[He's] actually out of character when he's defending the troops in the Assange interview. The actor's real views are coming through, and not in the standard "parodying what a conservative might say" way that dominates most of the show. It wouldn't make sense for Colbert to use his standard method in this situation: that only works when the liberal Colbert and his conservative character disagree. When it comes to the troops, the character and the actor are on the same page.
You see the same earnestness when Colbert talks about Catholicism, and for the same reason. It's pretty clear that Colbert the actor is a fairly devout Catholic, and his views on religion are different from those of secular liberals. Take this, from an interview with Time Out New York:
I love my Church, and I'm a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals, who were very devout. I was raised to believe that you could question the Church and still be a Catholic. What is worthy of satire is the misuse of religion for destructive or political gains. That's totally different from the Word, the blood, the body and the Christ. His kingdom is not of this earth.
That sounds like Colbert's religious beliefs are pretty sincerely felthe teaches Sunday school, for heaven's sake! Colbert's sympathy for the troops is deeply felt, too: he was raising huge amounts of money for servicemembers well before his well-publicized "experience with the troops" in Iraq last summer.
Maybe I was guilty of sloppy writing, but my intended point was the same as Baumann's. I too believe Colbert was being genuine on this - but that genuineness is something his character would share, without the thoughtfulness and smarts the Colbert the real person wields.