NORTHERN IRAQ -- There is still danger from periodic firefights and rebels who need to be rounded up. Republican Guardsmen who have not yet been killed or captured can find the weapons depots and cause trouble with the millions of rounds of ammunition that Saddam stockpiled. But the Marines and soldiers are getting the troublemakers off the streets, and the Army's civil affairs officers are finding work for the civilians. There is still a great deal to do in this liberated country, but now that the major battles are behind them, some U.S. forces are thinking about the comforts of home and the reception they may receive upon their return.
The news still makes its way to the troops here, and they can see that even in the aftermath of a stunning military victory, the proteges of the '60s liberals are working overtime to cause dissent, stir protest, and cast doubt on the mission of the troops and the manner in which they carried it out.
From the hotheads in Hollywood, to asinine academics, to misinformed misfits in the media who trashed the troops and predicted pandemonium from the Iraqi people -- they were all wrong in their diagnosis about the war and about the reception U.S. troops would receive in Iraq.
As an embedded correspondent for Fox News, I started out with the Marines who traveled 450 miles from the border of Kuwait all the way across Iraq -- navigating sandstorms and largely barren desert. In the course of their travels, Marines crushed the Iraqi Army, took control of Baghdad, captured a mosque that was being used as an arms depot and moved all the way to Tikrit. Along the way, they fought the terrorists of the Fedayeen, accepted the surrender of prisoners, prevented more environmental damage from oil well fires, discovered and destroyed huge caches of weapons and ammunition, and rescued American prisoners of war. And yes, they suffered casualties.
These Marines -- and all the U.S. forces -- accomplished remarkable things, and when they get home they're not going to forget those who said they were doing the wrong thing.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.