On August 2, the Boston Globe ran an article about a soldier who lost both legs in Iraq. Reporter Brian MacQuarrie tried to paint Sgt. Brian Fountaine as anti-war, even having the heart-wrenching article title, "A Soldier Maimed by War Now Questions the Mission."
President Bush came and sat by the side of Sergeant Brian Fountaine, a 24-year-old tank commander from Dorchester, a gung-ho soldier who had lobbied to be deployed a second time. Now Fountaine was among the wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, his legs amputated below the knees after an explosion June 8 ripped apart the Humvee in which he was riding.
The president chatted about the sergeant's beloved Red Sox, but made no reference to the war, the soldier said.
If the topic had come up, the president might not have liked what Fountaine had on his mind. In a dramatic change of heart, Fountaine now considers the war a military quagmire in which American soldiers are caught in a deadly vise between irreconcilable enemies.
In his view, troop morale has plummeted, suicide has increased, and the sacrifices being made in American blood and treasure suddenly seem questionable.
The war began with the justifiable goal of toppling a reckless, dangerous dictator in Saddam Hussein, the soldier said. But as the country slides toward civil war, Fountaine added, the goal of a democratic Iraq seems more distant by the day.
``You have to wonder, what exactly are we doing?" Fountaine said. ``In my opinion, [Iraq] is a country that has been at war with itself and with other enemies for thousands of years. And we're supposed to make them happy? I don't think so. I don't see it happening."
On the O'Reilly Factor last night, Sergeant Fountaine said the Boston Globe had spun his words.
BILL O'REILLY: "Back of the Book" segment: the ordeal of Sergeant Brian Fountaine. The 24-year-old commander from Dorchester, Massachusetts, was wounded in Iraq, lost both legs below the knee and is currently recovering at Walter Reed Hospital.
Last week, the anti-war Boston Globe featured the sergeant in an article headlined, "A Soldier Now Maimed by War" now questions the mission. In said article, Globe reporter Brian MacQuarrie wrote, "In Fountaine's view, troop morale has plummeted, suicide has increased, and the sacrifices being made in American blood and treasure suddenly seem questionable."
Joining from us now Washington is Sergeant Fontaine and FOX News analyst Marvin Kalb. The Boston Globe refused to participate in this story.
Sergeant, we really appreciate your patriotism and we're sorry for what happened to you, and anything we can do for you in the future let us know.
SGT. BRIAN FOUNTAINE, U.S. ARMY: Will do.
O'REILLY: You cooperated with your local newspaper, and you talked to Mr. MacQuarrie. You read the article. What say you about it?
FOUNTAINE: To be honest, you know, if I knew that they were a liberal newspaper in the first place, I wouldn't even have talked to them.
But you know, I told them what I thought. And I think he just spun it way out of control. And he put it to his newspaper's point of view, which I did not know was anti-war at the time.
O'REILLY: All right. Give me a specific about what you told him and how it didn't play out in the newspaper.
FOUNTAINE: You know, I'm not really sure about the specifics. But just something off the top of my head, even the headlines. I mean, it just makes it sound like I'm against the war and I'm against everything that's going on over there, which isn't true.
O'REILLY: Yes. The headline says "Questions the Mission." Do you question the mission in Iraq?
FOUNTAINE: Bill, every soldier questions his mission every time he gets it. But you know, we still pull through and we accomplish what we're given. But you know, they make it sound like I'm, you know, out for the whole Army, questioning the whole job that we're doing over there, which isn't true. I'm just one soldier.
O'REILLY: Are you a war protester, would you say?
FOUNTAINE: I am definitely not a war protester.
O'REILLY: Do you believe your sacrifice was worth it in Iraq?
FOUNTAINE: If we can get this job done and we can pull through and accomplish what we need to accomplish, to make that country safe and democratic, well, then yes, I believe my sacrifice was worth it.
O'REILLY: Do you believe that America is a noble nation for trying to bring democracy to Iraq?
FOUNTAINE: Yes, I do.
O'REILLY: OK. Because none of that was apparent in the article.