Ann Coulter refused to explain -- and even expanded upon -- her recent claim that Rep. John P. Murtha is "the reason soldiers invented fragging," military slang meaning the intentional killing of a member of one's own unit. On a Denver radio show, Coulter referred to her fragging comment as one of her "best lines" and refused to confirm that she was not "suggesting that anybody should off John Murtha," stating only: "It is what it is." On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Coulter further expanded upon her statement, asserting that if Murtha "did get fragged, he'd finally deserve one of those Purple Hearts."
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On June 20 and 21, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter refused to explain -- and even expanded upon -- her recent claim that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) is "the reason soldiers invented fragging," military slang meaning the intentional killing of a member of one's own unit. On the June 20 broadcast of the Mike Rosen Show on Denver's Newsradio 850 KOA, Coulter referred to her fragging comment as one of her "best lines" and refused to confirm to host Rosen that she was not "suggesting that anybody should off John Murtha," stating only: "It is what it is." On the June 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Coulter further expanded upon her statement, asserting that if Murtha "did get fragged, he'd finally deserve one of those Purple Hearts," referring to the two Purple Hearts Murtha was awarded during his service in the Vietnam War. Coulter first suggested Murtha is "the reason soldiers invented fragging" in an interview with the website Right Wing News.
Also on Hannity & Colmes, Coulter discussed the June 21 press conference held by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), during which the lawmakers advanced the claim that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, referring to the discovery of hundreds of inactive, deteriorated chemical weapons shells buried by Iraqis during the 1988 war with Iran. Coulter asserted that Democrats have "affection ... for terrorists" because they point out that the weapons discovered "weren't that bad." When Colmes challenged Coulter to name "[w]hat liberal has affection for terrorists," Coulter responded by suggesting that Colmes was "defending" Saddam Hussein" by "trying to minimize" the discovery of the shells.
Despite Coulter's touting of the purported WMD discovery, intelligence officials confirmed that the shells Santorum and Hoekstra spoke of were not part of the suspected weapons that the United States went to war over, and the Iraq Survey Group's September 2004 final report (also known as the Duelfer Report) had already noted that "a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions" were discovered after the invasion, as the weblog Think Progress noted.
From the June 20 broadcast of the Mike Rosen Show:
ROSEN: Ann Coulter -- our guest. Her latest book, Godless, The Church of Liberalism. You were doing an interview with John Hawkins, who's on a website called Right Wing News. And that he did some -- a stream-of-consciousness exercise with you. Rattled off some names and asked you for a word or two. He said Cindy Sheehan. You said "the Dennis Rodman of the peace movement." He said Joe Wilson, you said the world's most -- "the world's most intensive -- intensely private exhibitionist." Michael Moore: "Rumors of his depth -- his depth are greatly exaggerated." George Bush: "my Commander In Chief." John McCain: "war hero, let's leave it at that." Alec Baldwin: "our main source of so-called greenhouse gases." And then John Murtha, and you said "the reason soldiers invented fragging."
You've taken a lot of heat for that. In context, this -- these are just off-the-top-of-your-head remarks regarding a whole list of people. What -- what's been your reaction to the criticism that you've taken for the Murtha comment?
COULTER: I wasn't aware I'd taken criticism, but I'm glad some of my best lines are getting out.
ROSEN: You don't have any reservations about that line?
ROSEN: You're not --
COULTER: No. In fact, I can save you a lot of time.
COULTER: You can quote anything I've said back to me and ask me if I have reservations, if I would have done it differently, if I would have said it differently -- do I have any regrets? The answer is no. Now, we may move back to the book.
ROSEN: All right, but you're not -- you're not suggesting that anybody should off John Murtha?
COULTER: It is what it is.
ROSEN: OK. Let's talk about some other things in the book. When you talk about the Church of Liberalism, we talk about religious zeal associated to political -- associated with political issues. For example, so many people on the left embrace environmentalism as a quasi-religion, especially people who are more secularly oriented to begin with. What's your take on environmentalism as a religious crusade?
From the June 21 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity & Colmtes:
HANNITY: How about liberals now apologize to the country? How about, for the exploitation --
COULTER: Oh, there are so many things for them to apologize to. I just don't think I can bear to listen to it that long. What we've found out today is that there are more weapons of mass destruction. They found plenty of weapons of mass destruction.
HANNITY: Five hundred, but that's not enough.
COULTER: Right. But, I mean, until now, we didn't know about the stockpiles, which gives yet another reason for having gone to war in Iraq, in addition to all the ones the president gave about the humanitarian reasons, freeing Iraqis from the rape rooms, from this barbaric dictator, establishing a democracy in the Middle East, and getting a foothold for our military in this -- in this barbaric part of the world. This is yet another reason -- and we see, again, the affection Democrats have for terrorists, that they want to rush in and say, "Oh, well, they weren't -- they weren't that bad, these weapons of mass -- what is the --
HANNITY: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I want to go to [Democratic strategist] Laura Schwartz. Laura, 'cause this is fascinating to me. I think watching the liberals try and deconstruct this is going to be pretty fascinating, in terms of being a case study here. You know, what excuse will you now give for -- to try to minimize what is a huge story that proves George W. Bush, the guy you don't like, was right? Give me your deconstruction. Give me your liberal line. What is it going to be?
SCHWARTZ: These are not the weapons that we went to war over. It does not tell us that --
HANNITY: Well, they actually are, 'cause Saddam Hussein --
SCHWARTZ: -- Saddam Hussein had an ongoing, active weapons program.
HANNITY: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Saddam Hussein had said he had gotten rid of them. He told the world and he told inspectors. He said there were none.
COLMES: Hold on.
HANNITY: He didn't say pre-'91, post-'91. He said none.
COLMES: My turn to talk. There's no new information --
SHWARTZ: Aaron, you can set this straight.
COLMES: There are [sic] no new information, that's the key. And, Ann, I'd like to know. You just made an accusation against --
COULTER: Yes, I've made it before.
COLMES: -- and you have basically said that, what, they like terrorists --
COULTER: Affection for terrorists, yes.
COLMES: What liberal has affection for terrorists?
COULTER: All of this defense of Saddam and --
COLMES: Well, who?
COULTER: -- oh, well, "They weren't that bad."
COLMES: Show me the evidence -- who said they're not that bad?
COULTER: I was quoting you.
COLMES: Who said they're not that bad?
COULTER: In the first segment, you were saying, "Poof, this" --
COLMES: Who said terrorists are not that bad?
COULTER: Saddam Hussein.
COLMES: When did I say he wasn't that bad?
COULTER: You're defending him on these weapons, trying to minimize them.
COLMES: When did I defend Saddam Hussein? What did I say in defense of Saddam Hussein?
COULTER: OK, I know you don't watch your show when it gets re-played. When you're on the show --
COLMES: Well, I can't watch it now because I'm on it and doing it.
COULTER: -- do you listen to yourself?
COLMES: I'd like to know what I said in defense of Saddam Hussein.
COULTER: You're dismissing these weapons as, "Oh, poof" --
COLMES: No, I'm actually quoting a Defense Department official --
COULTER: Right, why is that?
COLMES: -- who told our own Jim Angle that this is nothing new. In fact, these were not the WMDs, Laura Schwartz, that we were told by the administration were the cause for going to war in Iraq.
COLMES: That is according to our Fox News reporter --
COULTER: That's not true.
COLMES: -- and that is according to a defense source that he has.
COULTER: That is not the reason we went to war.
COLMES: I was talking to Laura Schwartz. Do you want to respond, Laura?
COULTER: Well, you said something untrue.
COLMES: Welcome back to Hannity & Colmes. We now continue with the author of The New York Times bestseller Godless, Ann Coulter, and Democratic strategist Laura Schwartz. Let's talk about those who oppose this administration, who've spoken out against them. One of whom is John Murtha. And you were asked by John Hawkins of Right Wing News to have a few words about John Murtha. We'll put it up on the screen. Here's what you said: "The reason soldiers invented 'fragging' " was your response --
COLMES: -- to defining John Murtha, which as some people -- most people may know is assassinating somebody in your unit. Are you suggesting that John Murtha exists for the purpose of being assassinated?
COULTER: OK. You're always asking me if I really mean something.
COULTER: I want to ask you -- I just want to turn the tables this one time.
COLMES: Be my guest.
COULTER: Do you really think I am calling for the assassination of a congressman?
COLMES: No, I don't think a sane person would do that. Well, let me -- let me rephrase that.
COULTER: So, why do you get on your high horse and read -- read these --
COLMES: Well, then why would you say something like that?
COULTER: Oh, come on. OK, let me turn the tables again.
COLMES: Why would you say something like that?
COULTER: OK. How about this?
COLMES: Here, turn the tables.
HANNITY: I'm enjoying this.
COLMES: Why would you say something like that?
COULTER: You've watched your own show. You've heard yourself. And you've asked me --
COLMES: I don't listen to myself.
COULTER: -- probably 47 times, read something back to me indignantly and asked me to retract it.
COLMES: Not indignantly. I just want to know. How do you explain that?
COULTER: But -- and I've never retracted it, and I've never explained it. So, why do you think it's going to work this time?
COLMES: John Murtha exists for the purpose of being fragged. That's why he's on the planet. That is your statement.
COULTER: That isn't what I said. Why do you always change what I said from what I said?
COLMES: So, he should be assassinated. I'd like to -- I want to understand an interpretation of this that is not hurtful or mean-spirited or hate speech. I'd like to understand it.
COULTER: OK. If what I say is so outrageous, I ask again: Why does it always have to be changed slightly from the Jersey girls to (inaudible) --
COLMES: I'll tell you. I want you to explain it. You're not answering my question. I want you to explain it.
COULTER: -- from the reasons soldiers invented fragging to what did you just say?
COLMES: Well, I don't know. I don't listen to the show.
COULTER: -- deserving of fragging --
COLMES: You know, Laura Schwartz, I actually have to thank Ann Coulter for something. Because she has said that up until now, you couldn't talk about certain people like the widows of 9-11 because they were immunized. And we liberals, whenever we talk about the military, like if somebody does something allegedly in Haditha and we blame the military, they're immunized. So, I guess we can have the same --
COULTER: Not Murtha.
COLMES: So, I guess we can have the same standard because, God forbid a liberal says anything negative ever about someone in the military, about whom there have been a lot of accusations. So, we have Ann Coulter to thank that that veil has now been removed.
SCHWARTZ: Really? I mean, to think we have no holds barred. I mean, those are the freedoms we're fighting for in Iraq, I guess. So, yeah, thanks, Ann.
COULTER: Murtha -- wait a minute. Murtha accused our soldiers --
SCHWARTZ: I got to say, though, some of those quotes coming out of your mouth are just disgusting.
COULTER: Murtha accused our soldiers of murder in cold blood.
SHWARTZ: Unfortunately --
COULTER: Weeks before Godless came out. So he must have been anticipating it. By the way, if he did get fragged, he'd finally deserve one of those Purple Hearts.