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Oliver North: Obama's Apologizing for 9/11 'Unconscionable'

Thursday, 25 Jun 2009 07:39 PM

By Jim Meyers

Former Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North waterboarded American recruits and was himself waterboarded — and he insists the interrogation technique is not torture and was never considered as such until the Obama administration.

The best-selling author also told Newsmax in an exclusive interview that President Barack Obama's "apologizing" for the U.S. response to 9/11 is "unconscionable."

North has a new book telling the stories of thousands of heroic Americans who since 9/11 have dedicated their lives to preventing the next terrorist strike.

See Video: Oliver North talks to Newsmax.TV about the American heroism he’s witnessed in the War on Terror - Click Here Now

"American Heroes in the Fight Against Radical Islam," which was published in May, offers first-hand coverage of U.S. military units engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines.

"This book with its moving words and powerful images will inspire patriots, reassure the faint of heart and infuriate our nation's adversaries," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said.

North, a decorated Vietnam vet and White House aide, served as the deputy director for political-military affairs with the National Security Council under President Reagan in the 1980s.

He came into the public eye when he was implicated for his role in the Iran-Contra affair in the late 1980s, but charges against him were eventually dismissed.

He now is a Middle East war correspondent and host of "War Stories with Oliver North" on Fox News Channel.

Asked by Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter why he wrote "American Heroes," North said: "It was a work of love. It's my great blessing to be able to keep company with heroes on my beat with Fox News — soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines, guys who wear flak jackets and flight suits and helmets to work."

North said documentation of their stories "is part of who we are as a people. The commitment that's been made by this nation to offer others the hope of freedom is a very important part of who we are. And the historical record of what they do and how they do it and the remarkable sacrifices they make is important to the future.

"Unfortunately, as you know, most of our colleagues in the business do not report the good news. They don't report the remarkable sacrifices that they're making. There's a lot of criticism both politically and in the media. So this is their story as I saw it as I was keeping company with them in faraway places."

North, who was America's counterterrorism coordinator in the 1980s, told Newsmax that "we missed the explosion of radical Islam. It began basically when the Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran from Paris in 1979.

"We could enumerate . . . all the terrorist organizations in the world, but we didn't see the explosion of radical Islam. We witnessed that on 9/11. It had actually begun before that. The declaration of war that was made by Osama bin Laden against the United States as early as 1993 was missed by the Clinton administration.

"And the Bush administration set out basically to stop this movement in its tracks, initially in Afghanistan and subsequently in Iraq and in other places around the world where we've been to with these young Americans, like the southern Philippines.

"We now see that that movement has been severely disrupted, certainly in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it still has legs. We see the explosion of radical Islam in Sudan. We see it in Somalia. We see it again resurgent in southern Philippines.

"This is a long haul. My hope is that the American people recognize it as such and that young Americans continue to volunteer as they have in the current generation to be able to fight this war."

Walter asked: "When you see President Obama apologizing for our response to September 11, what goes through your mind?"

"I think it's unconscionable," North declared. "Look at this country and what we have done to offer others the hope of freedom. America has never been a colonial power. We've never occupied another country intending to keep it for gold or oil or colonial conquest. This is a nation of very good people, particularly those who serve in uniform.

"And my hope is that this president will eventually come to recognize that first of all they've all but won in Iraq, and that what needs to be done is not to go around the world apologizing for America, but reasserting the innate goodness of this country."

North also said the release of photos showing the interrogation of terrorist detainees "would certainly" put our troops at risk.

"To see what happened in the aftermath of the photographs released from Abu Ghraib [prison] initially, to see the kind of hatred that could foment in the minds of radical Islamists, tells you that Americans would be increasingly at risk as a consequence of that, because the radical Islamists would use that as propaganda to foment the kinds of suicide terror we just saw evidenced again in Iraq."

As a SERE [Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape] training student and instructor, North waterboarded trainees and was himself waterboarded, Walter noted. She asked if he feels that the technique constitutes torture.

"Every SERE student was subjected to these same kinds of interrogation techniques as a means of preparing us for the kinds of things we could face if we were captured," he responded.

"No one ever thought of it as torture. Certainly it's uncomfortable, but torture is the kind of thing that leaves permanent disfigurement. It causes horrible pain.

"That was not what Americans were doing. It was never torture before this administration decided it to be so."

Finally, North was asked if Americans have forgotten the lessons of 9/11.

"Oh my goodness yes," he said.

"Look at what's transpired. We're now looking at closing down collection of information on foreign transactions, shutting down the intercept of communication that goes on between Americans in other places around the world.

"When you start saying that the privacy of those international phone calls and communications on the Internet through e-mail and the like are off limits, you're automatically subjecting yourself to increased vulnerability."

He added ominously: "My hope is that we're not going to stop the government, the National Security Agency and others from collecting that information, because otherwise we're going to have another 9/11 — and it could be worse."

See Video: Oliver North talks to Newsmax.TV about the American heroism he’s witnessed in the War on Terror - Click Here Now

[Editor’s Note: Get Oliver North’s book, "American Heroes in the Fight Against Radical Islam" — Go here now.]

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