Exclusive! John O'Neill on Kerry's Comments

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This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 3, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Senator Kerry's comments on Monday about the intelligence of our troops may not have been an isolated incident. We have already told you this week about his 1971 Senate testimony in which he repeated a laundry list of war crimes allegedly committed by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam.

And last December, Senator Kerry, he appeared on "Face the Nation," and he told the American public that our U.S. troops in Iraq were terrorizing women and children in the dark of night in their homes. Well, now the Associated Press has uncovered a document from Kerry's failed 1972 run for Congress in which he says, "I am convinced a volunteer Army would be an Army of the poor, and the black, and the brown. We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam. I also fear having a professional Army that view the perpetuation of war crimes as simply doing its job."

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Joining us now in a "Hannity & Colmes" exclusive, from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, John O'Neill.

You know, we can go back and look at all the stuff that George W. Bush said 38 years ago or what he did 38 years ago and see if it's relevant today. I claim it's not. People change.

But, John, you've made a career out of bashing Kerry. Can you at least honestly acknowledge that he was not bashing the troops the other day, he was doing a botched joke? Because the full transcript of what he was supposed to say was released. Let's be honest here, shall we?

JOHN O'NEILL, SWIFT BOAT VETERANS FOR TRUTH: First of all, I haven't made a career out of bashing Kerry. After 35 years, I showed up again, together with 294 of our other guys. I do want to be clear, Alan, that I'm appearing as an individual. Our group has not been active as a group for some time.

COLMES: All right. Let's talk about what happened though.

O'NEILL: Just a second.

COLMES: Do you acknowledge that he was not bashing the troops?

O'NEILL: They think that he's doing a pretty good job exposing himself right now. But what do I think? I think, without question, he thought he was pulling off a joke that he thought was cute. I think the words that came out of his mouth were the words he intended to speak.

I think it's exactly the same thing he has said over and over again since 1971. I think the only problem now and the only reason people are criticizing him in the Democratic Party is it's close to an election and the mask sort of fell off of who he really was.

COLMES: It's close to an election, which is why conservatives are jumping on the anti-Kerry bandwagon. Your group...

O'NEILL: Hardly. We were here on your show with Sean Hannity back when he said that our troops were terrorizing women and children in the dead of night, Alan. And Sean was criticizing him, as was everyone else. We just didn't hear any Democrats criticizing him then. They're criticizing him now because the curtain goes down in about five or six days.

COLMES: John, Kerry's remarks about Iraqis being terrorized were documented by the International Committee of the Red Cross. It was documented by a report by the United States Institute of Peace.

O'NEILL: No, I know, Alan. That's not true.

COLMES: And the fact of the matter is — let me just finish — four U.S. soldiers are now about to be court-martialed, with two facing the possibility of death, if found guilty of the rape and murder of a girl.


COLMES: And this has gone on, and there are five such incidents, John.

O'NEILL: ... over and over on television with Al Hubbard, who was a fake, wearing all kinds of medals, who had never been to Vietnam. He produced a series of hearings made up of person after person who has been disproven. He is a serial assaulter and liar about our troops, and he's been doing it for 35 or 36 years. And, by the way, Alan, thanks to the 34th Infantry Division, that picture they put out, it says it far better than any words or any books we ever wrote. Thank you. They're true heroes.

COLMES: Let me get in a question here, if I can. You call John Kerry a liar, and yet the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claim the Bronze Star and third Purple Heart that Kerry achieved were under false pretenses, contradicted by Jim Rassman, who he saved. You had a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth member, Larry Thurlow, claiming there was no enemy fire in an incident for which Kerry won a Bronze Star, and that was not true because Thurlow himself won a Bronze Star in that same incident for taking enemy fire.

O'NEILL: That's all true.

COLMES: Your remarks have been discredited.

O'NEILL: I suppose you still think he was there for Christmas, but we're not here on that, Alan. The whole nation heard him describe the people in Iraq as dumb people stuck there, Alan. There's no way of spinning that. We heard the five different efforts to apologize, and then we heard the little note he put out over the Internet as he slunk off into the shadows, Alan. A whole nation has witnessed that.

HANNITY: Hey, John, the Clintonian parsing defense is embarrassing and, frankly, offensive to the intelligence of the American people that heard him. Less than a year ago, he said that they're terrorizing — John Kerry said they're terrorizing women and children — our troops — in the dark of night.

Dick Durbin compared our troops to Nazis, and the gulags, and Pol Pot. John Murtha said, "Our American soldiers are helping to recruit terrorists." Ted Kennedy said in 2004, "Who would we prefer, Saddam's torture chambers still be open? Shamefully, we now learn Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management."

The relevancy here is this is an ongoing campaign that does undermine the troops and the commander-in-chief; isn't that what's at issue here?

O'NEILL: Absolutely. The kids from the 34th Infantry Division and their picture — they're from Iowa and Minnesota. I'm sure they're not Republicans. They said it all better than any of us could in that picture. And I want you to know one thing Alan should understand is every single one of those kids is better, and more truthful, and braver than John Kerry on his best day.

HANNITY: Well, I've got to tell you — and then you add to it what he said in 1971 — you were there debating him back then — and accused these troops of atrocities, admitted himself that he burned down villages. I guess the only thing I want to have happen in this election cycle, John, is I want the American people to pay attention to this. Do you think this will be a factor?

O'NEILL: It should. Look, we have these kids. They're not dummies; they're very bright kids. I had a guy from the Naval Academy with a 4.0 that just finished calling me that's flying planes, and he's wondering what on Earth is happening in the United States.

These kids are defending us. They're not being paid very much money. They're volunteers, and they care about our whole country. It's time for the country to get together to care about the kids to show there's something really worth protecting back here.

HANNITY: Let's deal with the intellectually dishonest attempt at the seventh explanation by Kerry. For instance, when he now says that this was a joke, what's the joke? I don't get it. Where was the joke?

O'NEILL: It wasn't very funny to us, I can promise you that, Sean, when he talked about us being war criminals and murderers and the army of Genghis Khan. Remember all the different stories about how he had been in Cambodia during the 2004 election, all finally revealed not to be the truth? It's just another — this is a guy to whom words mean nothing. He thinks, if he can slither away, the country will forget about him.

HANNITY: What do you think overall, when you look at Durbin's comparisons to Nazis, you know, Kennedy saying that, you know, the torture chamber is opened up under new management? You know, what does this do to the troops? We saw this sign that these guys just put up in Iraq. What does this do to their mentality? They're out there risking their lives. The prominent leaders of the Democratic Party are saying these things. What impact does that have on their psyche, in your view?

O'NEILL: First of all, in 2004, we know what it did, because the Army Times poll showed that they voted for Bush 81 percent to 16 percent for Kerry. Kerry, virtually no votes. What does it do? It demoralizes them terribly. Kerry's joke, you know who's laughing? The Al Qaeda is laughing. They're laughing that a senator in the United States Senate, a Democratic senator, portrayed our guys as a bunch of dummies who are trying to fight over there.

HANNITY: Democrats get all bent out of shape because we criticize their statements about the troops. Is this undermining troops when they're at war? Does this undermine their effort? Does this hurt their effort, when our enemies and our allies and the troops hear this?

O'NEILL: I've gotten all kinds of e-mails, Sean. They just don't understand what's happening. They can't believe that this is happening in the United States.

It reminds me exactly of 1971 all over again, when Kerry was talking about all of us being the army of Genghis Khan and murdering people, with charges that were completely false. And they know that, right after the election, the mask is going to drop and that's going to be the story again from all these guys.

COLMES: Mr. O'Neill, when you question people's Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts...

HANNITY: Thank you, John O'Neill. Appreciate it, buddy.

COLMES: ... you're undermining the military. And it's shameful what you're doing.

O'NEILL: Well, I stand by each and every deal. And your problem, Alan, is the whole country knows about it now.

COLMES: Well, your statements have been already contradicted.

O'NEILL: The whole country is...


HANNITY: Thank you for serving your country, my friend.

COLMES: ... saved by John Kerry...


O'NEILL: The entire country...

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