Hannity falsely claimed Obama, Reid "attack[ed]" U.S. troops in Iraq

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity and John O'Neill, co-founder of the discredited Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, attacked Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) for saying that the American military presence in Iraq is helping to fuel the insurgency there, a position held by several U.S. generals conducting the war in Iraq.

On the May 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity and John O'Neill, co-founder of the discredited Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, attacked Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) for saying that the American military presence in Iraq is helping to fuel the insurgency there, a position held by several U.S. generals conducting the war in Iraq.

Hannity also misquoted Obama, who said on the January 22 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press: "We are an irritant, and we help spur the insurgency even as we're defending a fledgling Iraqi government against that insurgency." Hannity claimed that Obama "said, quote, 'We are helping the insurgency,' unquote."

From the May 18 edition of Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: Here's what is bothering me, John. Barack Obama said, quote, "We are helping the insurgency," unquote. John Kerry himself said American soldiers need not be getting -- going into the homes of Iraqis terrorizing women and children. Harry Reid said our presence is a problem, we're an occupying force. This is almost now coming out on a daily basis, these attacks against our brave men and women.

O'NEILL: Sean, it ought to be possible to oppose a war without trying to vilify the people that were sent to fight it.

However, according to an October 1, 2005, article in the Seattle Times, the U.S. generals leading the Iraq war -- including Army Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq -- have acknowledged that the U.S. military presence in Iraq is helping to fuel the insurgency. From the October 1, 2005, article:

The U.S. generals running the war in Iraq presented a new assessment of the military situation in public comments and sworn testimony this week: The 149,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are increasingly part of the problem.

During a trip to Washington, the generals said the presence of U.S. forces was fueling the insurgency, fostering an undesirable dependency on American troops among the nascent Iraqi military, and energizing terrorists across the Middle East.

For all these reasons, they said, a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops is imperative.

U.S. officials months ago dialed back their expectations of what the U.S. military can achieve in Iraq. But the comments this week showed that commanders believe a large U.S. force in Iraq might in fact be creating problems as well as solutions.

[...]

During his congressional testimony, Army Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, also said that troop reductions were required to "take away one of the elements that fuels the insurgency, that of the coalition forces as an occupying force."

A smaller U.S. presence could deflate some of the anger feeding the insurgency, Casey suggested.

Notably, Hannity has not criticized Casey or the other generals for their remarks.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.