W. Thomas Smith, Jr

Sean Hannity has – pardon the cliché – hit the nail on the head. This past Sunday on his new program, Hannity’s America (9:00 pm Eastern on FOX News), he took to task CBS’s recent 60 Minutes piece that featured a handful of active-duty soldiers speaking out against the Iraq War.

“CBS left out several important parts of the story,” said Hannity. “The most glaring omission is that of context.” He went on to describe how the 60 Minutes segment was introduced by correspondent Steve Kroft, who said, “[There is] dissension in the ranks for the large group of soldiers and Marines who are fed up.” Hannity then discussed the segue into the segment wherein a group of young-looking U.S. soldiers dressed in civilian clothes began to express how America’s efforts in Iraq are simply not working, soldiers are dying everyday, and “we can’t stay in Iraq for the next thousand years.”

According to Hannity:

“What wasn’t immediately clear to the viewer was exactly how many troops are expressing these opinions. According to press releases issued by the group on Monday morning – after the 60 Minutes piece aired – more than 1,400 active duty members were in the process of sending letters of redress to their congressmen. The group’s website also has a running counter of the number of troops who have expressed similar feelings. As of Friday afternoon, that number stood at 1,701. … That number constitutes only about one percent of all U.S. troops serving in Iraq. And since the group isn’t just soliciting the grievances of current troops in stationed in Iraq – but all active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines (including Reservists and National Guardsmen serving all over the world) – that number actually gets even smaller as a percentage of the whole.”

Hannity continues, “ According to the Pentagon, as of December 31, 2006, there were 1,371,533 active-duty U.S. military personnel around the world. Meaning that 60 Minutes devoted their lead segment to the opposition of one-tenth of one percent of all armed forces.”

For perspective, Hannity then provided clips of interviews with U.S. troops he and his reporters interviewed after the airing of 60 Minutes episode, all of whom expressed a pride in service and a resolute desire to complete the mission.

They weren’t the first to do so.

During a Monday phone chat, Hannity told me, “Not one [servicemember] that I’ve met – from Iraq to Walter Reed to Bethesda – has said anything other than the fact that the mission must be completed. That’s why I knew this [the 60 Minutes segment] was a hit piece. They cherry picked [the interviewed soldiers].”

W. Thomas Smith, Jr

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor. He is the author of six books, and he has covered war and conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq, and Lebanon. Visit him online at http://www.uswriter.com.
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