Iraq-eteering: North and Hannity distorted Kerry's stance on Iraq resolution

On the September 16 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity and guest Oliver North, also a FOX News Channel host, distorted Senator John Kerry's position on the resolution that authorized the use of force in Iraq. North denied that Kerry stated, prior to his vote in favor of the resolution, that he would “speak out” if specific conditions were not met by President George W. Bush. Hannity falsely claimed Kerry now says he would vote against the resolution that authorized the use of force.

From the September 16 edition of Hannity & Colmes on the FOX News Channel:

CO-HOST ALAN COLMES: He [Kerry] was against going to war at the time Bush went to war. He's guilty of believing the president and trusting him. And he made a speech when he said on the Senate floor that he was voting under certain specific conditions to give the president the authority to make that decision. And if those conditions were not met, he'd be the first to speak out. That's exactly what happened.

NORTH: That's not exactly what happened. He didn't jump up and say, “Oh, no, this would be the wrong thing to do” after voting to give him the authority. That's a bogus comment. That is as phony, Alan, as [CBS anchor and managing editor] Dan Rather's documents.

COLMES: I can produce what Kerry said and show it to you. That's exactly what happened, Ollie.

Contrary to North's assertion, the following is exactly what Kerry said on the floor of the U.S. Senate on October 9, 2002:

KERRY: In giving the President [George W. Bush] this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days -- to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out.

Then, Hannity agreed with Republican National Committee communications director Jim Dyke in falsely claiming that, on September 15, Kerry said, “knowing what he knows today, he would vote against the resolution” :

DYKE: Senator Kerry said a month ago that, knowing what he knows today, he would have voted for the resolution. Yesterday morning, he said knowing what he knows today, he would vote against the resolution.

HANNITY: It's amazing. It's amazing.

COLMES: He didn't say that. He said voting for the resolution ...

HANNITY: Yes, he did.

COLMES: ... but wouldn't have been for the war the way the president executed the war.

HANNITY: That's not what he said.

COLMES: He was very clear about that.

HANNITY: No, he wasn't.

COLMES: You don't want to acknowledge it. You are misrepresenting his position.

Dyke and Hannity were apparently referring to a September 15 interview with Kerry on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning. But Kerry made it clear in that appearance that he would still authorize the use of force knowing what he now knows, because the threat of force was necessary to get the weapons inspectors into Iraq:

KERRY: The only way to get the inspectors in was to be tough, to have the threat of force and the authority to use force. I was prepared to use the force if he didn't do what he needed to do. But I warned the president, as did many people, take the time to build up the international coalition, don't rush to war, because the most difficult part is not winning the military part of the war; it's winning the peace. The president ignored that. And what he basically did was cut off the inspection process and rush to war. Now, I believe that Saddam Hussein was sufficiently duplicitous and, you know, couldn't obviously -- you don't trust him, so you needed that threat to be able to make certain you had the inspectors and were going through a process to hold him accountable. But we could have held him accountable. We had two-thirds of that country in a no-fly zone on day one. And the fact is that what the president wanted to do was just get in there and go do it. And he did it in such a rushed way that he ignored what the consequences would be.