOX Military Analyst Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis Labels the British Hostages "Cowards"

Reported by Marie Therese - April 9, 2007 -

Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis is a FOX News Military Analyst. Last Thursday, April 5, 2007, he appeared on Your World with Neil Cavuto and called the fifteen released British sailors cowards because, in his opinion, they too quickly caved in to Iranian pressure. Like so many FOX contributors, Maginnis has a background that the FOX viewers never hear about. For instance, he is a frequent guest on a Christian radio program entitled Jimmy DeYoung's Prophecy Today Weekly, making Maginnis just another rapture Christians that FOX News deceptively and incompletely labels as an "expert" or "contributor" or "analyst."

Col. Maginnis was pretty active in the late 1990s and early 2000s as Director of National Security and Foreign Affairs for James Dobson's uber-Christian lobbying group and think tank, Family Research Council, currently run by Tony Perkins.

He wrote several articles opposing allowing gays to serve in the military. Many of these articles are listed on gay activist websites, but the links no longer work. In a very curious development, when one enters the name "Bob Maginnis" into the search engine on the FRC website, one gets zero results.

According to a conservative site called Ether Zone, Col. Maginnis "worked on the military’s super-secret black budget program." The retired Colonel seems to wear many hats.

As for the FOX News appearance last Thursday, Neil Cavuto started off the segment by introducing the two guests, Maginnis and Robert McGovern, author of "All American: Why I Believe in Football, God and the War in Iraq."

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX News: "So, heroes under the gun or cowards under pressure? Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis says 'cowards." Captain Robert McGovern says 'heroes.' ... So, Col. McGinnis to you first. Not pleased with their performance?"

COL. BOB MAGINNIS: "Well, it looks like Holiday in Tehran. You ment - indicated there, Neil, that they were standing in front of Ahmadinejad, and you know they were thanking him for their kind treatment, for letting them go. He was giving them Persian candy and all sorts of souvenirs to take home. And then, by the way, get on this airplane and have a happy Easter. Now, this is great politics. It plays well, perhaps, across the world but the reality is they won big time, the Iranians. In other words, no penalty. Essentially, the oil went way up. He padded his pocketbook in a time of inflation and unemployment. Certainly he bloodied the nose of a key western ally, and, of course, you know, he's the big hegemon in that part of the world, par excellence and he has great ambitions and it looks as if he might realize those."

CAVUTO: "Captain McGovern, if the Colonel is right, though, a lot of the fault lies in the attitude and the way these soldiers themselves acted. Do you agree with that?"

Captain McGovern defended the actions of the British sailors, claiming that they "did the best they could under the circumstances. They were in capitivity. They were under duress, for certain. Anyone in captivity would be. The parade that we saw on TV was directed by the Iranians. I'm certain those sailors weren't asking to do those things. ... They didn't give the Iranians anything of real value."

Cavuto then asked Maginnis "Whatever happened to name, rank and serial number?", apparently forgetting that it was British and not American soldiers who were captured. Maginnis answered that this was more of a PR than an intelligence success for Iran and went on to say that every time the United Nations had considered sanctioning Iran, they "kidnap somebody. They did it last summer in Israel. They did it again and they'll do it again. There's no penalty being paid by these people."

(N.B. The Israeli soldiers were captured by Palestinians and by the Lebanese group Hezbollah, not by Iran, as Maginns claimed. He offered no support for his assertion.)

Cavuto then referred to an earlier conversation with an unidentified former hostage in which that person said that "normally when you start doing stuff and pointing to maps and doing what the enemy wants you to do, you wait some time - it doesn't happen right away and your captors know they're not gonna have much success having you do it right away." The clear implication of the question was that the British acted in a less-than-sterling manner. Captain McGovern once again disagreed.

However, Bob Maginnis was more than willing to provide Cavuto with the response he wanted the FOX viewers to hear, i.e. that the British sailors were "too cooperative" with their captors.