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"War Expert" Sean Hannity Thinks He Knows Better Than Former CENTCOM Commander General Tommy Franks

Reported by Ellen - December 5, 2005

One night after General Tommy Franks, leader of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and former Commander-in-Chief of the occupation forces, told Sean Hannity that political dissent at home had no harmful effects on troop morale, Sean Hannity insisted - without providing any evidence - that it did. Then he accused a Democrat for not having "the moral courage" to agree with him.

On Thursday night's show (12/1/05), Hannity asked General Franks, "Is it undermining of the troops, does it hurt morale, General, when you hear leading Democrats repeatedly say, 'Our president lied to put them in the position that they're in,' in harm's way, that he hyped, that he misled purposely. When leaders of our country, leaders of the opposition party say that - you're saying that that doesn't have an affect on the troops?"

Franks said he didn't think so and that our troops "understand the political process in this country."

It seems to me that General Franks is in a position to know better than Hannity who has neither served in the military nor visited Iraq. But one night later (12/2/05), Hannity completely ignored Franks' opinion and repeated his own now-discredited allegations as if they were never in doubt.

The discussion was about Congressman Murtha's criticism of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. The two guests were Congressman Tim Murphy, Republican, and Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall. Each guest disagreed with Murtha's statements that Bush should immediately implement a timetable for withdrawal.

But rather than discuss the pro's and con's (or, in this case, the con's and con's) of what Murtha specifically said, Hannity changed the subject to blame Democrats all over again for hurting troop morale.

In a nearly identical version of what he asked Franks, Hannity told Marshall that it's "very destructive when you have your fellow Democrats saying our army is broken, worn out, living hand to mouth. When you have Democrats saying it's time to get out, artificial timetables and saying that the Commander-in-Chief lied, distorted, hyped and misled the troops. Is that the thing to do during a time of war, sir?"

Marshall said we ought to distinguish between the past and the future, that we need to focus on where we are now and how to get to the best resolution.

Hannity said he wasn't asking about that (read, Marshall didn't fall for the trick question) and repeated his allegations. "Is that appropriate language... They're saying it now, while our troops are in harm's way. Why don't you have the moral courage to say your party is wrong?"

I so wish Marshall had asked Hannity why, if General Franks had said the criticism did not harm the troops, Hannity didn't have the moral courage to admit he's wrong. But Marshall said what was probably the next best thing. "In a democracy, you've got to be able to debate. Political leaders have got to be able to debate."

Not done with grandstanding, Hannity repeated (with great dramatic flourish) that "the language that is being used on a daily basis about our commander and about our trops, I believe is undermining our troops."

Once again, it would have been a terrific moment for Marshall to ask what evidence Hannity has for that belief and even better if he had added that General Franks had refuted it one night before. Instead, Rep. Murphy answered that he believes the criticism does affect the morale of the troops, certainly of the enemy.

"Definitely," said Hannity, still not offering any proof.

Time was up. Alan Colmes interrupted to end the discussion by saying, "If they're fighting for what they say is our way of life, and our liberties and freedoms, that includes the right to debate, which is important in a democracy. You can't ever give that up."

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