Olbermann Uses Words of U.S. Soldier to Bolster Anti-War Agenda, Ignores Soldier’s Support for Iraq Mission

On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used a clip of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Tim Osborn, stationed in Iraq, commenting on how he had previously felt that the war in Iraq "wasn’t ever going to stop," to fit into the Countdown host’s suggestion that American troops had remained in Iraq too long. But what Olbermann did not show his viewers is that Staff Sergeant Osborn had also expressed strong support for the war effort in a clip which was shown earlier that evening on the NBC Nightly News during a piece which correspondent Richard Engel filed from Iraq:

RICHARD ENGEL: He tells me his greatest accomplishment: giving Iraqis a chance.

STAFF SERGEANT TIM OSBORN, U.S. ARMY: If what was going on here was going on in America, I wouldn't want my kids to grow up in that world. I would want somebody else to come in and help. And if it took them doing what we did here, then I would welcome that.

But Olbermann was apparently only interested in using a clip of Staff Sergeant Osborn that would fit into the MSNBC host’s characteristic anti-war shtick:

KEITH OLBERMANN: One "Mission Accomplished" banner, 4,415 military fatalities, and 7 1/2 years after the previous administration led us into the war under pretenses and intelligence that proved to be undeniably false, the end of the Iraq war now finally in sight, at least from the combat operations standpoint. Our fourth story: the time remaining in a conflict that has dragged on for the better part of a decade, most accurately measured tonight not in months, nor in weeks, but in days

At Camp Liberty in Iraq, soldiers lowering the flag of the last combat bridge in that country. One soldier fighting the war since 2003 telling our embedded chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, that the conflict he lived for most of his 20s, that appeared to be endless.

STAFF SERGEANT TIM OSBORN, U.S. ARMY: I never dreamed I’d be one of the last ones out, sir. In all honesty, when it started up, it felt like it wasn`t ever going to stop.

Engel’s piece on the NBC Nightly News also featured a second soldier who voiced support for the war effort in Iraq:

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS JOE HUFFMAN, U.S. ARMY: Absolutely, for me and for my country, it was worth it. The sacrifice to the soldiers was worth it and what we came to right now at the end, the sacrifice was worth it. 

Below is a complete transcript of the Monday, August 16, NBC Nightly News, followed by a transcript of the relevant portion of the same day’s Countdown show on MSNBC:

#From the August 16 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Now we move to Iraq, where a milestone is fast approaching: After more than seven years of war, the end of U.S. combat operations. Our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is with the Fourth Stryker Brigade as they carry out one last mission, to get out and come home.

RICHARD ENGEL: At Camp Liberty in Baghdad, soldiers lower the flag of the last combat brigade in Iraq.

STAFF SERGEANT TIM OSBORN, U.S. ARMY: I never dreamed I'd be one of the last ones out. In all honesty, when it started up, it felt like it wasn't ever going to stop.

ENGEL: For 31-year-old Staff Sergeant Tim Osborn from Ohio, the war has been his twenties. He was here in 2003 to topple a dictator, called back in 2007 to stop a civil war, and now to end combat. He tells me his greatest accomplishment: giving Iraqis a chance.

STAFF SERGEANT OSBORN: If what was going on here was going on in America, I wouldn't want my kids to grow up in that world. I would want somebody else to come in and help. And if it took them doing what we did here, then I would welcome that.

ENGEL: But Osborn has had four friends among the more than 4,400 American troops killed in Iraq.

STAFF SERGEANT OSBORN: The blue and gold stars for my four brothers that I lost.

ENGEL: By an almost impossible coincidence, Osborn has been in the same platoon for three tours with Sergeant First Class Joe Huffman from Batesburg, South Carolina. In his trailer today, Huffman waits for orders home. Everything is already packed except his computer, with pictures of family he'll soon see. He, too, believes he's leaving Iraq better than he found it.

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS JOE HUFFMAN, U.S. ARMY: Absolutely, for me and for my country, it was worth it. The sacrifice to the soldiers was worth it and what we came to right now at the end, the sacrifice was worth it.

ENGEL: Osborn and Huffman, who started the war together, will be leaving together, too.

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS HUFFMAN: Let's go, let's go, let's go.

STAFF SERGEANT OSBORN: Yo, hurry up! Get the ramp up!

ENGEL: A friendship seared in war, ending a combat mission that has defined a generation of the U.S. military. Richard Engel, NBC News, Baghdad.

#From the August 16 Countdown:

KEITH OLBERMANN: One "Mission Accomplished" banner, 4,415 military fatalities, and 7 1/2 years after the previous administration led us into the war under pretenses and intelligence that proved to be undeniably false, the end of the Iraq war now finally in sight, at least from the combat operations standpoint. Our fourth story: the time remaining in a conflict that has dragged on for the better part of a decade, most accurately measured tonight not in months, nor in weeks, but in days

At Camp Liberty in Iraq, soldiers lowering the flag of the last combat bridge in that country. One soldier fighting the war since 2003 telling our embedded chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, that the conflict he lived for most of his 20s, that appeared to be endless.

STAFF SERGEANT TIM OSBORN, U.S. ARMY: I never dreamed I’d be one of the last ones out, sir. In all honesty, when it started up, it felt like it wasn`t ever going to stop.

OLBERMANN: Soldiers from the Fourth Stryker Brigade combat team, Second Infantry Division, departing from Baghdad over the weekend to make that long and long overdue trip home to Fort Lewis, Washington, having spent almost a year in the Iraqi capital. By the end of the month, some 50,000 American troops will be left in Iraq, down from a maximum force strength of around 170,000, reached during the so-called "surge." Under a security agreement between the U.S. and Iraq, the rest of the troops are to be out of the country by the end of next year, 2011.