Oliver North on Controversial Videotape from Fallujah

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Nov. 15, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: U.S. troops battling for Fallujah have destroyed Iraq's, well, terrorist insurgent headquarters, while Iraqi militants have opened up fronts in other parts of the country.

But today there was some troubling news from Fallujah. A video obtained by Fox News allegedly shows Marines entering a mosque and finding several wounded Iraqi sniper terrorists. Now, one of the Marines explains that one of the fighters is not actually dead. Let's take a look at what happens.




HANNITY: And then he says, "Now he's dead."

Joining us now, the author of the brand new book, "War Stories II: Heroism in the Pacific," a great book, by the way, and also host of "WAR STORIES" here on the Fox News Channel, Oliver North.

It's a tough video.

OLIVER NORTH, "WAR STORIES": Well, it is. But here's the important thing.

What ought to be the story is that, that case, what you just saw on the television, is going to be thoroughly investigated. If a crime was committed — and we don't know that for certain — but if a crime was committed the individual or individuals participating in it will be prosecuted. And a just punishment will be ascribed.

There are several things that are important here. One, that will never happen to those who beheaded those poor hostages. There will never be a trial, there will never be an investigation, because they got away with it.

We're different. And in World War II, the book, those kinds of things happened and no military organization, not in our country, whether it's the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, can allow that kind of thing to happen.

HANNITY: But first of all, I want to urge everybody, because now this is getting wallpapered all over the media.

NORTH: This will be the story.

HANNITY: Well, and here's my concern. Number one, you're right. We cannot tell.

Number two, what I see here doesn't look good, Colonel.

NORTH: No, it doesn't.

HANNITY: I want you as a guy that has two or three purple hearts, has won all of these medals, put us in the position — these guys — there has got to be some perspective here brought to the situation for the American people and the people sitting at home.

NORTH: These guys have been in combat now nonstop 24/7 for eight days. They kicked off the attack, Sunday, a week ago. They have been at it for eight days. They are exhausted. Nerves are frayed.

This guy, who apparently did this deed, was wounded himself just hours before this event. He's lost good buddies.

All of that said, no U.S. military organization can ever have that kind of thing happen without some kind of action being taken to prevent it from happening again.

HANNITY: But with all the — it has to be, if, in fact, what we think may have happened on the tape, if, after it's fully investigated — would it be brought into account, well, this guy that's now — wait a second — this guy who has risked his life, who has been up now 24/7 for the last eight days, that maybe in a moment of — made a mistake. Is there any forgiveness for him?

NORTH: Well, I mean, what will happen, is there will be a court — if, indeed, this thing proves to be a crime. OK? There will be an article 32 investigation conducted by naval intelligence or naval investigative service.

They will judge whether a crime was committed. Then they will find out who was responsible for the crime, the individual himself, his supervisor, meaning the next small-unit leader, maybe all the way up the chain of command.

HANNITY: This concerns you, though?

NORTH: It has me deeply concerned because — for two reasons. One, you can never have something like what is alleged take place without some kind of punishment.

Number two, my concern is that this will become like Abu Ghraib became the story. This will become the story of Fallujah without perspective — look. You and I, all three of us, know the mainstream media. They are going to jump on this story and make this the story.

Worse yet, the Arab media, Al-Jazeera, Al Arabiya, all of them, are going to make this the story. And what's — all the good that's being done out there, it will be forgotten. It'll be washed over...


COLMES: I want to ask you this. What does the military code say about situations like this?

NORTH: The uniform code of military justice is very clear. You cannot shoot when — there is no such thing as a mercy killing. There is no such thing as a reprisal killing.

COLMES: Right.

NORTH: You cannot shoot somebody who is unarmed or unable to defend themselves.

COLMES: Why do we have soldiers in positions where they are working so many hours that maybe it's hard...

NORTH: Because, Alan, it's war. OK? War is what this is all about.

COLMES: But there are rotations, right?

NORTH: Well, yes, but, I mean, the fact is, I mean, I just wrote a book about this. Those guys went on and stayed on for four years in World War II. This is a terrible, difficult circumstance.

It is particularly difficult when the enemy is wearing the same clothes as the civilian population around them. It is very difficult when you've been in combat for day after day.

I'm not whining, been there, done that. I'm suggesting to you that the military command out there, from the battalion commander on down, is deeply concerned about it. I can assure you from the battalion commander on up they are deeply concerned about it, because you cannot allow something like this to take place without stopping it dead in its tracks.

COLMES: Is part of the problem that we don't — have we not had enough troops in Iraq? Did we not have enough troops to begin with? Are people not being rotated out fast enough?

NORTH: No, Alan, I mean, this is what war is like. I mean, we've kind of gotten used to the 100-hour war from Gulf War I. This is much closer to what real warfare is always like. You know, we've never had — except for Gulf War I — an immediate victory.

COLMES: We've heard story after story about commanders saying, "We need more troops?"

NORTH: No, you haven't. No, you haven't. Let me just tell you.

I can assure you that, if any commander had gone back to the national command authority and said, "I need more troops." If General Sanchez came back to the Pentagon and said, "I need 50,000 more troops," he would have had them in a heartbeat, OK?

No commander has said — I've been with them, Alan. I have never had a commander out there tell me, "Gosh, I need another battalion here or I need another regiment there." I have never heard it.

HANNITY: All right. We want to come back to this in just a second, and some of the other questions it raises.


COLMES: And a page tonight from the HANNITY AND COLMES notebook.

Is there a dream match-up for the Democrats in the 2008 primary? Is it Hillary Clinton versus John Edwards? Well, a brand new Gallup poll shows Senator Clinton comfortably ahead of Senator Edwards 55-35, so maybe it isn't much of a dream for the Edwards camp.

And on the Republican side, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads the pack with 47 percent with Senator John McCain a distant second at 27 percent. The Rudy versus Hillary Senate race may never have materialized but a run for president, that could be exciting. And we now continue with the host of "WAR STORIES," Oliver North.

You're smiling at all that...

NORTH: No, no, I just — we just had an election.


COLMES: I know, but it's always fun to think of what's going to happen. Before I want to talk about your book, didn't Paul Bremer say he asked for more troops? Zinni has talked about more troops. Abizaid has talked about more troops.

NORTH: Well, no. Nobody in a position of military responsibility has come back to the president or to the secretary of defense or to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and said, "I need more troops out here." And if they had, they would have gotten them.

COLMES: All right, but you know we have security issues. Powell always said, "Overwhelming force, exit strategy," that's the Powell doctrine. That seemed not to...


NORTH: Yes, it was great in Gulf War I, but the fact is, this is a different kind of war.

COLMES: Let me talk about your new book, because you talk about issues having to deal with World War II that have never come to light. We fired first at Pearl Harbor?

NORTH: We did. USS Ward, an hour before the first Japanese bomb drops on Pearl Harbor, the USS Ward engages a midget submarine right outside the submarine net that was across the mouth of Pearl Harbor. Most people don't know. We fired the first shot.

COLMES: Why has this been so underreported?

NORTH: In part, it's because it wasn't nearly as dramatic as what then transpired. And, of course, everybody has seen that footage of what happens to Pearl Harbor literally an hour later.

COLMES: Why were we so unprepared?

NORTH: In part because our intelligence was bad and part we did not expect that we were going to be in World War II in part because America was very isolationist. You know, just a little bit more than a month before the start of World War II, FDR finally gets the draft approved by one vote in the Congress of the United States. Astounding.

COLMES: Japanese had a strategy that almost had them win.

NORTH: Well, what it would have done is, it could have created a situation where they would never have seized Hawaii. They would never have invaded the West coast. They would have gotten their co-prosperity sphere — Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity sphere and prevented the Allies from seizing the initiative enough to get an unconditional surrender out of them.

COLMES: Battle of Midway?

NORTH: Turning point of the war. Remember, you got — and I don't mean you, Alan, specifically, but the left in this country constantly talks about the quagmire of Iraq.

Think about this. For the first six and a half months of World War II, we lost every single solitary battle we were engaged in. There was not a single victory out there. Nobody called for FDR's head on the platter. Nobody stood up in the well of the Congress in the United States and said, "Let's have an impeachment."

COLMES: We were attacked.

NORTH: Wait a second.

HANNITY: We were attacked here.

NORTH: 9/11, have you forgotten what happened down here?

COLMES: We were not talked by Iraq.

NORTH: Let me tell you something. Let me ask you, because I know you know the answers. The guy who tried to kill my wife and kids...

COLMES: Abu...

NORTH: Abu Nidal was found where? Baghdad.

COLMES: I understand. But you're mixing and matching. We're not talking about September 11th.

NORTH: We're talking about global terrorism. We're talking about a hotbed of terrorists, the very people who are now being rounded up in Fallujah, OK?

Those are terrorists. And if they weren't killing people over there, they would be killing people here.

COLMES: We went into Fallujah. They say the insurgents escaped...

NORTH: Some.

COLMES: ... and live to fight them another day. We're going to have to do a Fallujah all over again someplace else, aren't we?

NORTH: Well, of course. In fact, it's happening right as we speak up in Mosul.


NORTH: We ought to get a team up there to pursue them.

HANNITY: Colonel, first of all, this was a great book. And what I love about it, too, you also include a free DVD, which is very cool, with some war stories.

NORTH: The turning point of the war and all the great stories from these eyewitnesses. This is not a book about me, Sean. This is a book about guys like your dad and mine who were out there fighting that war.

HANNITY: Well, my dad, like so many in that generation — I mean, you talk about heroism in the Pacific. This is right after Pearl Harbor, he and all his friends signed up and he serves four years in the Pacific.

NORTH: And gone for...

HANNITY: They were gone. They were gone the whole time. And he was a hero there.

And so the DVD comes with it, but this is all about, a lot of these stories — this is great.

NORTH: These are the eyewitnesses, and if people want to see a chapter of it, they can get it by going to warstoriesbook.com. If they want it for Christmas, a signed copy for Christmas, by going to olivernorth.com and it does make a great Christmas gift.

HANNITY: I want to go back to this issue of this tape. Because it's very important to me, because I really am concerned that people want to rush to judgment and attack our brave men and women that have been out there serving, as you have been out there with them.

And I just want to point out something that has yet to be pointed out. As people, before they rush to judgment — "The New York Times," I'm sure the liberal media will do this — but how many troops have suffered because of booby-trapped bodies that are there? How many guys?

NORTH: Well, I mean, 125 that were killed as of last Friday by IEDs. And I just got an e-mail today from a guy from the unit that I was with — that covered out there when I was out there this summer, and one of those young guys that I was with just got killed yesterday. And by IEDs, by booby traps, whatever you want to call them.

HANNITY: But they have been purposefully...

NORTH: Oh, yes.

HANNITY: ... and targeting, they put these on bodies. And I'm not..

NORTH: No, these are suicide terrorists.

HANNITY: I'm not making any excuses. We don't know. But I'm asking the American people not to rush to judgment, because the liberal media will rush to judgment.

NORTH: Well, and it's particularly important to remember this. Here's the bottom line of that tape. And everybody is going to see it a thousand times between now and the next month.

What is going to happen is that there will be an investigation. There has never been and nor there will ever be an investigation of those who beheaded people on videotapes.

HANNITY: Well, that's, I think, pretty...


NORTH: Second, if a crime was committed, the individuals who committed it will be prosecuted. That will never happen for those who committed those heinous acts and got away with it.

HANNITY: Yes, and I think people need to know. I am concerned, because we are going to get a rush to judgment. The one thing more than anything else that those guys have earned that have been out there putting their lives on the line for us, the kids that you would put on TV every night, I think they have earned the right to have a fair trial. They have earned the right to tell their side of the story, and...

NORTH: And not for this to become the story. The heroism that's been out there is not going to covered.

HANNITY: The heroism is not going to be told, and it's going to be lost by people that want to exploit one circumstance to make a case about the war in general.

NORTH: Oh, and you count on it.

HANNITY: Oh, it's happening. And that's what scary. But those guys earned the right to tell their side. We weren't there. The video only tells part of the story, and I want to hear the whole story before I come to a conclusion.

Now, if...

NORTH: If something was done wrong...

HANNITY: If he did this wrong, there's going to be punishment.

NORTH: There will be.

HANNITY: And there ought to be.

NORTH: In the American military, this kind of thing can't happen.

HANNITY: Can't happen. It cannot happen.

NORTH: Without some kind of justice being done.

COLMES: All right. Thanks for being with us. Good to see you.

NORTH: Always a pleasure, Alan.

COLMES: Good luck with the book.

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