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Oliver North Conflates Fighting A War With Reporting On One

Reported by Ellen - March 20, 2008 -

Hannity & Colmes’ commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war last night (3/19/08) was not exactly reality based. The only guest was convicted liar Oliver North (his conviction was overturned on a technicality). North bragged that if John McCain wins the election, there’s no doubt we’ll have a victory, that Iraqis would be a big ally to the US in the War on Terror and helping to build a “firewall” against Iran. Then North indicated that covering the war was the same thing as fighting in one. Noting that he’s been to Iraq nine times in the five years since the war began, North bragged, “I’ve now spent more time in this war than I did when I was a young man leading the Marines in a place called Viet Nam.” With video.

Two thirds of the country opposes the war but, like Cheney, FOX News seems to think, “So?” No war opponent took part in the discussion. Viewers saw a clip from Bush’s statement yesterday saying the war was “the right decision.” The “balance” was clips of angry war protesters having a confrontation with police. The implication that they were unhinged was clear.

North was the only guest. After the footage of the protesters, he said snidely to substitute co-host Kirsten Powers, “Kirsten, must be spring break time in Washington DC.”

Powers giggled, “Exactly,” she said.

Powers asked no hard questions about the war. “Where do you think we’ll be in five years? Let’s say John McCain becomes president.”

In that case, North said, “There’s no doubt we’ll have a victory in Iraq.” No argument from Powers or even a question about why we might need to stay another 90 years afterward.

North also predicted that 25-30,000 Americans would be “somewhere out in the desert, training with the Iraqis, and providing that kind of firewall that you need against the Iranians.”

No debate from Powers about that, either. Instead, she asked blandly, “What gives you the sense of optimism that we would be able to achieve something like that in the next five years?”

North answered, “I’ve now spent more time in this war than I did when I was a young man leading the Marines in a place called Viet Nam.”

"Mmm, hmm," Powers agreed

North continued, “(Our forces) are building a country that’s going to be a very close ally to the United States in a jihad that was launched against us unprovoked, I would point out, on 9/11.”

When Hannity broke in, he somehow didn’t want to talk about the war he thinks is so terrific. No, Hannity wanted to attack Democrats and the mainstream media for not covering the war, even while he was studiously avoiding covering it. “Why aren’t we hearing anything (about the war or the surge in the media)? Is it because it’s been so successful?” Hannity asked. So why did FOX News wait until almost the end of the show to run this segment? Because Barack Obama’s pastor is more important?

Then, still ignoring what’s actually happening in this successful war, Hannity tried to prompt North into one of Hannity’s favorite attacks on Democrats: Blaming them for undermining troop morale: “You spent more time with the troops,” Hannity asked. “What impact (does Democratic opposition) have on their morale?

None, said North. “Out where the guys are out there on the ground, they truly watch very little of the media because they’re so intent on what their task is in front of them.. The reality of it is, they’re working 19-20 hours a day, getting a little sleep, getting a little chow and a lot of water this time of year.”

In fact, Hannity has already been told by several high-ranking officers (including North in a previous interview) that opposition to the war has no effect on troop morale. But it’s a near certainty that Hannity will ignore North’s answer and insist that Democrats are undermining troop morale at the very next opportunity