OTR Interviews

Vets devastated over Al Qaeda resurgence

Veterans who watched fellow soldiers die wonder whether they fought for nothing in Iraq


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 13, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered on September 11, 2001. And then the United States declared a war on terror, invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq and took out Saddam Hussein. Flash forward to 2014, and al Qaeda, the very people who murdered all those Americans, are now controlling major cities in Iraq.

Colonel Oliver North joins us. Nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Boy, I don't even know what the words are to have those two black flags over.

NORTH: General Ray Odierno, with whom I was embedding on two of those 20-plus events over in Iraq, he was the commanding general of the 40th Infantry Division. And his observation that is carried in the paper and press today is indicative of what the top level sees it. I'm not picking a fight with him. But, in fact, this is a devastating blow to those who fought in this war. It's a devastating blow to the family members. As you know, because I have been on your show talking about my "American Heroes" book series, every time we have had a book come out, many of those books have the photographs that were taken with soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines while I was with them, and then they were subsequently killed.

There is a shot of Sergeant Joshua Frazier, with whom I spent many, many days in Ramadi, Iraq.


VAN SUSTEREN: I think we have a picture right here this picture.

NORTH: That's Joshua Frazier. Brave, brave sergeant. I came home and three weeks later, he was killed. And his folks asked me to come to that funeral. Every book signing I go to, someone will walk up to me, a family member, and say would you sign this photograph of my son or my husband or my dad who was with you in Iraq or, in some cases, Afghanistan? And I will say, how is he doing? No, no, he was killed a few weeks after you left him.

I look at though the kinds of events as a personal tragedy for those who lost them. But, up until now, when they would ask the question, was that sacrifice worth it, I could answer yes. The victory that we sought in Iraq was doable. A stable country, a friendly government, respect for its own people and a place where terrorists could not reign again. That's not what we're seeing happen there. What we did, with this administration, was to walk away from the fight that, as you accurately pointed out, claimed so much blood and treasure. And we have left a country a satrap neighbor Iran and vulnerability for the United States again that shouldn't be there.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are saying it has turned out it has not been worth it?

NORTH: Not because of the bravery on the battlefield.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, I understand that.

NORTH: This is very much like the war I was in a long time ago.

VAN SUSTEREN: I understand that.

NORTH: And it's because of the failures of this administration to close the BSC, the Bilateral Security Agreement, that had already been negotiated. In 2011, they walked away from it. On your show and several others on FOX, I said this is going to be a disaster, not because I have the gift of prophecy but you could see where it was headed at that point.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. We didn't -- it didn't happen. Now we're in a situation where we have two al Qaeda flags flying over Ramadi and Fallujah where we have lost 100 soldiers, I think, just in Fallujah alone in 2004. What would you do now? What is there to be -- what can we say to the families? Two things, that what do we say to the families now and what could we do?

NORTH: The sacrifice they made for each other is certainly still there and worth it. The fact that you have an administration that refused to ever use the word "victory" or "win" or failed to define it or failed to step up and do what needed to be done is a disaster for those families. But it's been deadly for the people of Iraq. Because the people of Iraq, now 8,000 civilians have been killed. More than all of the time that we were in there have died as a consequence of what we have allowed to happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just even today, 26 in Iraq, 86 people in Fallujah this month. That's just, you know, that's just this month.

Anyway, Colonel, always nice to see you, sir.

NORTH: Good to be with you, Greta.